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Tips how speakers select the right target industry

I received an email from someone this week who inspired me to write this blog post for you. They wrote:

"Kevin, thank you for your book, PAID to SPEAK. It is changing my life. I have just completed chapter 2 for the third time but I need help in picking an industry. I believe my presentation could be relevant to any industry. So what industry would you recommend me exploring first?"

My response:

"Thanks for reaching out. Always great to hear from people who are reading my book! Three crucial recommendations for you.

Number one ... focusing on a particular industry is essential for speakers who are just starting out or wanting to get more paid speaking engagements. If you don't have a target audience, you don't have any audiences. It's like how a cheetah hunts down a gazelle to survive ... the cheetah laser focuses on just one animal. Otherwise, it won't catch anything and it won't survive. So unless a speaker is laser focused, especially when they are starting out, they aren't going to make it long before they get tired and quit. They need to eat and feed a family! I wrote more about this recently in my blog titled, "3 tips to build your speaking business" and highly encourage you to read it.

Number two ... you write the word "relevant" but I think you mean "universal," correct? Having a presentation with universal appeal is significantly different than having a presentation that is relevant for a specific audience. Your presentation "could be" relevant, so it's crucial that you know "how to" make it relevant (see module 2 in the book). This is where your spin-off speaking business will launch you into 6-figures quickly when you do it correctly. For better explanation, I'd highly recommend you read "3 deliverables meeting planners expect."

Most of my keynotes have universal appeal but I craft them to be uniquely relevant whether I am presenting to executives in the financial services industry, an audience of college students, or an audience of human resource managers at a conference. I don't use the same stories or messaging in a college Greek Week keynote that I would use in a conference keynote with the Institute of Internal Auditors. Does that make sense? So I'd encourage you to reflect on which industry you feel your speech can deliver the most value in actionable, relevant tips that also differentiate you. Again, review module 2 and the blogs I wrote (linked above) provide much more detail.

Number three ... know how to find PAID events in a potential industry. Not every industry is a good fit for a professional speaker, so don't focus on an industry that can never afford to pay you. I want you to be making $2,500 per speech out of the gate, not $250. I coach speakers all the time who initially are chasing down industries that simply won't pay much, if anything. I made a presentation about this to a Toastmasters group recently, "How speakers find PAID events," and I'd encourage you to listen and download the handout because I share the two criteria speakers should be looking for to find PAID events and avoid industries that simply can't pay a professional speaking fee. In the recording, I outline a process that I use to vet and select any target industry in order to find events that have budget to pay speakers. I use a college example and two professional associations as examples!

Hope this helps ... I look forward to hearing from you once you finish the book so you can take advantage of your complimentary coaching call. If you'd like my help while you're working through the book to, contact me and we can explore a customized coaching program for you.

~ Kevin"


Other PAID to SPEAK blog posts ... 
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