• March 2014

Step 6 — Join a Speakers Bureau

From “PR Rules: The Playbook—The Entrepreneur’s Guide to Supersizing Your Small Business.” Available in April 2014

By Hope Katz Gibbs, with Kathleen McCarthy
Authors
PR Rules: The Playbook

As Kristine Carlson (pictured right) knows, speaking about what you know is the best way to grow your business. Click here to learn more about her work, as well as the other leaders on our Inkandescent Speakers Bureau.

And scroll down to learn more about how a Speakers Bureau can help you spread the word about what you know. Learn what it is, what it isn’t, why this opportunity is so important for your business and career.

From “PR Rules: The Playbook—The Entrepreneur’s Guide to Supersizing Your Small Business”

What it is:

  • A credibility booster. Speaking to groups of like-minded business folks guarantees that several, if not dozens of people, will learn from your expertise. That builds your credibility as much, if not more, than getting quoted in the news.
  • A way to generate additional clients and customers. The audience will also likely want to buy what you are saying—literally. In fact, when the industry experts, futurists, and veteran entrepreneurs on our Inkandescent Speakers Bureau are hired to speak, they are often hired to do consulting work or are booked for additional speaking gigs.
  • A means of learning from a captive, relevant audience. This may be one of the most valuable and important reasons to speak! While the audience may not know more about your topic than you do, paying close attention to their feedback will help you massage your message so that you can be even more effective.

What it’s not:

  • Speaking engagements are not platforms for you to pontificate. The best speakers stay on point and have a message that is engaging and relevant.
  • They are not a place to BS. Authenticity in any speech is critical. So before you embark on this PR and marketing opportunity, be sure you can speak candidly about your topic, and be willing to share some of your struggles, not just your triumphs.
  • They are not an opportunity to test the waters. Know what you want to say, how you want to say it—and what you want the audience to take away from your speech.

Why it’s important:

  • There is probably no better way to find new clients than by speaking at an event where you stand up in front a room full of people who want to hear what you have to say. Those who resonate with your message, and need your services, could be your next customer.
  • Speaking gigs are another potential revenue stream. But be willing to work your way up the speakers bureau food chain. The bigger speakers bureaus take on experts who are already celebrities. Smaller bureaus are more flexible, and are likely to take on less-experienced speakers. Be open to starting small.
  • They help you overcome glossophobia. Fear of public speaking is one of the most common phobias. Reportely, as many as 75 percent of adults suffer from it—and far more people claim that they prefer death to giving a speech! Comedian Jerry Seinfeld once joked that at a funeral, most people would rather be lying in the casket than delivering the eulogy. If that describes you, either find ways to work your way through “speakers block”—or make peace with the fact that this PR tool isn’t for you.

Learn more in PR Rules: The Playbook, in bookstores in April. Pre-order your book today by clicking here.

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