Not every speaking engagement opportunity is right for you.
Believe or Relate to the Cause
Don’t speak for groups that support something you don’t believe in or to groups you can’t relate to, or to groups with too big of an age difference. For example, I would never agree to speak to an atheist group, not even about public speaking. It’s just not a good fit for me or the audience. I’m a strong woman of faith and I bring God to the stage in every talk I give. There are other speakers that would be a better fit.
One time I spoke to a book club for a senior center. My style of speaking is high energy and I encourage the audience to do high fives and other physical movements. My speaking style was not well received by this older crowd. This audience wanted to sit back and just listen.
Don’t Choose Events That Become a Large Expense Without Significant Upside
If the distance of the speaking event is too far and takes too long, and has too few attendees, you may want to consider declining the speaking opportunity. I turned down an opportunity to speak in Nigeria because I was going to have to pay the entire way. It was too far and too expensive without much of an upside. I knew little about the audience and they were likely not going to buy anything from me. There are plenty of times when you will pay your own way, travel, food, and hotel, however; make sure it is worth it for you and your speaking career.
Do Your Research to Speak to Them
I don’t know anything about Mediation. Yet I received a great opportunity to speak to an audience of attorneys and mediators. Before the speaking engagement, I did my research. I learned what mediators do and got familiar with their lingo. I also went to one of their meetings the month before and asked them individually, “When it comes to public speaking what would you like to learn?” Based on these answers and my research I was able to tailor my talk for them.
Always Evaluate The Speaking Opportunity
There’s a difference between what you can relate to and what you can speak to. If you have something to offer and there is no personal or professional conflict of interest, then you can take on that speaking engagement. Say ‘yes’ and give it all you got.
It is a rare occasion when I turn down a speaking opportunity. I only do so if it’s against my core beliefs or values.
For every speaking engagement, evaluate what you have to offer the audience, whether they are your target market or not, and whether you can transform their lives with your message and make an impact.
Need help evaluating if a speaking engagement will be right for you? Or want to land better speaking engagements? Book a time to speak with me and we’ll get you sorted out.