My mentor is an eloquent speaker and she is passionate about it. From watching her work, I have picked up some tips and tricks that I think every speaker should know. The few times that I have been approached to speak this year, I used these simple tips and tricks and I swear by them. When I take on speaking as an official service, I’ll come with a rate card and what my mentor calls a ‘Speaker Rider’ which is basically a list of terms of conditions that we agree on prior to me showing up or confirming a gig.

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1. Personal Branding

This was simple for me because again, its what my mentor is into so I’ve come to understand what it entails. Personal branding includes deciding what you want to be known for and doing it consistently until everybody knows you for that exact skill set. This includes having a logo, brand culture, tone, and professional images. When I agreed to the speaking engagements that I did, they asked me for professional images for flyers to be designed. They asked for my logo as well. If I had banners, I would have brought them along as well.

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2. Establish Yourself As A Thought Leader

The easiest way that I accomplished this was through my blog. I use the ‘About Me’ page to list down all the services that I offer. On my social media, I try to engage in topics about my industry with people from my industry. People that are interested in my areas of expertise can trust me to deliver content that is well-researched and insightful. You don’t have to have a blog, you can contribute articles to other publications about your area of interest. When you think of politics in Zimbabwe who comes to mind as your thought leader? The person you thought of is the opinion leader for politics. Try and think back what about them made you trust their opinion about politics? How did they establish themselves as a thought leader?

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3. Hype Up The Event To Drive Ticket Sales

The reason why they have chosen you is because they have seen that you are a thought leader. People come to you to hear your opinion but do you have influence? Can you make the audience that you have built stand up, part with their money to come and listen to what you have to say? Influence is what will make more people hire you for speaking engagements because you are a crowdpuller. At the end of the day that’s the bottom line because putting an event together wasn’t free. The venue must be paid, the decor, the sound system and the running around to throw it all together must be remunerated. Know the hashtags for the event, retweet the tweets, share the event poster and respond to comments directed to you about the event. If you’d like to go an extra mile, then you can even live tweet the highlights of the event and maybe write a blog post about the whole experience.

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4. Be Punctual

Arrive early to the venue. Settle in and get a feel for the place before the event begins. Hand over your presentation on a flash drive just in case they didn’t get the one that you emailed days before. Network with the people that have come to see you. Take pictures if you’re into that sort of thing, with me it depends on my face to be honest. There is nothing worse than holding an event and a speaker is missing. The stress is cruel and unnecessary. It will deter people from working with you in the future. Part of personal branding is people knowing that you are reliable. Don’t be like Lauren Hill that never shows up to her concerts. Read a tweet once where someone was saying concert goers should only pay for a Lauryn Hill concert AFTER she has performed. She has created distrust with promoters and her fans.

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5. Send a ‘Thank You’

When all is said and done, you wanna just send a Thank You to all the people that attended and to the people that gave you the opportunity to speak at their event. Simple gestures like these go a long way in ensuring that the speaking gigs keep rolling in. Who doesn’t like manners?

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All the other stuff about preparing extensively for a speaking opportunity go without saying.

What are some of the tips and tricks that can secure the bag for speakers?

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