It Happened Quite Innocently

author/source: Cheri D. Andrews, Esq. 

It happened quite innocently.   

An ask here and there for which I offered an unqualified YES!

Then, as I was reviewing my calendar, I discovered that I had agreed to THREE speaking engagements in a single week!

I'm thrilled for the opportunities, but I always forget how much advance preparation they take. And how, no matter how prepared I feel, I still getit-happened-quite-innocentlybutterflies going into a speaking engagement. Especially when it is for a group where I know most of the people!  Anyone else feel this way?

As a small business owner, speaking engagements are a fantastic way to expand upon what you do, who you serve, and your unique value proposition, beyond the limitations of your thirty second introduction.

A speaking engagement provides a platform to enhance your brand, allows you to showcase your authority and skill in your unique zone of genius, and is a vehicle for connecting with potential clients. When you speak, you are adding a face and a voice to your brand. This human touch fosters trust and makes your business more relatable to your target audience. Sharing your insights, experiences, and expertise allows your audience to get a firsthand view of exactly what you have to offer. When the audience experiences your knowledge and expertise, they begin to view you as a trusted source for your products or services. And a speaking engagement can extend your reach well beyond your immediate network. When you speak on someone else’s platform, it exposes you to their entire audience.

And while it may sound lofty, speaking "engagements" can be as simple as presenting to your networking group, guesting on a podcast, or teaching it-happened-quite-innocentlya workshop or webinar. It doesn't have to be on a stage in front of hundreds or thousands - although that would certainly be an awesome opportunity!

If you feel like you don't have the skills or are too afraid to present, think about this quote:

"The way you overcome shyness is to become so wrapped up in something that you forget to be afraid." - Lady Bird Johnson

You know, overcoming shyness or fear when it comes to public speaking can be quite a challenge, right? But, if you are speaking about what you are passionate about, it is just like having a conversation with a friend who wants to learn more. That's what a speaking engagement is at its core - just a conversation. Use this game-changing mindset shift – instead of pressuring yourself to be “perfect” and imagining the audience judging your every word, picture them as eager learners, just like the people you talk to every day. You are simply sharing your knowledge and experiences with friends, colleagues, or would-be clients. With this approach, the whole experience is more down-to-earth and enjoyable for both you and the audience. So, relax and be yourself. You got this!

Do you use speaking engagements as part of your marketing strategy? If you do, how do you find them?

Photo credits @Pexels : Mikhail Nilov @dreamwood.commercial / Cottonbro Studio @cottonbro / Pavel Danilyuk @rocketmann_team