What is YOUR Speaking Expertise?

Bette Daoust, Ph.D.

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Why do you have to be an expert when getting speaking engagements?

The first thing you need to do before engaging into a speaking career is to define what you are an expert in. I have seen so many speakers that get relegated into the mediocre list just because they say they can talk on anything and “what would you like to hear?" Although I am not advocating sticking with one topic, I am advocating that you are an expert in a field that you choose. Do not try to be everything to everyone. The other day I came across a consultant saying to me that he was in the Application Integration business and that he had some major customers. I asked “how do you present your materials?" He explained that he simply worked with major vendors to make all their systems talk together. Then to my dismay he also added “and I do training (which is OK) and I am also a management consultant to help management make decisions with processes and how to put them together. " To each question I asked he replied “I do that too". Now I was totally confused. All of a sudden, I did not view him as an expert and moved on.

You will find that once you specifically define your expertise, you will stick to it! You may also provide other things to your clients, but when you are speaking to an audience, YOU are the expert and not a chameleon that changes spots with the changing smell of a new business opportunity. Remember to focus on what you do best and the rest will follow; when you secure a speaking engagement, attach a subject to it, don’t leave it open.

If you can clearly define your expertise, then business will be easier to obtain. People will come to know you in that field and ask your advice. Being an expert and defining it well is the first step to a speaking career within your field. Another thing you must be aware of is your audience and why they will listen to you.

Bette Daoust, Ph. D. has been networking with others since leaving high school years ago. Realizing that no one really cared about what she did in life unless she had someone to tell and excite. She decided to find the best ways to get people’s attention, be creative in how she presented herself and products, getting people to know who she was, and being visible all the time. Her friends and colleagues have often dubbed her the “Networking Queen". Blueprint for Networking Success: 150 ways to promote yourself is the first in this series. Blueprint for Branding Yourself: Another 150 ways to promote yourself is planned for release in 2005. For more information visit http://www.BlueprintBooks.com


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