10 Ways To Maximize Speaking To Build Your Personal Brand

JoAnn Hines

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Who holds a conference in December anyway? But, since it was a paid speaking engagement, I decided what the heck.

I should have had a clue as to how things would go when I sat on the runway with an engine light malfunction for two hours. Consequently, I missed my dinner engagement when that turned a 90-minute flight into one that lasted four hours. Remember when airlines distributed snacks? Forget it. We got free head phones for a flight too short for a movie. Who can eat headphones anyway?

That’s another reason missing the dinner engagement was problematic. I was starving. No matter how dog-tired or otherwise out of sorts are when you arrive, you should maximize your travel schedule every night with appointments. Here are some tips to help you do that.

1) Remember, you are supposed to fly into an event the night before so you can be there first thing for the registration networking.

2) This is the time you can catch speakers who are only there for a day or an hour or two to give their presentation. Almost everyone appears for their free breakfast (in my case there wasn't one).

3) In most events, there are scheduled breaks to catch up to people you want to meet but if someone is on a tight schedule, leave the room and catch them on the way out. This is not the time for lengthy conversations. Use your elevator speech, exchange cards and tell them you will follow up.

After a few speeches, we finally had lunch.

4) Plan to sit with someone different at every meal and don't monopolize any one person’s attention. If you are ambitious, suggest introductions at the table, a 30-second sound bite introduction and a card exchange. That way even if you don't get to speak with that person you can use the luncheon as a point of reference later.

5) Make notes on the back of every business card about what you discussed. It helps to have a non-business point of reference when you contact this person later.

6) Don't spend your time selling. Discussions should include a little business but your real objective is to establish a personal bond with this person, so that they remember you and will respond when you contact them later on.

7) Make it your goal to meet every speaker and attendee. I know this is a lofty challenge especially if you can't really see a connection, but you never know how someone could refer you to exactly the RIGHT person.

8) Always introduce yourself to the staff and meeting personnel even if you are not a speaker. They can be important people influencing the decisions on when to suggest new speakers for future events. IMPORTANT: Fill out the evaluation forms and mention that you are willing to be quoted or contacted in the future. Again, this bond building good will thing you are trying to establish.

9) If you really liked a speaker’s presentation, offer to write a testimonial. No sucking up here. This needs to be legitimate. Conversely, if you are speaker and someone likes your stuff ask them to write you a testimonial. Trade Secret: Offer to write it for them and then send it to them for approval. This always works! If you wait for them to do it, you will probably never get it.

10) Another trade secret is never to send in your speech ahead of time. Always offer it free to attendees before you begin. Just ask them to leave you a card with their email address. Get It? Now they know you and you know them as opposed to waiting for someone to contact you.

To get back to my speech: I was scheduled for last on the second day of the conference. This is notoriously the worst spot, but in this case attendees were waiting to hear “If You Package It, Will She Buy?" by yours truly. Everyone stayed to the end even though we all scrambled to get to outgoing flights on time.

NOTE: How to create an elevator speech; How to make most of those first 30 seconds or less; How to use networking to build your business; How to speak your way to fame and fortune; are all included in the Packaging Yourself Workbook Order now @ http://www.packaginguniversity.com/pkgustorefront.htm

To subscribe to the personal branding e-zine “Packaging Yourself" email me @ pkgcoach@aol.com


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