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Recently, I attended a conference. Over lunch, I spent a significant amount of time convincing a smart, senior woman that she should consider doing some public speaking. She enjoys connecting with and talking with others. She enjoys attending conferences and events. She is a dedicated lifelong learner who has an incredible amount of knowledge and expertise to share. She also enjoys helping others.
We talked about how public speaking adds to your credibility and thought leadership status. It puts you in front of potential customers, partners and employers. It increases your reach into new markets.
As we talked, I thought more and more about the extended benefits of public speaking. For example, what is the reach of a single speech?
The next time you consider an invitation to speak, don’t stop at the size of the room when you think about your potential audience. The potential scope and influence of your speech is infinitely broad and isn’t limited to those who hear your speech in person.
When you agree to a speech, whether a keynote, a featured speech, participation in a panel, a workshop or a breakout, you become part of an event, and as such, your name, image, company name, biography, speech title and abstract become part of the event marketing materials. Event organizers collect speaker headshots, company logos and biographies for a reason; these items play an important role in marketing for the event. Prospective attendees want to know who is speaking at the event and what they will learn. They want to know more about you as a speaker and what expertise you bring to the table. For a typical event, before you ever speak a word:
• Your name, title, company name and session title could be included in pre-event email blasts, advertisements, social media posts and the event website. You might see yourself on multiple event websites like Eventbrite.
• A single email blast could put your information in front of thousands of readers. But most marketers don’t stop with one email — you might be included in regular organizational newsletters, follow-up emails, reminders, ICYMI messages and confirmations.
• There may be a press release that includes you.
• Many events now provide social media “speaker cards,” which organizers send to the speakers. These include the event name, event artwork and your session information. You have probably seen these posted by other speakers (“I’m speaking at…”).
• You may also have partners who promote your speaking engagements: “Our friend Jane is speaking at XYZ conference next week.”
• Many organizers have partner networks that help them promote each event. A social media “cheat sheet” includes prewritten copy, including speaker details and artwork.
Arrive for the event, and you will be greeted by another wave of visibility. Again, your visibility isn’t limited to the audience in the room when you speak. Look for your information in:
• The program
• The event app (if there is one)
• Signs and posters
• Social media posts and shout-outs from the organizers, other speakers and attendees
• Conversations – yes, word of mouth is still important exposure
During Your Presentation
Finally, you’re on stage. Include your social media handles on your slides, any backdrops or signage, or mention the handles during your presentation, and you may find your messages getting shared. Today’s audiences can be packing good-sized communities in their pockets.
• Approximately one-quarter of LinkedIn users have more than 500 first-degree connections.
• Almost 40% of Facebook users have more than 200 friends.
• Different studies have concluded that the average Twitter user has anywhere from 200 to over 700 followers.
While these numbers bode well for someone seeing your message when it’s shared by a connection, a well-placed hashtag can help you achieve escape velocity and get noticed by people outside the group and the group’s immediate connections. Share the stage with others? These other influencers could be a great source of visibility for you, via social media, a blog or, again, word of mouth.
After Your Presentation
What happens after you leave the stage and the conference itself? Your visibility keeps climbing.
• It’s not unusual for people to write follow-up blog posts after an event or write a report for others at their company who were unable to attend.
• Perhaps there was a reporter in attendance who caught your presentation and includes you in a roundup.
• The conference itself might have follow-up posts, emails and articles.
• Your presentation was caught on video that could be viewed afterward.
• Your association with the topic could improve the search engine ranking for your own website and increase your traffic.
• You could be asked to present on the same or a related topic at another conference and start the process all over again.
Let’s Do The Math
Here’s a basic fictional example. Speaker Sue gets asked to be on a panel at a conference. Conference organizers have a 10,000-person mailing list, more than 20,000 followers on social media and partners with another 20,000 subscribers. Even with a single mailing or post to each group, the potential audience is at 50,000 before Sue walks through the convention center’s door. Her session is included on the website, which receives more than 3,000 visits in the month leading up to the event. When she arrives at the conference, her session (her picture, name, title, company name and session description) is included in the program handed out to more than 10,000 attendees. During the talk, five members of the audience of 200, representing more than 5,000 combined followers, post messages and tag Sue. A reporter interviews Sue for a story. This story is read by more than 5,000 subscribers. Another event manager reads the article and invites her to speak at another conference, starting the process all over.
But perhaps best of all, four prospective customers are among the extended audience and immediately start talks with Sue about her services.
March 8, 2019 at 08:15AM
Forbes – Entrepreneurs