Make your public speaking productive

There are plenty of articles out there about building your public speaking confidence, selecting the right topics, and finding the right gigs.

This isn’t one of them.

When people in the business world decide to give talks, it’s typically not for the pure love of sharing their ideas in a public forum, says inc. It may be that the business owner in question wants to increase her visibility as a “thought leader.” Or perhaps the aspiring keynote speaker is looking to establish his “platform.” However they choose to express it, most business speakers have one underlying goal that drives their desire to dedicate their valuable time to this activity rather than the myriad other things they could be doing.

It’s called sales.

For businesses that sell expensive and/or complex products or services, there are few methods more effective over the long term than giving talks. The reason for this is that if you do a good job of painting a picture of how your approach to problem solving helps increase success, you significantly improve your chances that people listening will invest in your organization as the vehicle for bringing about the results you’re describing.

Here’s the problem. Even if a good number of audience members adore what you have to say–even if some of them intend to contact you about potentially working together–most of them will forget about it soon after the event ends. Life will invariably get in the way. Unless they have a chance to speak with you during the sliver of time at the end of the session, the majority of these hot prospects will slip through your fingers within minutes.

So what’s the solution?

Rather than focusing on trying to pick off sales the next time you do a speaking gig, work on building your list. Create something of value to which only people in your audience will have access: a special edition book, a subscription to an exclusive newsletter or digital magazine, etc.

Then toward the end of your talk, inform your crowd that they can opt in to receive what you’re offering by giving you their email address. You’ll be amazed at the outcome. When you use speaking as a method of building your list instead of pushing for an immediate transaction, you give yourself a ticket to sell to those who opt in again and again.