If I were to start today from scratch building my online business through speaking there are FIVE core things I’d focus on and today I’m sharing them with you. So whether you’re just getting started with crafting your message or you’re looking to be more effective when you show up— today's episode will help you:
And be sure to check out the show notes to swipe my DM pitch script to book your next guest speaking gig or podcast.
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Well, hey, friend, welcome back to a new episode. There's only four months left in the year. So today's topic is one, I think that's gonna give you a good kick in the pants and help you get focused to make the most out of the time you have left in 2022. I've been, quite frankly, staring at my computer screen for the last 20 minutes. The topic that I had chosen for today's episode, it just wasn't resonated for me. And I had this gut feeling that if it wasn't really singing to me, it wasn't going to do so for you.
So I have been sitting here, drinking my coffee, staring at my Instacart app because I'm waiting for my groceries to get here, and I was mulling over what is it that I really need to share with you today, and I've been thinking about a lot of things lately. If you've been following along the show, you know that we are going through some really big changes in my company. I have a new business partner as we've launched a new brand The speaker Co. Thr timed this episode airing, it's about a month into this new partnership, which is so friggin exciting. We have conquered the world over the last 30 days which I still cannot believe given that my kids have been home all summer.
So I was just thinking, like okay, what do I want to talk about? I know I want to do an episode to talk about why I made the decision to take my sole proprietor LLC and move it into a partnership and bring onboard a partner. I know I want to do an episode to talk about why I decided to sunset my program and launch a new program in this new company. Speaking of children being home, it is a Sunday and they just came in and barged in wondering to know what's for breakfast mom. Anyways, I knew I wanted to do an episode for you to talk about some of these things but I wasn't quite sure how I wanted to phrase it. There's a lot of big changes happening and I thought about okay, let's do an episode around why it's okay to pivot, why it's okay to evolve. And I've talked about on the show before and I know I will talk about these things again, and I am going to have Emily, my new business partner on the show to talk about some of our reasons for why we decided to do this, why now. But what came to me around, I think the thing that's really relevant to you right now is the big question of what would I do if I were starting back over related to speaking? And I bring this up because it's actually in real time. What I'm doing right now is the approach that I'm taking for marketing in our new company. What I'm going to teach you today is in real time what I am doing to bring in more leads and drive more traffic to sell our upcoming programs, so stay tuned for that debrief.
But I want to share with you because here's the reality. I don't know if you've noticed this, but i i noticed online there is a lot of educators that was dumb. I know you notice this right there's like flooded with coaches and educators online that you feel like you have to buy every freaking program under the sun. But the complex thing that I really have started paying attention to is there is a lot of businesses that have very, very, very, large businesses that maybe were started a decade plus ago or years ago and what they're teaching, you can't help but wonder, does that really work today? Do those tactics and strategies work today? And what we start doing is we start paying attention to all these tactics and strategies and wondering what should we focus on and we stop questioning what's right for our phase of business.
So what I want to do today is pull your attention to exactly where you are in your business right now, maybe you listen to the show and you are just getting started building your brand online, or maybe you're here that you have an online business, you have a course or a coaching program that you've been selling, and you're starting to get traction and you're ready to start getting your message out to more people, maybe you're way more advanced along and you have a very successful program and you've started speaking on stages but you really want to kind of make things click and be magical on a stage and start getting paid to speak. Wherever it is that you are that you probably have the question, how can I be the most effective bringing my message to bigger stages? And today, what I want to speak to is how you can go about being strategic with your time when it comes to speaking on stages. I'm sure you have noticed there are a lot of podcasts, there's a lot of virtual summits, there are now starting to be a lot more live events, shout out to our live event, the Boujee Biz retreat that's coming in October. Live events are happening, conferences are starting to happen, people are looking for guest speakers. There are opportunities to speak on stages available to you right now. But before you jump out and start saying yes to everything, I want you to take ownership of your time, of your energy and make sure that you're aligning those efforts to things that are actually going to move you towards your business goals.
So today, what I'm going to do is I'm going to share with you the five things that I would focus on, that I am focusing on, as I lead into my new brand, my new business, and these are the things that I would recommend that you do in your business in this order to ensure that you maximize your time and energy when it comes to speaking on stages or being a guest inside other people's programs. So we're gonna make this episode relatively short, because I'm going to hammer this out and I'm gonna put all of this in a blog post for you, so you can grab the link in the show notes to go over and read this. You can really let it stew. But this is what I want you focused on because here's the thing. I've used this phrase many times on the episode, but I need to say it again. When it comes to building your business, I want you to prioritize profit over profitability. Profit over profitability. I want you to prioritize impact over income. Now we were going to do both of those things.
But what I want you focused on is it isn't about you being the person that's speaking on stages every single week. It's not about you sharing all those as seen on how whatever stickers on Instagram. I don't want you worrying about being the “it” person who is everywhere. I want you to be the one person who is exactly where they need to be for your person to hear your message. And I know that it can feel a little less sexy to think about reaching less people, but all day long, I would rather speak to a room of 100 of my perfect, perfect match clients that I know I can effectively help over than 10,000 randos in an auditorium, and that's the thing. Like I mean, here's the thing, if I were getting paid to speak to 1000 people in a random auditorium if they're paying me $30,000,hell yeah, I'd take it. But chances are, you're not getting paid $30,000 or even $10,000 for one of your keynotes at this point in your career.
So what we need to focus on is making sure that your message gets in front of the right people, which perfectly brings me to step number one where I would prioritize and where I am prioritizing my effort, first and foremost, is number one, clarify your audience and your speaking goals. Just like with any new project or marketing strategy in your business, you have to start with the end in mind. Where are you going? Who are you going with? If you don't take time to set the GPS in what you want out of speaking in your business ie., are you trying to grow your revenue? Are you trying to grow your email list? Are you trying to get your experience so that you don't sweat your ass off on stage? Are you trying to build your credibility or authority status? Are you looking to grow your email list? Are you wanting more exposure for your brand? Here's the thing until you get really clear on what your goals are related to speaking that are not just get bigger and grow my brand, get more followers, but get really specific, you're going to find yourself doing a lot more work with results that don't hlow where you want them to, not to mention, you're going to have more time away from your family and away from the things in your business that you could be working on that are maybe fun and fueling and revenue generate.
So what I want you to do is get really focused on what are your goals related to this? Are you doing it because some person with a podcast might told you that speaking is important? Are you doing it because you know, you want to drive more leads in your business, or you know you want to become more confident in articulating the value proposition of your offer? So you need to get out there talking about it more and more and more. That's confidence. What are your specific speaking goals? And with that, clarify who is the person that you're talking to? Now I know a lot of people talk about the ideal customer avatar. We've talked on the show before I roll my eyes. I hate the idea of calling it an avatar. But what we have to get clear on is I understand. I get it, my friend. I know what you do can really help a lot of people, and arguably a lot of people what they teach, it can help everyone. But I mean, here's the thing, anybody would benefit from better public speaking skills, right? But having that general nature of our topic, of our who we can help, it's doing us a disservice.
I want you to think about this. I was reading about something on Instagram the other day or an article from an Instagram coach. And they were talking about when you have hooks that use generic language, people keep scrolling because generic does not catch eyes. Technically, it reaches more people but more people just skim right past it. When you use very specific language, you raise your hand. This is why, okay, I'm gonna date myself here. You know, like, okay, maybe it's not dating myself because this is still important. But Cosmo quizzes, like, you know what I'm talking about Cosmopolitan magazine? You know, before the internet existed, how we all lived our lives and magazines, Cosmo style quizzes, like you wanted to know what kind of Bath and Bodyworks soap you were? I have no idea why that was the thing that came up. But we wanted to like specifically when we call things out, or what kind of mom we are, what kind of whatever we are like? When somebody says, hey, they call you out specifically, and you raise your hand, oh, my gosh, that's me. It's different.
So what I want you thinking about is, who is the person that you really are helping? Now, I know you already are working on this for your business or have done a lot of work on this for your business. But I want you to think about this in a slightly different way. When it comes to sharing your message on stages, I want you to think about a different way to clarify your audience. Instead of going I work with women who are moms who have businesses. Sure, that's important. But what I want you to call attention to is the the readiness factor of someone is with your topic, the awareness factor, or the advancement factor. And what I mean by that is, so often we put people in a box. So let me use myself as an example here. I could easily say I work with entrepreneurs and help them leverage speaking to grow their online business, which is exactly what I do. But if I were to put all entrepreneurs in one box, what would happen is when I go to speak to them, I would, the people that are more advanced, I would have them rolling their eyes and going, Oh, this is so basic, with people that are so basic, and then going oh my gosh, I'm not ready for this yet.
What I do instead, did you notice what I did at the top of this episode? I said, so whether you are an entrepreneur just getting started speaking on stages, or maybe you already have a proven offer that you're excited to take it to the next level by getting more visibility, or maybe you're already out there on stages, but you want to be more effective, more charismatic, to actually get results and get paid. Boom, I just called out three different awareness levels slash experience levels of my audience that I got really clear around who is in the room. Now in this case, it's a virtual room, right? It's the world of the room, hello world. But what I want you to think about start clarifying your audience, stop putting them in one giant bucket and start thinking about that your audience is sophisticated. Your audience is sophisticated. How might that serve you when it comes to what you share when you're speaking? That's the first place I would get clear on. I would start thinking about how can I treat my audience like the sophisticated rockstars they are and stop treating them like they're all just one thing, right? So, I'm gonna stop going off on that tangent, but that's where I would start number one is get clear around who I'm serving, what their experience level is, and specifically what my speaking goals are.
Number two, I would focus on choosing a topic that resonates. Okay, so now that we know who we serve and maybe some different experience levels, what we want to do is choose a topic that's going to resonate with them. Now, considering that the topic of your talk, it's kind of like a first date. You want to make a good first impression with the audience without coming across as desperate. You want to make your topic is specific. And remember, it isn't a sales pitch to educate people on your business. This is really clear. This is not a sales pitch to educate people on your business. This is one of the big mistakes I see so many entrepreneurs make is they try to explain all of these things about their niche in their talk. It's not what it is. Your talk isn't your business. You want to choose one main idea that creates interest. What do people get light, like what do they light up about when you talk with them? You want to find the overlap between your expertise and what they're really interested in what they want. And then fingers crossed, you'll get a second date.
So what I want you to think about the analogy I always used with my clients is think about your signature talk is your front porch where you're inviting people into your sun porch out front. You're not taking them on a whole tour of your house. This is not here are all my services and my business. Here's why I started my business, there's all these different things. Well, here's my junk drawer, like you're not doing all that. You're just choosing one thing to sit on the front porch and sip some sweet tea. You need to focus on choosing a topic that resonates. Now, one of the big mistakes, another big mistake that I see is people get so hung up trying to figure out what the perfect topic is. And in fact, I see a lot of marketing around choosing the perfect topic. I don't want you to get caught up with that. If I were starting all over again, which I sort of pseudo am doing, just choose a topic that resonates, just choose a topic. Don't worry about it being the perfect topic. The chances are in a year from now you're going to learn more and you're going to make it better, so just choose a freaking topic that resonates which leads me to point number three.
Create one talk. Create one talk. We call that in our business, a signature talk. Create one specific talk filled with real transformation. I want you to focus on creating a talk that's not going to overwhelm your audience. As you design your signature talk, remember that your job isn't just to teach, unless you're a trainer which I do, specifically, have trainers in my audience but your job isn't just to teach. People love tangible, actionable strategies. But if you come at them with a firehose of all these tactics and strategies and all this how to content, you're going to overwhelm them into indecisiveness. So what I want you to think about is, how can you simplify your signature talk into two to three key areas and focus on creating context which is why they should care? You cannot assume that your audience understands the bigger picture.
So when you create context, oh my gosh, it's one of the most powerful things and that's how people start to see you more as a credible authority and thought leader. So create one signature talk because here's the challenge. If you go out and start creating, let's say four different talks or you choose topics based around what people asked you to speak on. So let's say a virtual summit, somebody says, hey, can you talk around selling in your copy? Or hey, can you talk about creating stories in your emails? Or somebody else asked you, hey, can we talk about how to create captivating subject lines? In this scenario, we're going to pretend you're a copywriter. All of those things if you were a copywriter, I know that you can do with competence and you can say, yes, I can speak on all of those things. The challenge is, if you continue to speak on different topics over and over and over and you keep re imagining the wheel, you're never gonna get good at one thing. You're not going to know which analogies or which teaching points really land well for your audience. And quite frankly, what is the most effective teaching parts that actually get you the results you want, so you need to create one signature talk and hone in on that you actually can measure the outcomes and the effectiveness and get good at it.
The number four where you're going to focus next is you're going to target the right stages and pitch them like a pro. This is not the field of dreams. If you build it, even if it's the best damn product in the world, they're mostly not going to just come. I talk a lot on the show about magnetic speaking. And yes, when you get really good at speaking opportunities come your way but not right at the start. It's going to take a hot second. You've got to find opportunities and you have to get creative searching for where your ideal audience spends their time. I want you to consider virtual stages like digital summits as I mentioned before, guest speaking in memberships, masterminds might be a really great perfect fit for you depending on what it is that you ultimately and who you serve. Podcasts can be a really great way for you to start testing out your main messaging points in your signature talk.
What I want you to think about is finding those stage opportunities, I don't want you to get overwhelmed going, oh my gosh, where are all the different places. I don't want you to build this giant, big pitch list. It is just going to overwhelm you. So here's my tip, if I were starting back over again targeting the right stages, I would start with my circle of people that I know, and you might be going well, Heather, if you're starting back over again, you would know anyone and that is true, friend.
So here's what I'm gonna recommend. I want you to focus on targeting aligned stages, but also building strategic relationships, building strategic relationships. I want you to pay attention to who the influencers are in your industry, and I don't want you to focus on the ones that are the super giant, big names. Okay, you know, when celebrities have they have like A list celebrities, B list celebrity, C list celebrities, and then you don't really hear anything beyond that. It's like D list. I think it's like the people on Lifetime. No offense to them. It's just they're not in movies, like on the big screen. I want you to start thinking about in your industry, there is a same thing. And I'm so sorry, if this is offensive and saying that some of us are A player, some of us are B players, some of us are C players. Note, I am definitely not an A player in my industry. I'm probably going to be in like that E category. But the reality is, there are like when you look at influence, there are some people that have much larger reach and influence. It's just how it is, right? No good, bad, or indifferent. It's just how it is.
So what I want you thinking about is, are there some people that are maybe C celebrity status, that you can start learning from, building relationships from, networking with because if you can build relationships with people of influence, your opportunities to get on stages first wide open, just like how we all know, when it came to networking and building our careers and getting jobs, it was all about who you know, I think finding stages is a lot like that. And sure you can cold pitch stages, you can cold pitch podcast but I here's the thing, that's not where I would start because cold pitching y'all you're gonna get rejections. And that is the reality of how it happens and yes, there's a ton of episodes here on the podcast where I teach about pitching.
But if I were starting back over again, where I would focus was building my confidence that I could do it, I would get myself on some stages and start building up that my own competence that I can do this. I know my message, oh, I can see how people interact with me here. So I would start with some, like slow softball pitches before trying to make it to the big leagues. Start by building relationships out and finding things that are a little easier to get your butt on. Yes, prioritize getting in front of you're aligned, perfect for you audiences but don't be so precious with it. Not every opportunity has to be perfect right at the beginning.
What I want you to think about if you go back to number one, which was getting clear on your speaking goals in your audience, if part of your speaking goals is to get more comfortable with your message, to test out how your message is landing, does your message actually convert in, like, you need to get some comfort being on stages. Now, I'm not telling you to go speak at the YMCA if your target audience is women entrepreneurs, like I'm not saying just go out and do a bunch of free speaking gigs to get street cred. I am all not about that like that as a big fat waste of time, just do a bunch of speaking opportunities with randos to get experience. It's not what I'm saying here. What I'm saying is you can be choosy, but you can be choosy and this is gonna sound weird, but selfish. And what I mean by that is sometimes you're saying yes to the stage, because you're like, oh, this is going to give me good experience practicing my webcam, or this is going to give me really good experience telling the story that I've never told before. Be selfish in a way that it's going to build your own competence so you can better serve your ideal person.
So this is where I'm going to give you a little bit of encouragement here that you don't need to stay at that phase of doing free talks or just speaking to say yes to whoever asks you, you don't have to do that. Okay, I heard recently a really big name that said if she was starting back over again, she would say yes to everything. I don't agree with that. If I were starting back over again, which is what this is all about, I would not say yes to everything. I'll tell you point blank, I said yes to quite a few virtual summits in the beginning of my business and let me tell you how that went. I felt so terrible because y'all I am not the best emailer. I wasn't always consistent with my email. And when you do virtual summits, they're gonna ask you to commit to emails and I'm terrible at committing to emails. I'm terrible doing emails in my own list even though I'm very consistent now but I struggled with that a lot. And I was like, oh crap, I have to email my list and then it just got to be this whole thing and I just felt bad about it and sometimes I forget to do it. It was just, wasn't a good fit and it was because I was saying yes because it was opportunities and even though those opportunities were actually my ideal client, it felt heavy to me.
What I want you thinking about is choose the opportunities wisely but also have ladoo opportunities that are going to be fun for you, that are going to propel you forward. It can make you uncomfortable because it's going to be getting on stages, but make sure you're propelling forward with that discomfort. Okay, I really packed a lot in that one but number four was around choosing aligned stages. And I say aligned means aligned your audience and or your speaking goals, aligned to what we talked about number one and ensure that you're building strategic relationships because it's who you know it's going to get you in more rooms. I'm going to say a note here real quick. In the show notes, I'll actually add in a script for you if you would like, if you're looking to pitch some stages, I have something called my adjacent pitch method. We'll put those in the show notes for you. You don't need to do an opt in or anything, you can just grab it on the blog post where we right this. My adjacent pitch script is something that you can use to pitch those relationships around who they know that can get you in the room,. that allows you to pitch without getting that cold rejection because you're not actually pitching them, you're pitching someone they know, so we'll put that in the show notes.
Now, let's get into number five. If I were starting back over which I pseudo kind of am a little bit here, what would I focus on when it came to speaking, this one is a non negotiable for me so hear me loud and clear. This one is the most important. If I were starting all over, leveraging speaking to build my online business, I would do this thing. Focus on practicing my delivery skills every single day. Focus on improving my delivery skills every single day. Here's the thing, once you book a talk, yes, you have to start preparing to nail your talk,and you want to be practicing that talk over and over again. You're going to set aside time to practice what you'll say and how you'll say it whether your body language, hand gestures, tone, they all matter. And if you're going to be offering an opt in to capture email addresses, you're going to want to incorporate that too and not just as an afterthought at the end. So just side note, let's do a shout out, I have that free resource for you, our 19 magnetic phrases to leverage on stages to make your call to action really sexy and irresistible to get people running to your offer, or your most likely your lead magnet for your podcast or whatever you are promoting. So if you want to get your hands on that, we'll have the link in the show notes. It's the speakerco.com/magnet, so you can do that, but you I want you to think about do not discount the value of practicing.
Now, one of the things I often hear from people is I don't have a talk down yet. I can't practice until I have a talk down and Heather, you said this is step number five, so shouldn't I do all those other things first? And yes, I want you to practice once you have a talk done and I'm gonna give you two tips here. One, when you practice your talk, you do not always have to start from start to finish. And I actually would say it's going to be a disservice because what's going to happen is you're going to start over and over and over and over and over again and you're usually going to run a time,so the thing that you practice is always the start and then you don't practice the finish and then your call to action sucks. No offense, but that's what happens, or you're gonna get rocky with different transitions. So here's my like, my pro tip for you is, when you practice an actual talk, practice it in sections and don't always start at the beginning and start in the middle, start at your close, start somewhere else. Practice it in little pods of your talk because then you'll get more comfortable with the different pieces and you're more likely to practice all of the pieces than just the beginning.
Tip number two, practice other things that are not your talk. The best thing that I did for myself when I started my online business with me to date with myself and my webcam every single day. What I did every day for 10 minutes, I turned that damn webcam on and I stared at it and I talked to it. And you might think like okay, what did you say? Oh my gosh, it was the most random like embarrassing cringy things ever. It literally started like this. It was like, hello, this is awkward. Why does my eyebrow move in that way on camera? What happens when I moved my hand like this? And I would be talking really weirdly robotically like that for a second because it was frickin awkward, and then I would notice myself going into okay, a little bit more of a okay, what happens when I do this? Okay, what happens when I turn my head like this? Okay, that angle is weird. What happens if I move my webcam? So what I was doing at the beginning was I actually was doing more of like a producer or a film, videographer, whatever director person, whatever that role would be a cinematographer. I was like moving the camera and actually moving myself and moving stuff in my set to see what looked best on camera. And as I did it, I talked through what I was doing to start getting comfortable, and also so when I'd go back and look at the footage and see what lighting worked well, I had the narration to tell me what I had done to produce that good lighting or that good set.
Every day for 10 minutes, I would start with that and for the first week, it was highly cringy and it was just that frickin awkward. And then what I did next was I started adding on added like asking myself questions. And I would do questions like, okay, what would you recommend how I'm helping someone become less awkward with their body language on stage. And I would fumble my way through the answer until I got my rhythm. I would do episode number two of the show, how to articulate your thoughts clearly so others can understand you. I teach you the word vomit exercise. We'll link to that episode here in the show notes. And by the way, you can hear me speak probably less smoothly and confidently as I do right now an almost 170 episodes into the show. But I would do that every single day in front of that camera, I would start getting comfortable. And I would do that I was trying to build my confidence on camera to do it in front of a camera. But I also would do that while I was driving, not with a camera. I would do an audio app on my phone, or if I was on a walk and I need to talk through something, I would say it out loud.
So here's this really big thing for you, my friend. If you want to start growing speaking in your business, if you want to start getting more exposure to your brand and be more effective with that exposure, we have to be really good at our delivery skills and that just doesn't impromptu happen. People are not born as magical communicators, they are groomed, and you are the one that has to do the grooming. You have to do the practice. It is skill that you must master. So I'm highly going to encourage you to start thinking and acting like a speaker now by practicing every single day. Remember that when you show up to a stage, you're there for the audience and when you're thinking about them, you'll forget about your nerves. So you're gonna forget about how did I say it right, did I get it right, did I land that thing? You're just going to be focused on them. And that is, I think the best approach to take and I think if you follow a lot of the things that I talked about today, it's really going to get you a lot farther and and more effective with your speaking goals.
So let's do a real recap real quick. If I was starting back over building my brand which fun fact I gotta add, what would I focus on in leveraging speaking of visibility to grow my online business. Number one, get clear on who my audience that I'll be speaking to is and where they're at with their experience and my speaking goals, what do I want speaking to do for my business. Number two, I would choose a topic that resonates. Number three, I would create a swan signature talk and not be so focused on having it be the biggest talk of all time, the most perfect top. Just pick one freaking talk with actionable content without overwhelm. Number four, I would pick our target aligned stages and focus on building strategic relationships. And number five, I would focus on improving my delivery skills every single day.
That's what I'm working on right now in my business, I highly encourage you to do the same again. If you want to hear or, not hear, read all the things that we talked about today include a some of the links to podcast episodes that are going to help you do just what we talked about today. You can grab all of that through the link in the show notes.
But for now, friend, I'm gonna bid you adieu and say, I'm so excited for what you have next.
If you're listening to the show, I know that you have a mission on your heart, you have a message on your heart and you want to do really big things. Your next step is to have the confidence to go out and do it, and in a bigger way than you're doing it right now. I know that you can go bigger I know with four months of the year, you are I don't know if you're on track for your goals or if you're off track your goals, however you're feeling. If you're one of the people I've talked to lately who is feeling a little behind around those goals, can you do yourself a gift right now? And remind yourself there's no frickin behind, the thing that you are building right now you're building it from scratch. You were not behind. There is not anyone else's timeline. You are exactly where you need to be to learn the lessons you must learn, to go where you need to go next.
Let today's episode fuel you, inspire you, motivate you, whatever it needs to do to kick you in the high knee to say, okay, it's time for me to step up my game. It's time for me to get focused. It's time for me to reach for that next level so that I can serve the person who's waiting to hear my message. And I hope that these five steps to help you get started with that today or to get re invigorated with the idea of speaking and I hope that they've served you best and, hey, friend if they have, can you share this episode with a friend or leave me a frickin podcast review. That is the best way you can give a compliment and tell me that the show is working for you. Fun fact. This week we are celebrating the three year anniversary of this podcast and I'm so humbled and honored to have the opportunity to be in front of this microphone every single week to show up and speak into your life. I know that there are a crap ton of podcast episodes, but the fact that you keep coming back here to listen, it means the world to me. And I don't treat this moment between you and I each week lightly, so I'm honored. I am grateful and thank you, and I cannot wait to see how you bring this message forward. Alright, friend. I'll see you again next week.