Friday, December 9, 2011

Getting Hired to Speak: What's Their Why?

The self-help industry often focuses on the question "What's Your Why?", as in why do you want to succeed? It's a great question, and can help us find our ultimate motivations.

Yesterday, I talked about defining your speaking dream more specifically by deciding where you want to speak. I talked about making phone calls to meeting planners and event organizers. But what happens when you actually get to the stage of convincing them to hire you? What do you say? This is when you have to turn the "What's Your Why" question around.

What's THEIR Why? If you don't provide a good enough answer to this question, not only will you not get hired, you might actually create negative word of mouth about yourself.

Don't Say:

- How Great a Speaker You Are. You have no credibility, and they don't care anyway. Not yet.
- You're a Toastmaster/NSA Member/CAPS Member/Certified Awesomely Cool & Nifty Speaker with a Certificate You Paid Thousands of Dollars For. They don't care. Unless they are one too. Maybe.
- You're an Award-Winning Toastmaster/CSP/Hall of Fame Speaker. They really don't care. Unless you've won the Championship. Or couch it in a numerical fashion they'll understand, like 'ranked in the Top 100 Speakers (out of 30,000) in Toastmasters International in 2011'. Still, they probably don't care.
- You're Inexpensive. They care. They care that you aren't good enough to charge more.
- How Much Your Last Audience Loved You.
- You Won't Mention Their Recent Scandal. You just did.
- How Much Are You Paying? Let them ask what you charge. If they don't ask, but give you the engagement, send 'em a contract with your fee. That'll start the conversation.

Before you say anything, you should be asking questions. What topics do they need? What is the theme of the conference? What outcomes are they looking for from their audience? Once you have these answers, start selling your presentation first, yourself, second.

Do Say:

- I Have Experience With Whatever Their Answer Was. If you do, that is. Tell them a story. Tell them how you will get their audience to respond based on your experience.
- I Spoke to ABC Company About This Topic, Which Resulted In XYZ. As long as it's not a competitor. Or, as I've been reminded by several since I posted this, perhaps especially if it's a competitor. You'll have to gauge their hatred for the competition, perhaps offer it as 'they have something you don't' - depends on the topic. (Thanks to Matt Kinsey for being the first to say something on this). 
- You Entertain and Educate. Explain how. No one wants a bored audience.
- You Want to Talk to 3 or 4 People in Their Company. This lets them know you're willing to give them a customized session, and that you are more interested in what they need to hear than what you want to say.
- You Offer More Than a Speech. Breakout sessions, individual follow-up, a book they may want to see for themselves, and offer to their attendees.

These Do's and Don't's apply both to talking with the planner and email communications. With email, you can offer a bit more, including links to audio and video clips, your website, testimonials, and a contract attachment.

The most important thing to remember is they don't care about who you are (unless you are a celebrity), how good you think you are, or, for the most part, the hard-earned/paid for letters after your name. They care about what you can give them and their group. Before you start talking, start asking what they want/need. The new information. The inventive training. The feel-good outcome. Then transform what you do to what they need.

Once you know their why, you'll be able to say "Why YOU." That's when you go prove how awesome you can be when you Speak....& Deliver.

1 comment:

  1. Great post, Rich. I like your nutshell version: "They care about what you can give them ... Transform what you do into what they need." Thanks for the specifics on how to do that.

    Janet Hilts



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