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One of the keys to speaking success is to do a lot of speaking. How do you get started if you have limited experience? Speak any time, anywhere, and for free if you must.
By free, I don’t really mean totally for free. I mean that you don’t charge them a fee for speaking. But if you are speaking for free, they must allow you to sell your products. Depending on the group you are speaking to, the products you select to offer will vary.
One of my first speeches was for a local service organization. They didn’t give me a fee but allowed me to sell a one cassette program for $20 a piece. I sold 22 of them. Total revenue of $440. Cost of production? $20. They cost about $1 each. Total net revenue? $420. Not bad for a beginner with a 45 minute speech. They also gave me a “wonderful” chicken dinner.
You’ll get resistance from people where you offer to speak for free because they’ve had bad experiences in the past. Many of these folks have had people come in to give a free speech and used their 45 minutes to deliver an extended sales pitch for their products and services. So, don’t be surprised if you encounter some resistance.
You get around this by letting them know that you will deliver a lot of content and only BRIEFLY pitch your products at the end.
The reason why you want to speak for free in the beginning is that you need to practice, and the more you practice the better you’ll get. The more people who see you, the better it is for you as well. The goal is to start building your database. Find a way to get people to give you their email addresses. The main thing you want to do when you start speaking is build a database of people who have heard you speak. Your database will become your single greatest asset.
The people who see and hear you at these early events will stay on your database forever and may buy more “stuff” from you over the years.
One of my biggest mistakes as a speaker (early on) was not meticulously capturing the names of my audience members. I didn’t start keeping my database until years after I started speaking. This cost me (as a guess) a minimum of $100,000 during my early years.
When you do a speech, make sure to give participants a handout. Make it something worth keeping. Not only will your message be more effective, it will also serve to keep your name in front of the participants well after the event is over.
Your handout should both serve to keep your name in front of people (make sure to put your contact info on every page) and to make people an offer that will capture their email address. When I’m giving my speech or seminar on seminar marketing I put on the bottom of the handout a way for people to get a free 7-day course on the topic that normally costs $77. All they have to do is email me at that address and they get it for free. I encourage YOU to send an email to email@example.com to learn more about the topic as well.
Make sure you have your name and contact information on every page of every handout you distribute. If someone makes copies, you’ll want people to know where it came from.
So stop waiting for paid speaking engagements and start speaking anywhere and everywhere you possibly can.
BEING YOURSELF AND DEVELOPING YOUR UNIQUE STYLE.
Your personal style when you do your speech or seminar is important. Most important is that you don’t violate the rule of being yourself. My style is very strong and confrontational. Yours may be different. Don’t try to be like me or anyone else. Try to be the absolute best you, you can be.
There is a strong tendency on the part of new speakers to copy people they hear who they like. Avoid this temptation. Try to learn from those you like, but don’t imitate them. It will come off as fake.
Build your own style by taking the best of what you see from others and combining it into a powerful hybrid of your own.
People can smell baloney. Don’t try to be something that you’re not. It won’t work. People will judge you as a phoney.
The best two success examples I can give you for being yourself would be Hugh Downs and Oprah Winfrey. In my opinion, the reason for the success of these two TV personalities is the result of their coming across as 100% authentic and real.
Audiences respond to this approach.
My style will sometimes get people angry. I tend to be very direct and “in your face” on occasion. I am willing to risk alienating a very small percentage of the audience if I feel that I can best deliver my content and information in this manner.
You have to make your choices, but keep in mind that the more people get the feeling that you are authentic, the better your evaluations and product sales will be.