August 18th, 2010

    This week I want to focus on the ever-increasing necessity for professionals and authors to grow their business through speaking in public.

    I had a radio interview with Bill Frank last week for KKZZ talk radio in Ventura, CA http://dld.bz/rq2K and one of the things we discussed was the importance of honing your speaking skills for whatever message or product

    you are providing. If you are not the BEST representative of what you do, the world will not embrace and engage with what you have to offer. It’s seemingly obvious, but often not the case. Taking the time to work with a coach, trainer or even a partner on refining your message for any speech or material you put out there will come back to you tenfold. And then, get some help getting out on the trail.

    Susan Levin, owner and founder of Speaker Services put this notion to work. I came across Susan several times as I was building my business and I believe “Attention must be paid” to the seeming coincidence of someone repeatedly appearing in your life. She offers great services, training and a wealth of information for people who want to market themselves as speakers.

    Susan, can you briefly tell me what led you to start your business and how has it changed since its inception?

    In 1992 I was inspired to work with business folks and give them the opportunity to market themselves as speakers.  We began with a print directory in Los Angeles, which was mailed to event producers, meeting planners and was distributed on newsstands around town.  In 1994 the Internet came to life and I was one of the first 1500 people to have a url and a website.  We continued with the print till 1998 and then went full boar on the web as many more people were using it as a resource. The web took Speaker Services from being a local business to worldwide – we have clients all over the country and in Europe as well.  With the influx of social media, it has become very easy to connect with more people and grow my business. Connection is the key. It spans from a 30 second introduction, 10 minute talk to a keynote presentation, to blogging, lead generation, social media, creating videos, job interviews and workshops.  The whole enchilada.  I love connectivity!

    What do you think are the most important factors in becoming a better speaker?

    • Don’t be a speaker, be an expert who speaks.
    • Be passionate about your subject matter.  When you are on fire, others catch on fire.
    • Know your target audience.
    • Get a presentation, media and branding coach.
    • Make sure you have The 3 C’s or the Holy Triad in your presentation Connection, Content and Comfort
    • Be a great storyteller and get the audience involved.
    • Create videos so that event planners can see you in action.

    How does social media come into play in terms of the services you provide and promoting your own business?

    Social Media is awesome.  I promote my services and speakers via social media and teach them too how to join groups so that they can begin to create joint ventures, visibility and credibility. I prefer social media to networking meetings in person.  Once you find your tribe it is totally acceptable to arrange a meeting to learn more about how you can support one another. Wendy, you and I met via social media and started a conversation and here I am writing a post for your blog!

    Talk a bit about the various classes and teleseminars Speaker Services offers.

    • I teach a workshop in Los Angeles called Market Yourself as a Speaker, which is about the business of speaking. I also work with folks privately. http://www.speakerservices.com/services/marketyourself.html
    • Barbara Niven and I teach Web Video & Marketing Workshop, YOU ON CAMERA http://www.speakerservices.com/web-video-workshop.html
    • Once a year we offer a Video Demo Showcase & Authors Video http://www.speakerservices.com/videoprod.html
    • I have been offering teleclasses way before they were even popular.
    • We have a membership club The Speakers’ Community where I interview experts twice a month on speaking, marketing, books, social media and more.  http://www.speakerscommunity.com .  It is an online library and it is 60 days complimentary.

    If you were starting out as a professional speaker, what would be the most important sequence of actions that you would take to succeed?

    • Get a coach
    • Get focused
    • Speak for Free
    • Attend events, listen to teleclasses, join speaker groups or start your own on Facebook, LinkedIn
    • Learn the business of speaking and get all your marketing materials together including video
    • Build a following; stay out in front of your peeps via regular e-mails and social media

    What transformation do you see in your class participants after they have completed the training for their speaking videos?

    They jump to the next level of professionalism, begin to get paid for speaking and they are more visible.

    Wendy Scharfman is a professional speaker, communication coach and trainer. She is the founder of Coaching for Effective Communication, a business she created to help her clients become dynamic, confident speakers who can inspire action by delivering a message that matters. Wendy specializes in Leadership Training and Team Building, Public Speaking Competencies, Message Refinement and Media Training.

    Add to Technorati Favorites

    • Share/Bookmark