Do you dream of speaking at an event or workshop? I’m about to give a talk at Payap University as a guest lecturer, and I’m both excited and nervous. In today’s guest post, Amy Lippman is sharing her expertise with those of us who are new to public speaking.
After 5 years as a health coach, Amy Lippmann merged her marketing roots with her passion for wellness by launching her company, Marketing for Health Coaches, where she’s helped thousands of health coaches and nutritionists successfully get clients through speaking, launch online programs, create high-converting websites, and grow their lists. Head on over to get Amy’s Free Proven Outline for a Talk (or Webinar) That Gets You Paying Clients.
These days, most of us are highly focused on online strategies to get clients. Getting clients online is all the buzz and it feels like it’s where we should put all of our attention. So, we write blog posts, make sure we’re posting on social media regularly, create a free opt-in gift, and perfect our website.
These tactics ARE crucial to building an online business, especially if you want to attract an audience beyond your local community.
But here’s the downside: We can get so focused on making our online presence perfect, that we often overlook powerful OFFLINE tactics that can QUICKLY land us new clients and significant revenue.
My favorite “old school” strategy that coaches used to rely on before the heyday of online marketing is public speaking.
When I started health coaching back in 2005, online marketing was a little different. Different as in, it hardly existed aside from terrible banner ads. I did have a website and a monthly newsletter, but I relied on offline marketing to attract clients to my coaching practice – primarily in-person speaking events.
My very first talk was at a local gym. It wasn’t “sexy”. (The talk was in the basement in their group fitness room.) But, it did land me two of my very first clients. I continued to give talks regularly – as many as I could.
Giving talks gave me a consistent flow of clients, and it can do the same for you!
Even if you’ve never given a talk before, or get sweaty palms thinking about it, I’m going to walk you through, step by step, how to give talks that get you clients.
*Note* – Everything that makes an in-person talk a success can be applied to online events, too. Use this post to guide you through creating your talk for a webinar, an online summit, or even a Facebook live video.
Follow these steps to create a winning talk that gets you clients.
Brainstorm Your Perfect Talk Topic
Before you get started, the first thing you need to do is figure out what you’re going to talk about! This shouldn’t be too hard, as you probably have a focus in your business or a signature program that you can pull a topic from.
If you want people to show up for your talk, it’s crucial that your topic taps into your audience’s main pain points and concerns. A general topic like “How to achieve wellness” doesn’t target a specific pain point and won’t attract the right people. You might think about narrowing your topic down to something specific like eating raw foods, but this still isn’t compelling.
Relate your topic back to what your audience is struggling with. What questions are your clients asking you most often? If they struggle with weight and sugar/carb cravings, you could give a talk such as “How to Lose Weight (Even if You Don’t Have Any Willpower).”
A good topic will set your talk up for the following things:
- Answers your target audience’s main pain point
- Sets you up as an expert
- Dispels rumors and myths
- Tells a personal story (yours or a client’s)
- Leads perfectly into your program or services
If you’re still scratching your head about what to talk about, try this.
- Head into your Google analytics
- Go to Behaviour > Site Content > All Pages
- Set the date in the top right corner to the last 90 days (or more)
- Find the blog post in there that has the most page views
Chances are, your top viewed blog post is something your audience really wants to know more about, so this should give you a good idea of what you can talk about. If the top post doesn’t make sense for a talk, look at the second and third most popular posts.
I’ll use myself as an example. When I went into my Google Analytics account, the 3 most popular blog posts over the last 90 days were:
- How to Get Better Client Testimonials
- 3 Ways to Promote Your Upcoming Program
- How to Grow Your List With Every Blog Post
The post on testimonials isn’t ideal for a talk simply because it’s not a large enough topic and doesn’t relate to my audience’s main pain points. But the second post is a perfect topic because I know my audience often asks how to promote and attract people into their programs. This is also a great choice because it leads nicely into our Ready-to-Launch Cleanse Program.
How To Find Speaking Gigs
Once you have your topic nailed down, it’s time to find somewhere to pitch it!
Step 1: Make a list of potential places to pitch
Good places to speak will be determined by the types of people you want to attract. Think about where your audience is hanging out, what stores they shop at, groups they belong to, and where they get information from. This might be a yoga studio, a coworking space, professional women’s groups, or a birthing center, just to name a few.
Start making a list of the types of places you could approach to do a talk, then start narrowing it down. If you want to speak at yoga studios, for example, do a Google search for studios in your area. If you already have a relationship with a place (for example, you attend a yoga studio or have attended a past event with a group), put them at the top of your list as they are most likely to respond to your request.
Step 2: Write an email
Send a short, simple, to the point email to each place you identified in step 1. Much like any other pitch email, you don’t want to overwhelm the person. Keep it simple and make a direct ask. Here’s a simple template:
Dear [first name],
My name is Amy Lippmann. I am a Certified Holistic Health Counselor offering nutrition workshops. I specialize in helping busy, professional women lose weight naturally.
Do you accept outside speakers? My signature talk is called: “How to Conquer Your Sugar Cravings and Take Back Control of your Diet.”
If so, please let me know…
Step 3: Follow up
People are busy, so you may not hear back right away. If you haven’t heard back, send a second email checking in a week later. You might feel like a nag, but sometimes people just need a nudge to answer those emails sitting in their inbox. Some of my most successful talks were with people I had to email several times.
Prepare Your Talk
Once you’ve landed those gigs, it’s time to start prepping your talk!
Developing A Successful Talk
This is where you can get creative! Successful talks have a few things in common, but there is a lot of room for you to inject your spin and personality on things.
To open, you want to let everyone know that they’re in the right place. Bring up a few key pain points that your audience has and turn them into ‘if’ statements. For example, “you’re in the right place if you have tried every online marketing technique under the sun and clients still just aren’t signing up.” This is a way to connect with your audience right away and let them know that you understand their issues.
Next up, let them know what you’ll be covering with a quick agenda or overview. Also be sure to introduce yourself and highlight why you’re qualified to talk about this, or as I like to say “why they should listen to you.”
Now you can get into the meat of your talk! You want to cover 3-5 major teaching points. Make your talk more engaging and compelling by adding stories – personal stories or, better yet, client stories. If you’re sharing a client story, paint a picture of what the client was struggling with. Then share what happened after you started working together.
One question I hear a lot is “how much should I give away in my free talk?” This is a great question, as many coaches and entrepreneurs are nervous if they give everything away, no one will buy their offer. I say, don’t worry about this. The truth is that the more value you give, the more people will be attracted to you.
And, it would be impossible to teach someone everything they need to know in a 45 minute talk on one subject. The content you share will likely be a sliver of what you offer in your coaching. Plus, your audience is more likely to think “wow if her free talk was that valuable, I can’t imagine how good her paid program is!”
I’ve worked with a lot of coaches on developing their talks, as well as delivering hundreds of my own! I compiled that experience into this outline and template that you can download (for free) and adapt to fit your topic. Get my free proven talk outline right here.
Making Your Offer
Once you’ve delivered all that value to your audience, it’s time to tell them exactly how they can take things further with you.
This can often be the hardest part for coaches, because we hate coming across as ‘salesy’. But here’s the thing… if you don’t make an offer you’re actually leaving your audience hanging. They’ve come to your talk because the topic is something they want help with. They wouldn’t have made time to attend your talk if this wasn’t the case. So, instead of feeling salesy, try shifting your mindset to feeling that you’re being of service. By making an invitation into one of your programs, you’re sharing how you can help them.
You’ve just given a lot of value away for free and your ideal clients will be happy to pay for more.
Be sure to tie your offer into what you taught during your talk so that it continues to resonate with the right people. If your talk was about weight loss, your offer should also be focused on weight loss.
Make your offer time limited and have a way for them to sign-up on the spot. Offering bonuses for quick signups is a tactic often used to help get people off the fence and make a quick decision about working with you.
Getting Over Stage Fright
The fear of public speaking is strong for a lot of people, even ambitious entrepreneurs like us. Stage fright is enough to make you stop in your tracks and put the brakes on any kind of speaking engagement – whether in person or online. But if you let your fear win, you’ll never be able to take advantage of this amazing medium for getting clients.
The best way to get over your fear is to be prepared. When you know your stuff, you’re less likely to fumble through your presentation, get tripped up by a technical glitch, or get completely derailed by an audience question.
Once your talk is prepared, practice presenting the talk. You might feel silly, but practicing out loud is essential for being prepared. If you can, ask a friend or partner if you can practice in front of them and get some feedback.
I always practice my talks at least once. And when I was new health coach, I practiced each talk multiple times – until I got really comfortable with the content and flow.
You can prepare yourself for those tough audience questions by guessing what they’ll be ahead of time. Go through your talk and at each stage ask yourself “if I were new to this subject, would I get this? What else would I want to know right now?” If you can anticipate what the questions will be, you’re less likely to get thrown when a question comes up in your actual presentation. If you practice in front of friend or family member, ask them to write down any questions that come up.
The first time I have a talk (the one in the basement of the gym), I was really nervous. My voice was shaking and I questioned whether the content of my talk was interesting and helpful. But at the end, I got great feedback AND landed two new clients.
Being a bit more of an introvert, I continued to be nervous the first several times I spoke, but the more I did it, the better I got and the more at ease I became!
Promote Your Talk
In the days and weeks leading up to your talk, it’s time to crank up that promotion!
It is super important to work with groups and venues that are going to promote your talk. If you’re the only one promoting, you’re not able to reach beyond the people who already know you. We want your talks to give you exposure to a broader audience.
Before you line up your talk, make sure that your host is willing to promote it.
Just because your host will be doing the promotion doesn’t mean you don’t need to put in any work, though. You should approach the talk as a joint partnership, not a one-sided deal – you are, after all, both going to benefit from this event.
So make it easy for your host to promote by:
- Providing them with flyers they can post and hand out.
- Giving them pre-written emails they can send out to their list to promote the talk.
- Writing a few social media posts and graphics they can use
Remember, the host is likely very busy and your talk is likely not their top priority. And while they may have the best of intentions for promoting the talk, they likely don’t have a lot of time and energy to invest. By handing them everything they need, it gives you more of a guarantee that they’ll do a great job of promoting the event
While the emphasis should be on attracting a new audience of people who don’t yet know you, you can also promote your event to your existing audience by posting on your social media, your website, and send an email to your list. Focus on getting people to share with their networks with messages like “know anyone in the Bay Area keen on learning about cutting sugar? Let them know about this event coming up…”. Your audience will see this and think “I know EXACTLY who could use this!”, driving a highly targeted potential client your way. Win!
Plus, talks and speaking gigs tend to increase your reputation as an expert in a field, so sharing your event and even including it on your website can boost your credibility.
Have you spoken at an event or do you plan to? Leave a comment below and let us know your plans to grow your coaching business as a speaker.