Before You Pitch Yourself to Speak: Part 2 - Know Your Audience
Before you start pitching yourself to speak at all the creative conferences you need to know who it is you are called to serve. In our last post on “What You Need to Have Before You Pitch Yourself to Speak” we walked through crafting your compelling presentation Topic, Title and Takeaways. Today we’re taking that one step further and determining who your ideal audience is.
Why does this matter? To put it simply, we are not meant to speak at EVERY event. By determining who we’re supposed to serve, it becomes easier to intentionally seek out speaking opportunities to pitch.
So maybe you’re saying, “But Jess, I know my topic like the back of my hand. I could deliver this to ANYONE!”
Technically, you could. But should you? No.
Not sure why your audience is so important? Let me paint the picture for you, friend.
Meet “Stephanie.” Stephanie is a successful business coach. Everyone knows her as the go-to person for helping her clients increase sales and convert like crazy!
She’s been seeing great success with her online based business and is ready to start expanding her market. Speaking is on her radar and she’s anxious to hit the stage and share her expertise with even more people. She gets a phone call: “Hi Stephanie! Our speaker for tomorrow’s event just cancelled last minute. Tom says you’re the go-to sales expert! Are you able to step in and speak tomorrow?”
Steph is PUMPED! She pulls an all-nighter working on the perfect slide deck. Beautiful pink, floral, gold foiled slides - check! She compiles the best strategies she’s been using with her clients (who are female online business owners) and she is certain her audience will gush over these floral flat lays and script fonts.
Tomorrow arrives before she knows it and it's time for the event. She walks into the room ready to crush it...
And then reality hits....This is a sales training event for realtors and the audience mostly men.
The problem? She works exclusively with women-owner online businesses and knows nothing about the real-estate industry. Stephanie never thought to ask about the audience. She agreed to speak at this event only knowing they needed a sales expert and she assumed she fit the part!
Stephanie is quietly kicking herself thinking about how she stayed up all night long working on a presentation (and slide deck) that is completely wrong for this audience.
But it's too late to back out now.
She steps onto the stage.... in front of a room full of 40-something year old male realtors. The butterflies fill her stomach as she hesitantly advances to her first hot pink powerpoint slide.
I think it's safe to assume these gentlemen didn't care for her floral-filled training on converting sales in Facebook Groups with Virtual Coffee Dates.
Knowing, Identifying and Understanding Your Audience is Essential
Don't be like Stephanie... Ask questions! When we're presented with a speaking opportunity its' completely normal for our excitement to show through. The problem occurs when that excitement results in one of two things:
(1) Act too soon: This is what Stephanie did. She didn't take the time to evaluate the situation, ask questions and determine if this even was good fit or not. Her excitement took over and she immediately jumped to an “Ab-so-freakin-lutely!”
(2) Word Vomit: Sometimes when we're so excited we just can't. stop. talking. We want to tell the organizer ALL about our experience, our presentation and how fantastic the event will be. What we think comes across as "excitement" can easily be misinterpreted as flat out rude. Slow down and ASK more than you tell. Find out how you can support the organizer rather than TELLING them how great you're going to be. This one can be difficult to manage sometimes, but it's crucial. Bite your tongue if you have to!
Not sure what questions you should be asking?
Click the image below to snag my list of pre-presentation questions for better understanding your audience!
Need to catch up on part 1 in this series?
Hop on over to “What You Need to Have Before You Pitch Yourself to Speak” where we walked through crafting your compelling presentation Topic, Title and Takeaways.
JESSICA RASDALL // MOTIVATIONAL SPEAKER + COACH
Jessica Rasdall is your secret weapon to achieving the speaking success you desire. As a professional speaker and coach for female entrepreneurs, she is dedicated to partnering with women business owner to craft stories and presentation that connect with their audience and help them stand out in a saturated market.