Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Get the Most out of the Rest of 2006: Available-One Speaker

Organizations are in desperate need of speakers. Trust me. They'd be happy to find nicely dressed, well-spoken business people to come and read the telephone book. You can do so much more. Some tips:

  • Look up organizations you share an interest with. Your local library has a copy of the Encyclopedia of Associations you can refer to (call the research librarian -- he or she is a brilliant, underutilized, college-degreed professional who can find the Moses' mother's maiden name if you asked them to). Generate an exhaustive list and be sure to ask the speaker coordinator if they know of any other groups that regularly have speakers. Get contact information and ask them if they would be willing to drop that person a brief note letting them know you'll be calling.
  • Outline several talk topics the speaker coordinator can choose from.
  • Tell them what kind of PR you'll need. Listen: give them the run-down of everything you need. If they balk at something key for your success, don't play with them. Some coordinators think you shouldn't be allowed to solicit in any way. They're dreaming. Put the phone down gently. You don't want to wake them. Be sure to arrange for someone else to introduce you and give them your bio in advance (making sure its written so that it sounds like it's coming from them). Be sure that the organization sends out lots of advance information about speakers. Request a link to a key page on your website be listed on their site. You may even want to consider preparing a brief bit of "homework" for the participants so they come ready to get the most out of your talk.
  • Set up your apre-talk system: include a link for more information, a sign-up sheet to be added to your news-zine and for additional contact requests.