5 Ways to Get the Most Out of Your Unpaid Speaking Engagement

I’ve worked in the P.R. business for many years, and one of the major P.R. goals for business owners is to get speaking engagements.

These astute business people know that the vast majority of speaking gigs are unpaid. But they also realize that in return for sharing their knowledge, they gain exposure to potential clients, as well as the ability to sell products and services.

Some examples of unpaid speaking opportunities include: business luncheons and dinners, “leads” groups, industry meetings, workshops, seminars, and conferences.

Whether you’ve spoken to many groups, a few, or are considering approaching an organization, check out these ways to get the most out of your speaking engagements.

  1. Craft your speech to appeal to multiple audiences. As you begin organizing your presentation, think about other groups who would find your information useful. Remember, it takes a lot of hard work and time to create a great speech.
  2. Keep an open mind. Maybe this isn’t your idea of the perfect speaking opportunity. Maybe it’s an inconvenient location or time (like really early in the morning! Maybe you’re not sure how many people in the audience are part of your target market. Maybe you have to put in more time on the speech than you expected. But, like your Mom used to say, “You never know who you’re going to meet.” Maybe it won’t be a new client, but hey, it could be a great new accountant or someone who can refer business to you.
  3. Do your best. Don’t just slap information together. If you have a presentation, practice it a couple of times. Just because you’re not getting paid, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do a bang-up job.
  4. Recycle your speech. Again, you’ve put a lot of time and effort into this. Can you create a blog post from the content? Free tips to use as a lead magnet? A webinar? This will maximize the return on your investment of time and effort.
  5. Offer a deal. By speaking, you are providing something of value for free. You should get something in return, right? Always end by offering a discount or special offer to the attendees. Making it time-sensitive (such as “today only”) ensures that the appreciation and goodwill your audience feels can be acted on immediately.

Great speaking engagements start with strong planning. Organize your speech with the tips above in mind. This will maximize the exposure and leads you receive each time you speak.