How to pitch to speak at an event (and mistakes to avoid)
Episode 11511th March 2022 • Courageous Content with Janet Murray • Janet Murray
00:00:00 00:09:05

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IMPORTANT: THIS TRANSCRIPT IS AUTOMATICALLY GENERATED. WE GIVE IT A QUICK CHECK THROUGH BUT WE DON’T CORRECT EVERYTHING AS IT’S INTENDED TO HELP YOU FIND PARTS YOU WANT TO LISTEN TO AGAIN - NOT AS AN EXACT TRANSCRIPT. SO THERE MIGHT BE A FEW QUIRKY WORDS/PHRASES HERE!

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One of the hardest things as an event, organizer is balancing quality with equity. And as I joked to someone recently, I think mine are amongst the only business and marketing events where keynotes get paid to speak rather than the other way round. But I'm hyper aware that not everyone has the resources to invest in public speaking training or get public speaking opportunities. Full-stop,

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I'm Janet Murray, I'm a content and online business strategist, and I've run dozens of virtual and in-person events, which means I've booked tons of speakers to in this episode of the courageous content podcast, I share my tips on how to get booked to speak at both virtual and in-person events. A few years back, I invested in public speaking training with a guy called Marcus Sheridan.

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If you haven't heard of him, he's a content marketing expert and author of the book they ask you answer. Now, Marcus speaking style, which is kind of preacher style is not to everyone's taste, but he really knows his stuff. When it comes to public speaking. And prior to doing his training, I thought I was a good speaker as a former school teacher and university lecturer and someone who has done a lot of speaking.

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What I realized is that I was a confident public speaker, but that didn't make me a good speaker. And what I learned in that public speaking training was the difference between someone who can stand up competently and basically speak over a bunch of slides or even talk confidently without notes and someone who can craft a really stylish, polished keynote speech and investing in that public speaking training with Marcus really elevated my own speaking career in the years that followed pre COVID.

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I got booked to speak at some pretty big business and marketing events. You've put a in the UK inbound in Boston TRIBE in Nashville, but of course I am aware that not everybody has the resources to invest in public speaking training. And like I say, get opportunities to speak in public full-stop, which is something I'm very aware of when I'm booking speakers for what my own events at the same time.

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I don't think it's fair on the audience to put someone in a keynote speaking slot who isn't experienced enough to deliver a top notch performance, someone who hasn't made the shift from speaking confidently to a bunch of slides to delivering a keynote speech, because a keynote speech is an experience it's suppose, education and entertainment, and it transforms you. If you've ever watched a really good keynote speech,

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it takes you somewhere else, somewhere. That's someone standing up and talking over their slides and giving very useful information. Can't really rival. So that is the kind of experience that I want to give people who attend my events, both in-person and virtual. And it really is what I strive today. But at the same time, I do want to offer opportunities for people who maybe haven't had the chance to do public speaking training,

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or maybe even had the chance to do much public speaking. At all. One thing I can do is offer opportunities to new or less experienced speakers on shorter, more informal sessions. And that's fine. My spotlight speaking slots at my events, and I'm also really committed to casting my net wide for new talent, rather than rolling out the same old speakers you see at every business and marketing campaign.

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And there's something that I have become increasingly aware of doing in recent years. And it's why I've recently opened a call for speakers for my courageous content live event in November is happening on November the first and second in Newcastle in the UK. And that's 2022. If you're listening in the future. Now this is my annual content planning event. I've been running a concept planning events for a good five years now.

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It's not always being called the same thing, but I've been gathering people together to create a concept plan for the coming year. The last few years, we've had to take it on line due to the pandemic, but I'm crossing my fingers that we will be able to deliver both the live experience this year and also virtual experience for those who want to attend from home.

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So as this is really on my mind at the moment, and I've been writing lots of content for my perspective speakers. I wanted to share with you my tips as someone who's booked a lot of speakers over the years on how to get booked to speak. If you're thinking of applying to speak at my event, creators content live, I will put a link in the show notes,

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but remember the deadline is March the 25th and that's 2022. If you're listening in the future, now I'm aware that what I might say here, it might make me sound a little bit up my backside for want of a better way of putting it. But I've spent years building a relationship with the courageous content community. It's not always being called that, but there's quite a significant core of people in that community.

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Who've been coming to my events for some years and to my mind, that means they deserve the very best content. So if you're looking to apply to speak at courageous content live, or indeed any in-person or online event here are my three top tips. Number one, really take the time to understand the community that the event organizer serves. In my case,

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you can do that by listening to as many episodes of the podcast as you can. And also looking at my social content, my email marketing, and then really think about how you can serve that community rather than just firing off a pitch about something you want to talk about. Because if you do that, you will stand out a mile because that's what most people do.

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They simply fire off a pitch about something they want to talk about as I think they think, or should I say hope will be relevant to their community. They'll be speaking to secondly, and this is really linked to my first point is offered a topic that is a great fit for the community. You're going to be speaking to in my case, that's the courageous content community.

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So if you're pitching for my courageous content live event, for example, have I covered your proposed topic before on the podcast or on my social channels? If not, there's probably a very good reason why, which means no amount of telling me I should cover it is likely to change that instead, really think about what you can offer that combines the topics.

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The event organizer usually covers for that audience, with your own expertise. Hannah, finally, if you're excited about speaking out particular events and you want to be part of that community, go ahead and book your ticket. If you're invited to speak, there's every chance that your ticket will be refunded. And that's certainly what we do for keynote speakers at courageous content live.

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Even if you're not in the position to invest in a ticket, please don't say to the organizer that you'll only be attending. If you're booked to speak seriously as an event organizer, that there is no bigger turnoff than having someone gosh, about how brilliant your event is, how excited they feel about being part of it. Only for them to bridle at the suggestion that they might actually buy a ticket and come along and be part of that community.

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And if that's the motivation behind the pitch to speak at the event, you can generally snip it out a mile off. So I hope those tips are helpful if you're thinking of pitching to speak at either my event, courageous content live, which is happening on November the first and second 2022 in Newcastle. But also if you're thinking about pitching for any virtual event in-person event or even a guest interview on a podcast,

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for example, this podcast is called the courageous content podcast. And I think that positive being courageous with your content is being brave enough to admit that you don't know everything and to listen. And I really think when it comes to pitching for guests, content opportunities, often people just don't do enough listening and they completely miss what podcast hosts or event organizers are looking for and shoot themselves in the foot in the process.

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So I hope that the honest information that I've shared with you in this episode will help you listen more so that if you are pitching yourself or speaking opportunity or any kind of guest content opportunity, because that's basically what speaking is, then you'll come at it from a place of service to others by that and service to yourself, which is unfortunately how many people approach it.

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If you found this podcast interview helpful. If you've got any follow-up questions, then do connect with me on social media. I'm at Jan Murray, UK on most social media platforms.