Are you an expert in something? Do you have helpful information you would like to share, but lack an audience?
Perhaps you would like to inform people about a topic you care about, or widen your experience and reputation as an instructor by speaking on a topic of expertise? Here are a few steps you can take to get started, and a path you can follow to build up momentum and increase your demand and opportunities as a speaker.
1. If you have anxiety about speaking in public or don’t have much experience, join www.Toastmasters.org or other groups where they allow you to practice. Then join a professional group or go to Meetup.com and find a local group (or groups) that are relevant to your topic (or topics) of expertise. There are a lot of hobby, professional and knowledge-based interest groups in most cities. Start going to their group events, and get to know their members. (If there are no groups relevant to your expertise in your city, start one.)
2. Ask one of the Meetup.com groups if you can give a presentation at one of their events. You should have an idea of what you are going to talk about before you ask, and why the theme is relevant. You can start practicing with shorter presentations and hold a discussion, then get feedback from the members before you move up to longer times.
3. Learn to use Powerpoint, and put together a slide deck around your topic. Look at examples and get help if you’re not good at creating slides. Be sure to save some time for questions and answers (Q&A) at the end of the presentation. (A good rule of thumb is to allocate 2/3 of the total time for the actual presentation of the slides and 1/3 for the Q&A.) It’s important to practice Q&A as well, so you can give helpful answers to questions from the audience and gain experience leading a discussion.
4. When you’re ready to give a 45 minute to one hour presentation (including Q&A), post your presentation as a free class on www.Lrngo.com. Once you have a date posted on the calendar of one of the Meetup groups to present, create a profile on www.Lrngo.com and then post a class with the same title and theme as your presentation. Put a link from your Lrngo class to the Meetup group event listing, and let people know they have to sign up through the Meetup group to go. (If you are not using Meetup.com, you can have them sign up directly through Lrngo.) Listing your presentation as a free class lets people know they should go because there is something they can learn from you.
5. Then post on Craigslist, LinkedIn, Google+, Twitter and everywhere else you can find with a link back to your class on Lrngo. Then create a Facebok page for the event with a link back to your Lrngo class or Lrngo profile. This kind of link building around an event is favored by Google, and will increase traffic to your event and help you build up an online history as a presenter.
After a few of these public speaking events, guess what? You are a presenter with a track record both online and off, and with the links and traffic to prove it. Our next blog will talk about the final five steps to solidify your position as an expert and increase your presence as a public speaker.