Why Become a Keynote Speaker?
Successful speakers who aspire to become a keynote speaker usually do so for one specific reason. They are driven by a genuine desire to help people,bringing years of experience in their respective fields to the stage. If you're on the path to becoming a keynote speaker, your journey is about more than just the spotlight—it's about transforming lives.
The Importance of Keynote Speaking
Keynote speakers have a unique opportunity to inspire, educate, and motivate their audience. They play a crucial role in events, conferences, and gatherings, setting the tone for the entire occasion. What sets them apart is their dedication to sharing knowledge, insights, and wisdom that can truly make a difference.
Years of Expertise
Successful keynote speakers are typically experts in their fields. They've honed their craft through years of dedication, learning, and practice. They've faced challenges, achieved milestones, and gathered a wealth of experience. They also have a passion for their topic and a conviction for its merits. This depth of knowledge, understanding, and conviction is what empowers them to connect with their audience on a profound level.
Based on my experience as a keynote speaker, what has gotten me there includes honing my craft as a speaker, picking a niche (for me, public speaking training), and becoming known (marketing). Let’s look at each of these individually.
Honing Your Speaking Skills
The foundation of your journey starts with developing your speaking skills. Remember, it's not about you; it's about your audience. Craft content that impacts lives and resonates with your listeners. To engage your audience effectively, focus on:
- Learning their needs and desires and ensure your provide them with relavant valuable content.
- Incorporating storytelling to captivate their attention.
- Delivering confidently without relying on notes.
- Engaging techniques that keep them hooked.
Effective speaking begins with valuable content and the ability to connect with your audience on a personal level.
Picking a Niche
To stand out in the crowded world of speakers, niche selection is crucial. Define your expertise and tailor your message to a specific audience. For instance, if you specialize in peak performance, target HR associations, and offer insights on improving productivity. Specialization makes you more appealing than generalists.
To establish your presence:
- Research your target industry.
- Join relevant groups and build connections.
- Offer guest articles to showcase your knowledge.
Your marketing materials should align with your chosen niche.
Becoming a recognized expert in your field is the fun part of the journey. Leverage the power of the internet to boost your visibility. Key steps include:
- Maintain a professional speaker website with regular updates by blogging or podcasting to showcase your expertise.
- Create a compelling one-sheet to strengthen your brand.
- Conduct your own workshops, webinars, and virtual events to build your community of followers, your brand, and your confidence. You will start getting invitations to speak at other events.
- Share valuable content (from your blog/podcast) on social media platforms consistently.
- Connect with industry influencers and meeting planners. Consider joining the groups where they are on LinkedIn and Facebook and follow them on Instagram and Twitter. Don't stop there - be sure to engage.
- Be a published author. If you don’t have a book published, then publish your own eBook as a start and decide on the book that you will be publishing. Then get it published. In the meantime, you can say that you are the author of the “forthcoming book, XYZ.”
- Be quoted by the media. Either hire a publicist or contact the media yourself to offer your expertise for an article. When someone puts your name in the Google search engine to learn about you, you want your book and your quotes from the media to show up.
- Have at least one video of your presentation style and brilliance on your website. This could be just you speaking to the camera. It doesn’t have to be to a live audience although that would be great too. Consider having videos on other platforms like Instagram and YouTube.
- Plan ahead and be patient. Large conferences are usually planned 6 months to a year in advance. Plus, there may be several layers of approval. If you’re an unknown, you still have a chance because you can be a new voice and perhaps a fresh perspective.
- Be sure you can sustain high energy without much or any audience energy if you want to be featured on a webinar or virtual event. Either way, being hired for a live conference or an online conference requires that you are visible online and that you offer interesting conversations on your blog and through social media sites.
- Have some strong references. Ask the meeting coordinators where you have spoken if they would be a reference for you. List past speaking engagements on your website or on your speaker one sheet. When you apply to speak at a conference, be sure to list references.
- Secure testimonials. Ask attendees and meeting planners of your workshops and other events for testimonials and include them on your website.
- Follow-up with permission. When you approach a meeting planner or program advisor about speaking at their conference, ask them a couple of things. One, what is their preferred form of contact, phone or email? Then, find out if it would be ok to follow up with them in two weeks or what would be an acceptable time. Find out what their process is for getting approved. You are developing a relationship with them so you want to ensure you stay in their good graces. You don’t want to appear as being obnoxious. If you do, you won’t be hired.
Becoming a keynote speaker is an achievable goal for anyone willing to invest time and effort. Start your journey today, and remember that building relationships and offering real value are the cornerstones of success in this field.
What tips or questions do you have about becoming a keynote speaker? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below, and let's continue this inspiring conversation.