What’s So Great About You?

Feeling stuck on the bio for your “About Me” page? Worried that you don’t have ten TV appearances and seven advanced degrees to showcase? Feeling pressured to have lots of pizazz? Or egotistical because you’re talking about yourself?

This all gets easier when you write in service to your audience.

How do you do that? Offer them a story that they can relate to, a thread that mirrors their own challenges, and shows them they can get through it with grace. You’re not going to squeeze every piece of experience you’ve ever had onto the page. Be willing to let some of your valuable experience go, when it’s not in service to your people.

Here are five (5) questions that will get you there.

Who is your audience?

This can be an easy question. It can stop you in your tracks. Let’s say you’re a speaker who targets middle management about leadership challenges.

What are the 3 biggest challenges your audience has?

This is key. What do your people think about all day long? If you’re the middle management speaker, your audience wrestles with being understood by their bosses, leading when they report to someone, managing people (they might be new at it), resolving conflict, and supporting their team without becoming their parent.

What has happened in your professional life that reflects similar challenges?

Your audience wants to see that you’ve been through something similar. With our middle management speaker, she was promoted from middle management to VP level at Target. The business was struggling with lackluster customer service at several of its stores (total hypothetical here)! There was lack of communication between the customer service reps and upper management, and this showed in how they acted toward customers. She was placed in charge of turning this around.

How did you resolve issues/challenges in ways that build your credibility?

So what’s the happy ending to your challenge narrative? Our speaker developed a process to effectively hire, train and manage the reps for an entire region. Upper management was thrilled with the results, and it helped that she figured out how to keep them in the loop throughout the rollout. The program was so successful, her process was adopted by Target corporate for the entire country and she was promoted. She clearly understands the intricacies of being in middle management. And that is her audience. Yes!

You can go with a couple more stories like this, or just share a longer story that shows you understand a challenge similar to theirs and how you solved it. They’ll be wondering what your secret sauce is, and that’s what will get them to hire you.

What other training, education, background would show them you can support their challenges?

Well, you’ve done it. You’ve built some rapport. Now, bring in related experience and training for a slam dunk. Our middle management speaker went through an MBA program specializing in management and customer service. She completed a conflict resolution course, business leadership training, and even managed a bunch of volunteers at her local United Way for years. She really gets the pain and rewards of managing people.

 

When you are finished answering all these questions, you might notice that you haven’t included some qualifications that you think are valuable. It’s OK to leave them out. You’re starting a conversation here. Once you’re in contact, you will get to know each other better, and you can pleasantly surprise them with deeper experience, if it’s relevant. The bigger danger is that you overwhelm them with credentials. There’s no need. Speak to them with full regard to what matters to them.

Take all this and write a bio that is in total service of your audience. Ready? Set? Go!

*****     *****     *****     *****     *****     *****

Guest Author: Christina Frei

Check out her website | Follow Her On Facebook | Connect & Converse on Twitter

Speakers Wanted: Get On The Get The Gigs Podcast!

Speakers Wanted: Get On The Get The Gigs Podcast!

Call For Speakers!

For the last couple of months, I’ve been hard at work with all of the prep and pre-work that goes into launching a podcast aimed at helping speakers with their branding and marketing. My goal? To create a lasting product and content that goes deeper into serving the needs of those who speak and present in front of an audience.

It’s an exciting project. I’ve already recorded several episodes and they have turned out great. I’m getting really close to pushing the button and launching my first episodes on the site and on iTunes.

But I Need Your Help, I Need More Speakers …

I need your help. I need guests!

What kind of guests? I’m looking for speakers who have built really strong brands and would be willing to share their story with my audience.

Ideally I’d love to interview folks like:

Tony Robbins
Tim Ferris
Marissa Mayer
Seth Godin
Henry Rollins

Okay … I know I need to work my way up to these guests, as they are the biggest big names in the industry. I’d also love to feature and showcase up and comers in the space, as I’m also an up and comer!

Are You A Good Fit For The Podcast?

If you meet any of the following criteria, you’re probably a great fit:

  • You’re an event manager who regularly seeks speakers for conferences and events
  • You work with speakers, especially in a marketing capacity
  • You’re a niche speaker with an especially unique audience
  • You’re a long-time speaker looking to make more impact online in order to land new/different gigs

If you think you fit the bill, let’s have a chat about getting you on the show. I work with you to make sure the recording time suits both of our schedules. I also offer you the opportunity to share a promotional item or opportunity.

Even if you’re not a speaker you may know of someone who would like to do the show or who you’d like to see interviewed. I’d love for you to make an introduction or offer up a suggestion.

You can shoot me an email, drop me a note through my contact form or send me a DM on Twitter.

I Gave A Speech ... And Lived To Tell About It!

I Gave A Speech … And Lived To Tell About It!

I have a confession to make. Getting on a stage and giving a speech intimidates me. I worry about flubbing my lines, about losing my train of thought and rambling like a moron…no one to rescue me, left to my own devices to sweat bullets until my allotted time is up.

Despite my fears, I mustered up all of my courage and hit the stage a couple weeks ago to give a speech in Jacksonville, Florida. In front of about twenty-five fellow web designers and developers.

For you speakers, the idea of being intimidated by giving a speech, especially in front of such a small crowd, probably seems pretty silly. For me, though, most of my work life takes place in front of a computer. Interacting with a live crowd that’s looking to me for to educate and entertain them? I’m a little out of my element.

Outside of my presentation in Jacksonville and a best man’s speech at my brother’s wedding, I don’t have much experience taking the stage. When I do get the opportunity, I look for little learning opportunities. It’s a chance to kind of walk a mile in the shoes of the speakers that I serve.

My Big Takeaway: Preparation Is HUGE

Maybe this is kind of a “duh” statement. The more I prepared, the less nervous I felt.

My wife will tell you, I was awful company leading up to my speech. The night before was spent holed up in our room while I poured over my notes, plotting out pauses and inflections, and making last-minute tweaks. The next morning I got up very early and picked up where I left off, right up until mere minutes before I went on stage.

How did the speech go? My audience was moved to tears. I exited to a thunderous round of applause. Okay, the speech was rather well-received. My audience asked a lot of great questions and a few people engaged me after I took the mic off my lapel. All in all, I consider the whole thing a success. I think that the effort I put into being prepared made all the difference.

I’m not trying to imply that my experience is exactly like that of a professional speaker. I gave my speech in front of a small, friendly crowd of my peers. It’s far different from getting paid to wow the audience at a big corporate event.

I can, however, make some connections between a speech and a website.

Preparation pays, whether you're giving a speech or starting a web design project.Click To Tweet

Websites, Like A Speech, Require Preparation

That preparation part I mentioned earlier? It’s a big deal for websites, too.

There’s little that being prepared won’t help you overcome. We’re prepared because we plan meticulously before designing and developing every website. We’re prepared we anticipate our clients’ needs, while also listening to their wants. We’re prepared when we stay one step ahead of trends in technology.

Is the thought of designing or redesigning your website as intimidating for you as giving a speech was for me?

It doesn’t have to be. Shoot me an email with your questions. Where are you stuck? What’s freaking you out the most? I love helping speakers come up with solutions for sites that land them more gigs!

Why I Build Sites For Speakers

Why I Build Websites For Speakers

The story about why I create websites for speakers and coaches is one I’ve been meaning to tell for a long time.

I’ve worked on websites across the board, within a lot of different industries. I’ve worked on websites for lawyers, dentists, retail, churches, authors, and restaurants. I could have chosen to focus any number of industries. A couple years ago, though, I made the decision to focus on websites for speakers and coaches.

We know from Simon Sinek that “why” we do things is really important. Here’s my “why”:

In 2012, I was struggling. I was two years removed from setting out on my own. Even though I’m good at what I do, I wasn’t attracting the right kind of clients and was making little more than enough money to pay my bills.

That’s when I came to my “get it right or get out” moment. I was either going to figure out how to turn my business around or I was going back to the corporate world. To help me sort it out, I hired a business coach who was specializing in helping tech-driven companies (By the way, it was this guy).

The difference was night and day and it was immediate. Right away I put some practices in place that turned things around for me. My rates went up. I started attracting better clients. I ditched a lot of bad habits and picked up a lot of great ones– habits that are still a major part of my business today.

I was really blown away by the impact my coach had in business and knew then that the people who make a living by helping it sounds, I just don’t care about other industries that much. I care about speakers and coaches.

My business coach went on to make speaking a big part of his business. I was able to return the favor and help him with his website and help him get more speaking gigs. I know that he went on to do some amazing things, (and is still doing amazing things) helping businesses from the stage, in small part because of the work we did on his website.

A good speaker is really someone who coaches from the stage. I like the idea of helping people that make a business out of helping others. I like to think that I’m helping speakers to extend their message beyond the stage and helping coaches extend beyond their sessions. I like to think that, by proxy, I can claim a very small part of all the breakthroughs that those in the coaching community are so great at prompting.

I’ve spent enough time around speakers to realize that they are a different breed. As a result, speakers and coaches need a different kind of website than the rest of the world. I enjoy honing in on the nuances that come with a speaker / coach website. I’m getting better and better at dealing with these nuances and I’m committed to serving “my people.”

My questions for you? What do you deal with as a speaker or coach that’s unique to your profession? What are the challenges that you’ve had to face with your website and branding?

I love hearing hearing from people who are in the middle of it all, so send me an email and let me know!

Why Your Website Isn't Getting You The Gig!

Why Your Website Isn’t Getting You The Gig!

As a speaker, coach or consultant, your website should work like a sales representative. Out there hustling to get your next gig. If you haven’t had at least a handful of leads come in through your website, leads that you’ve converted into paying gigs, it may be time to ask the tough questions and see if your site is actually doing its job.

Consider the following reasons why your website might be letting you down:

1. You have the wrong testimonials.

Jane Atkinson tackles this in her excellent book The Wealthy Speaker. Here’s what she had to say:

What you want for testimonials is for them to answer the question: ‘What changed as a result of John Smith’s presentation?’ That’s what you need to ask your client to write about.

I couldn’t agree more. Most testimonials read like a stripped down greeting card. “So and so is a great speaker who delivered a thoroughly enjoyable presentation.” That’s nice, but it’s hardly persuasive.

Think in terms of the results that were achieved since you were booked. Did sales go up? Has morale visibly boosted? Get specific and plant the seed of ROI in your future client’s head.

You might want to seriously consider walking clients through writing the kind of testimonials that you need, maybe even providing them with a template when you request a testimonial.

You ARE requesting testimonials and not just waiting for the client to do it on their own, right?

2. You don’t have a GOOD video.

This is another point hammered home in The Wealthy Speaker. You need at least one GOOD video on your website. Notice the emphasis on good. What’s the big deal with video? Put yourself in the shoes of a meeting or event planner seeking out the best speaker for hire. They are going to look at a lot of speakers and they’re going to want to process the gist of these speakers quickly. Video is the best way for them to do so.

Amidst all of the reasons you should willingly open your wallet wide, make one of them your website (I promise I’m not just being self-serving here) and make the other one your video. Find someone who specializes in speaker videos. It’s a different animal than commercials or short films. Once you’ve got a killer video, put it in a place of prominence, front and center, on your website.

Seriously, it should smack people in the face and make them want to hire you!

3. You haven’t made it easy for people to hire you / work with you.

Larry Winget has really nailed this part of his website. The second link in his menu says ‘Hire Larry’. In case you miss that, there’s another prominent link just a bit further down on the home page. Once you click on that section, there are links to download his introduction, photos, and other press materials. There’s a hard-to-miss button in the sidebar that walks you through the next steps. Gee, I’m starting to think that this Larry guy is open to being hired for public speaking gigs!

People want to be guided through this kind of process. You’ve shown them where the answer lies, now hold their hand as you cross the bridge together. Might I suggest a big button that says “Hire [insert your name here],” or something similar? Make sure you include a resource section where your new client can download everything they need, including a speaker introduction/bio and a press kit.

Sharing these kind of resources on your site shows that you are a professional who has thought of everything (or close to it). People find this so reassuring that, when all else is equal, these resources could actually be the tie-breaker.

4. Your photography is weak.

This one is pretty obvious, right? You know you need professionally shot, up-to-date photos that reflect your personality? You know that getting your buddy to snap some iPhone pics isn’t how the pros do it? It’s such a no brainer! Hell, I feel silly for even bringing it up.

5. It’s just flat out bad!

This one is tough. It’s subjective and when things are outside of your area of expertise, it’s hard to know what you don’t know. Design is of course aesthetic; it appeals to emotions and sets up a look that says credible and professional. Design also exists to facilitate functionality, allowing for booking speakers and consultants, connecting via social media, and reading and sharing blog posts.

I’m not going to share my philosophy about what design is and isn’t. My suggestion is that you never go too long without putting your site through the wringer. If it’s been more than 18 months since your site got a serious tune-up, bring in a pro, get your site audited to see what’s missing. Bone up on WordPress and choose a nice looking theme.

Just do something! Make it a priority to have a continually improving site and keep your foot on the gas.

Your Turn!

I would love to know what you thought about this article. What did I leave out? What changes have you made to your site that have yielded positive results?

I hate the idea of speakers settling for less gigs for less money. If there’s anything I can do to help make your site better, even if it’s just providing my two cents on what you’ve got, then hit me up!

7 Ways To Nail That Speaker One Sheet

7 Ways To Nail That Speaker One Sheet

Crafted and distributed well, a speaker one sheet is a crucial item in the arsenal of any professional speaker. Think of your one sheet as the executive summary for your speaker packet or PR kit.

It’s a simple enough document. It shares what you do,  the benefits of booking you and, if you’re booked, exactly how the engagement will go down. I’m sharing my seven tips for nailing that one sheet and landing that great speaking gig. Follow these guidelines, and I’d be willing to bet you’ll tack on at least one or two extra speaking engagements in the coming year.

Setting Up A Stellar One Sheet

1. Resist the urge to pack it to the gills with information.

White space is kind of a big deal. You need it to call attention to items of emphasis, rather than overwhelming the viewer.

There’s only so much space available on an 8.5 x 11 page, so you’re not going to be able to tell your life story. Instead, you’ll need to make some hard decisions about what to include.

Make a hierarchy of your content in order of importance. Save the stuff at the bottom for your expanded speaker packet or your website.

2. Definitely include a professional photo.

Seriously, I don’t want to catch any of you trying to get away with a cell phone pic.

Hire a pro to take that photo and make sure you’re represented like a professional, then use your favorite shot conspicuously on your one sheet.

3. Position yourself as THE sought-after authority.

You’ve been featured on NBC, CNN, the Wall Street Journal and the Huffington Post? That’s impressive! Include a small section resembling “As seen on,” then include some high-res logos to really showcase where you’ve already been featured.

Not quite at that level yet? That’s okay. Instead, opt for a glowing testimonial from someone (preferably in upper-management) from the most well-known organization that had you speak.

4. Let people know the benefits of working with you.

Did a company report increased profits or productivity right after working with you? Play it up!

People don’t act without first asking “what’s in it for me?”

Remember, this thing is going to wind up in the hands of people in a position to hire you. When that happens, they needed to be motivated to make the call.

5. Spell out how working with you is going to play out.

You have to strike the right balance between detail and brevity here. Let people know what topics you’re willing to cover. You need to make sure they get the picture, and you must do so succinctly.

6. Include a call to action.

I’m a big believer in putting calls-to-action on damn near everything.

You have an ideal outcome in mind, so ask for it to happen!

Be explicit and ask for the viewer to call you or email you to book you for their next corporate function. And, this is kind of a no-brainer, but make sure your one sheet has your contact info on it.

7. Get an extra set of eyes on it.

Ideally, you would have a professional designer take a crack at this but sometimes that’s not necessarily feasible. At the very least, put it in front of someone who might not know what you do all that well and get their honest opinion. If they can recite back to you accurately what you do and who you serve AND give you a favorable first impression, then you’re off to a pretty good start.

Speaker one sheets are one of my favorite documents to design. There’s so much opportunity to reflect the speaker’s personality and really enforce a personal brand.

If you’re stuck on where to go with your one sheet, let’s have a conversation. Reach out via phone or email. I’d love to hear from you.