At Innovation Women, one of our goals is to help women advance their careers and businesses through increased visibility and access to speaking opportunities. There is a lot more to being a speaker than simply having a speaker’s profile. Our first Women Innovators Night (WIN) offered a series of panel discussions for women of all career levels to hone their skills. We focused on getting speaking gigs, wowing the audience and making the most of the opportunity. We called the panels:
·       Get it
·       Work it
·       Own it
The event was a collaborative night of women sharing their experiences and best tips for crushing a speaking gig. We’ve compiled just a few of the best tips from our panelists.
Rita B Allen, author and founder of Rita B Allen Associates, a national career management firm, shared her best advice for rocking a speaking engagement. “Always keep it real, be genuine and authentic, show passion for your subject, make it conversational… preparation is key – know your material and your audience, be sure to engage your audience, remember it isn’t about you…it’s about them!”
Amanda Hennessy of Boston Public Speaking spoke alongside Allen about “working” a speech. She shared a tip about asking yourself the right questions: “‘What is my objective?’ You may start with some of these answers: ‘I want to impress my boss’ or ‘I want a promotion’ or ‘I want respect, admiration and love.’ My hope is that you will get to ‘I want to share my knowledge with my coworkers so their jobs are easier’ or “I want my sister and her fiancé to know how excited I am for their marriage.’ With these deeper objectives that are focused on the audience rather than ourselves, we are actually much more likely to present powerfully, which can lead to making a difference, gaining respect, promotions and intimacy with others.”
Angela Lussier spoke about the best ways to secure a speaking opportunity. Lussier, a three-time author who runs an online course helping women find their voice called Speaking School for Women, shared this tip: “Stop waiting until you are an ‘expert’ and have all the answers, to get on stage and speak. You only need to be one step ahead of your audience. Share personal stories and talk about what you know best. Leave the rest for someone else.”
Linda Plano, founder of Plano and Simple, and Maura Kolkmeyer, founder of Sitterly Sisters, also spoke about getting a gig. Kolkmeyer shared this tip with us: “Develop a personal brand. It is where your drive, passion and skills intersect.” Plano advised speakers to remind themselves of their purpose as a speaker: “Remember that you are there first to solve a problem for the event organizer, not to promote yourself. Understand their needs (fear & greed!), what they’re trying to accomplish, and then pitch yourself as the answer to their prayers.”
Jenny Mirken from says, “While it sometimes feels like the work goes into the presentation or speaking itself, don’t let your guard (or brain!) down when it ends. Be prepared that someone who approaches you after the event can open new doors for your business and change everything.”

Samantha Stone, author of “Unleash Possible!” says, “Speaking opportunities are the perfect opportunity to, not only showcase your expertise, but to show the audience that you are approachable and can relate to their challenges. Be incredibly responsive to their questions, during & after the presentation, to bridge the gap from “presenter” towards “helper” if you want to translate your speaking session into new business. I find posting a summary of the material I presented with links to the event’s hashtag on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn a great way to keep top of mind for attendees. And if you can take photos and tag participants even better!”

And, don’t forget Innovation Women Founder Betsy’s best speaking advice – “Just say ‘yes!’”

What are your best speaking tips of getting, working, and owning a gig? Share with us on Twitter what you’ve found most useful in your speaking career. #speakertips

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