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How to Land Your First Public Speaking Gig
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Landing speaking gigs is easier than you think!
This week on Inbox Besties, public speaking strategist Jessica Rasdall shared her favorite strategies for landing speaking gigs and positioning yourself as an in-demand public speaker – even if you’ve never spoke on stage before.
Are you ready to shine on stage, share your story & make an impact?
Regardless of where you’re at in your journey as an entrepreneur, public speaking is an amazing way to increase your visibility, credibility and profits. The big question is… How do you get started when it comes to landing speaking gigs?
Every polished and poised public speaker started out with their first public speaking gig, so if you haven’t shined on stage yet, it’s not too late!
Before you start searching for public speaking opportunities, you’ll need to take care of a few things.
Ditch the “Impostor Syndrome”
Ahhhhh Impostor Syndrome. We all face this hurdle at some point and anyone who tells you they haven’t are either lying or they haven’t been in business long enough. Impostor syndrome is that shrinking feeling you get when you feel like what you have to say isn’t good enough, when you feel like you don’t know enough to be considered an expert or when you feel like a total fraud for speaking up.
Basically, it’s this little voice in the back of your mind that says “Who are you to be talking about this?!?”
The problem isn’t that you don’t know enough or that you’re not good enough. The problem is (usually) that you are sharing your message with the wrong people. If you’re the go-to person in your family for delicious home-cooked bread, you have no problem sharing your tips with confidence with your cousin from Idaho, right? But if you were to have a conversation with a master chef, would you offer the same tips? Of course not.
The same applies when it comes to sharing your message. Make sure that your audience (whether on stage or online) is the right audience. A lot of people make the mistake of thinking that their peer group or their mentors are also their audience. They are not. Make sure you know the difference between your peers and business besties and your ideal audience. They are rarely the same group of people.
Another reason impostor syndrome rears its ugly head is that we don’t always recognize our own zones of genius. It is so easy to forget that what comes easy to us is someone else’s biggest challenge. We all know that person who is effortlessly organized, who alphabetized and color-coded their wardrobe before they were old enough to drive and who by some dark wizardry doesn’t even have a junk drawer. What looks like magic to the rest of the world comes naturally to them. Your own zone of genius is the same way.
The thing that we are really good at – that comes naturally to us – we are too close to it to see the value of it. Ask your family, friends and clients what they think your superpower is. You might be surprised at the answer. By landing speaking gigs that showcase your natural ability, speaking with authority will be a whole lot easier.
Take a Strategic Approach to Landing a Speaking Gig
When you’re looking to land your first speaking gig, the event organizer is going to want to see examples of you speaking on stage. You don’t need a whole professional speaker reel but you do need to have something to show the organizer.
You can use examples of you speaking on YouTube, Facebook Livestreams or even guest speaking on podcasts. By hearing your message and your personality, it gives the event organizer a taste of what it would be like to have you speak at their event.
How are you showing up on social media? Are you doing livestreams about your dog or singing along with the Backstreet Boys in the car? Or are you talking passionately about your area of expertise?
By having the intention of perfecting your message and practicing your topic, your livestreams will improve dramatically and you’ll have some compelling clips to show off to the people who will book you to speak at events.
Start in Your Own Backyard
The biggest mistake people make when starting out with public speaking is trying to get booked at a big national conference. Not only does it cost a lot of money (in the thousands!) to attend these events, it’s virtually impossible to get booked without some kind of proof that you are ready to shine in that big of a spotlight.
You can start to build your credibility right now by landing speaking gigs in your own hometown. Look for groups, organizations, meet-ups and community meets that you can use as a platform to share your message. This gives you the opportunity to perfect your speaking topic. If you bomb in front of 10 people, no big deal. This gives you the chance to learn and adjust.
When you’re speaking to build credibility, WHO you are speaking in front of is not as important. You’re using these small meetings as a springboard to get gigs in front of your ideal audience.
Approach these small events with the intention of getting comfortable and confident. You’ll find out what doesn’t work and what does. Plus, you’ll have videos and pictures that you can use to promote yourself on social media, add to your speaker portfolio and eventually use to create your speaker reel.
Ask for Referrals
After you’ve spoken at a local event or meeting, ask for referrals. Ask who in their network would get value from your message. You never know who they know and that can lead to some amazing speaking opportunities.
Sometimes, these smaller events lead to bigger opportunities that are still within driving distance of your house. These are perfect! You’re not spending a ton of money booking a hotel and paying for airfare. A tank of gas is way more doable that a round-trip ticket plus you have the chance to get outside of you local community and meet more people.
Of course, you’ll want to make sure that you have pictures and videos of each event… and ask for referrals again. That way you’re always expanding your network, reaching more people and perfecting your message before you hit the big stage.
You’ve Got to Start Somewhere
We’ve all seen someone bomb on stage. It’s painful to watch. Even the most genius expert in their field is going to flop if they haven’t taken the time to practice sharing their message on stage with a smaller audience first. Starting in your own backyard gives you the time to learn how to get your message out there and work all the kinks out.
Public speaking can make a huge impact, not only in your positioning as an expert in your niche but also in the lives of the people who get to hear your story and your message.
Know Where You’re At
Jessica has it broken down into four levels of speaker authority and has created a convenient quiz you can take to see where you and your business fall on the scale. Whether you’re just starting out or have been in business for a decade, there is an audience who needs to hear your message. By knowing where you’re at, you’ll have a better idea of what your next steps should be when it comes to landing speaking gigs!
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Jessica Rasdall is a Motivational Speaker, Best Selling Author, Public Speaking Strategist and the host of The Creative Speaker Podcast. She partners with small business owners to craft stories and presentations that connect with their audience and convert from the stage. Jessica has shared her story of turning her “mess into a message” for over thirteen years and has been featured on major international media outlets such as ABC’s 20/20, Katie Couric, The Guardian, MTV, Netflix and much more.
When Jessica was a freshman in college, she made a life-altering decision that resulted in the death of her best friend. In an effort to raise awareness, cope with her guilt and keep her friend’s memory alive, she began sharing her story. Jessica spoke to over 15,000 young adults across the country before she was sentenced to prison.
By rewriting their story, her clients are transforming what were once considered limitations into some of their greatest business assets.
Freebie: Quiz: Does speaking fit into your marketing? https://quiz.tryinteract.com/#/5a61aa019c62570014ec9266