In a previous article, I shared how to get on other’s stages gracefully. In this article, I will reveal the obnoxious behaviors that turn off event hosts and can sabotage your speaking career. So many speakers don’t even realize what they are doing to try and get on stages is a turn-off. If you’re serious about being on other people’s stages, your next step is to make sure you avoid obnoxious behavior.
1. Don’t Send Out Your One-Sheet Cold
Do not send people your one-sheet out of the blue to people you don’t know. Especially if you didn’t do any or all of the 5 steps of stage grace, then do not send your one-sheet to an event host who doesn’t know you. It’s obnoxious behavior if you do. I get it all the time. When someone sends me their one-sheet – someone I don’t know, I’ve never heard of, they’ve never been to my event, nor have they sponsored or affiliated my event, and then they send their one-sheet and ask to speak on my stage – I am insulted. I don’t know them from Adam. What do I do with that one-sheet? I toss it in the trash or delete the email. I never consider it at all now and for the future. They are gone. What they could have done was any of the previous 5 ways of establishing some stage grace or at least called me (that would have been better, but still would have been a no). Sending out the one-sheet is a spray and pray approach and does not work.
2. Don’t Talk About You & Your Speech
Another obnoxious behavior is talking about you and your speech. If you call someone and talk all about you and your speech, and not their event, is obnoxious behavior. If I had approached the event host about me and my topic, I knew I wouldn’t get the spot on his stage. I did have an advantage; I knew the guy and we just shared a stage. Nonetheless, I asked him to tell me more about his event. I learned the title was “Fearless Speaking” and so I felt there was a match because I’m a speaker trainer. I asked him to, “Tell me more about your event and what your audience is hoping to get out of your event?” I was chatting with him and being very interested in him and his event. Then I responded with, “Wow, I could contribute to that. I would love to add value in any way I can.” Then that’s when I did the ask. Make sure you’re talking about the other person’s event and learn more about it BEFORE you open your mouth about who you are and what you’re speech is about. I know you’re excited but hold off if you want results.
3. Don’t Ask the Wrong Questions at the Wrong Time
Another obnoxious behavior is asking the wrong questions. For example, if you ask these questions on the outset you will turn off an event host:
- How many people do you expect to get there?
- How long have you been doing this event?
- How many times have you done this event?
Before you’ve built rapport and even seem interesting to the event host, this is the WRONG time to ask those questions. The event host doesn’t know you well enough to answer them. Eventually, it may be right but not in the beginning. Work on building rapport and stage grace with the event host first.
4. Don’t Beg or Bother
I’ve had people who email over and over about a certain event and even sent me a video and used the theme of my event, and try and get me to consider them. They were bothering me. And it came across as begging and desperation. If you keep ignoring the “no,” you’ll become the call they don’t want to take. You need to stand in your power and accept the no.
Go back to the sure-fire ways to get into events. If you use these obnoxious behaviors, you’re not going to get on the right stages. There are exceptions to the rule. That kind of behavior may only work for newer event planners and hosts. If it’s their first event this may work. Likely, they don’t know many speakers and they may be a bit more open. You might get a newbie event host who eagerly takes your calls and says, “Sure you can be on my stage.” There may be no congruency between their event and you. Most importantly, ask yourself: Do you really want to be on their stage? Is there even going to be a crowd?
This happens to all of us speakers. We land events that have poor attendance.
One thing I do is offer a stage swap. If you are already an accomplished speaker, you could offer a stage swap with another event host. Most stage swaps, however, are not equal. For example, I did a stage swap for the Limitless Success Summit I did. The other event host had sold me that he was going to have 50 people at his event (which was before mine). I showed up at his event and there was literally 4 people. Be careful when doing agreeing to a stage swap.