"Always think ahead about who will comprise your audience. Your next speaking referral might depend on it."
I recently keynoted for a football training camp for middle schoolers. To kick off each morning of the camp, the event organizers brought in a speaker to kick-start the day and motivate the ~750 student athletes.
On the day I was presenting, parents of the athletes were also invited to my keynote presentation. So that meant if ~750 student athletes were going to be in the audience, add another 750 parents (minimum) to be there as well. And in all actuality, the meeting planner told me to expect 2,000 total.
Due to how I customize each speech (click here to read a recent blog on how I customize), I knew this ahead of time and tailored my speech not just for the students, but also for the parents. I had certain portions where I spoke directly to the parents.
There are numerous reasons I didn't want to ignore or overlook the parents in the audience:
1. They could reinforce my content to their child = ripple effect impact,
2. Why not include them?
3. I didn't think other speakers would think to include the parents, so by doing so my speech would differentiate itself and stand out.
4. The parents were the ones who would refer me for future speaking opportunities, not the students.
The most important point to take away from this blog is that a speaker must always know who will be in the audience. Then plan accordingly.
As a result of me engaging the parents, and having a book signing afterward, numerous parents approached me afterward with inquiries for me to speak at their company. To date, in just one week, nearly a dozen inquiries have come my way directly. Because I collected email addresses during the book signing and added them to my email newsletter, I expect more inquiries in the future.
So fellow speakers ... asking who will be in the audience needs to be a question during one of your pre-event customization calls. If you don't have a customization process, then read Part I and II of my customization process here.
Here's another example of how I apply this strategy ... when I speak at conferences, I intentionally address the vendors and sponsors during my speech. They love it because it's extra exposure for them. I visit their vendor/sponsor tables in advance and I tell them I'll be giving them a SHOUT OUT during my keynote. By doing this, I strive to build relationships with vendors and sponsors who have invested thousands of dollars to be at the event.
I never discount vendors and sponsors being able to refer me either. Their companies likely have training events and conferences who bring in speakers. So having them in my speech (which usually they don't attend because it's their breaktime!) is an excellent way for me to maximize my exposure to them.
Contact me if I can help you develop your customization process. See below.
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In addition to my own speaking business, I have a passion for helping and coaching speakers develop their own. Whether it's in crafting a speech, identifying target groups who can pay, and/or how to get the speaking gig itself, I can help. I've keynoted over 1,150 presentations in practically every industry you can imagine. My book, PAID to SPEAK, outlines a proven model for speakers. If you are serious about becoming a professional speaker, contact me for a free consultation. I don't want you to flounder like I did and be frustrated. If you're not a subscriber to these speaker articles, submit your email today!
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