By definition, public relations is the management of one’s reputation in the marketplace. This extends to a number of promotional strategies, including public speaking. Commanding a stage and sharing your expertise with a broader audience is, in fact, a great way to not only get your brand’s name out there but will also build your reputation as an industry expert.
If speaking is a strategy that you are interested in pursuing, there are a few key tips to know before you get started:
Establishing Your Goals
The first thing you’ll want to do is sit down and decide what your goals are and why you’d like to become a speaker. As someone with a full-time job, adding speaking to your docket can be a big undertaking so you want to be sure it’s worth the effort. Are you looking to make this an alternate revenue stream? Do you want to establish yourself as an industry expert to other pros in the industry? Are you trying to solidify your reputation with engaged couples? Figuring out your goals will help you not only find the right avenues, but will also help in determining your target audience and the topics you should think about covering.
Do the Research
Your next step is to start thinking about where you want to speak. Start locally by inquiring into any associations or professional organizations you already belong to. If you’re not a member anywhere, consider attending a meeting and making some new contacts. Think outside the box with groups like the local chamber of commerce or nearby rotary clubs. Getting good experience at the local level is the best place to start, as the major conferences and national level associations will want experienced speakers.
Finalize Your Topics
Once you have an idea of where you want to speak, you’ll need to get your topics polished and finalized before submitting your name. Narrow it down to the best 2-3 subjects that you think will best complement the type of education the organization likes to offer. Make sure that it isn’t anything they’ve offered before and will be impactful for those attending.
Whichever topics you’ve decided on will need a brief description and at least three takeaways. This is so the prospects that you submit to can have a good idea of what you will be covering, and what the audience will gain from it. If writing is not a strength of yours, there are lots of freelance writers that would be happy to help!
If you are familiar with pitching yourself to the media for press features, then this shouldn’t be too difficult for you. However, if you’re unsure, then the important things to remember are to stick to email and keep it short, sweet, and to the point. Have a quick intro, list your topics, and share why you think you would be the right fit. Finish up with an inquiry as to how you can be considered, and press send.
Remember to practice, practice, and keep practicing. Schedule time out each week for you to work on it until you feel like you could deliver it in your sleep. Being prepared is the number one piece of advice I give to everyone – it can mean the difference between an engaged audience and one that’s lost interest.
Meghan Ely is the owner of wedding PR and wedding marketing firm OFD Consulting. Ely is a sought-after speaker, adjunct professor in the field of public relations, and a self-professed royal wedding enthusiast.
Photo: Alex Lexson Photography