You have made it to a point in your professional career that everyone wants to hear from you, learn from you, lean into your superpower, and the requests start to fill your inbox to be a speaker on various platforms. There are so many reasons to say, yes, to grace the stage to be seen as an authoritarian, give your career recognizable star power, connect with your target audience, increase networking opportunities, and more. But how do you leverage the opportunity as a speaker to achieve ultimate success for you and your brand.
You receive the opportunity to share your knowledge on stage! The excitement becomes overwhelming but then becomes the point of “What do I get out of this?!” Depending on the platform, you may very well get paid handsomely for a 30-minute to 1-hour presentation. But what is involved as your reward is totally up to you. Is speaking your main source of revenue? Are you a top-tier speaker in the eyes of the conference producer? Or do you have a miraculous resume that demands financial compensation? The amount you are compensated for depends on the perceived value you feel for yourself to demand of your excellence that is backed by sure evidence of performance.
But what if you are approached to speak, and there is no financial compensation? First, let’s think about it from the conference producer’s perspective. If they are a boutique (small-scale) conference, they are usually not financially supported and rely heavily on ticket sales, then they are looking to have speakers to sponsor themselves to a degree. You’re probably gasping air right now but hold tight, do understand they are still making a financial commitment to have you speak. At The Signature C.E.O. Conference (TSCEO), we do not provide an honorarium for speakers but there is a substantial monetary investment into each speaker exclusive of an honorarium. At minimum $2000 (based on the location this can be higher) is invested in each speaker by us, the conference organizer. We host a 3-day conference and here is a breakdown of the financial investment for our speakers:
So, although you are not receiving an honorarium, a conference organizer is investing in you to be a participant of their experience.
Now, let’s get creative at earning financial dollars back into your wallet beyond the honorarium from the conference organizer!
CREATE THE INVESTMENT FOR YOURSELF
I do believe that at minimum, any conference organizer should be responsible for your travel, hotel accommodation, and meals during the conference. You agree to speak and ready to engage but you want to be creative to gain some type of financial return on investment for participating. This is when self-preparation and full engagement is key to yielding this type of ROI.
I am a firm believer that small-boutique style conferences are worth their weight in gold even when they do not pay a speaker honorarium…why? Boutique conferences provide higher potential than large scale conferences for you to have physical contact and high-level engagement of every single person in the room – that is from the attendees to your peers (other speakers). Giving you the opportunity for individuals to not only hear your wisdom from the stage but to authentically get to know you. This breaks down most barriers of doubt whether they (your audience) should continue to support your platform, become a customer of your product and/or services, gain followers, create a new community of support, and much more. And boy if you are selling a product/service, especially if you offer tiered pricing, you can sell across all levels of your tiered structure without really selling because your audience is engaging with you one-to-one. Large scale conferences limit the scale of reach and high level of engagement with your audience; you have the opportunity to “possibly” sell an entry level service because you were not able to fully engage over the course of the conference with people in the room – there is no authentic engagement.
So, be prepared and lean into relationship selling to create deeper connections!
This year at TSCEO, I had one speaker to walk away with (3) clients to purchase their higher-level offerings valued at $5000 each; $15K was earned from this person speaking at TSCEO! This speaker fully embraced the conference and made themselves available to build relationships with others in the room; plus, they were a dynamic speaker!
THE GIFT THAT KEEPS ON GIVING!
Once you commit to speaking at a conference, be sure to fully support the platform and be a team player. You become more than just a speaker, you become a part of the brand of the conference so you should be out their supporting…it is not just great for the conference but also for you as a brand to let your audience know that you are taking your personal brand to the next level as an authoritarian in your field.
As a conference organizer for 8+ years, I get numerous emails and phone calls from other conference organizers asking about individuals I have had on my platform. If anyone knows me, I am very candid and honest, so I give the review of my speakers honestly to others. Small-scale conferences are the hidden gems to bigger platforms!
An organized conference organizer will provide you with a wealth of information to prepare you for their event. However, there are some things you can do on your own to be more prepared for the occasion.
Stay tuned for Part 2 as I give insight into speaking at large-scale conference.