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How to Maximize Speaking Engagements
Opportunities for PR, marketing, and business development.
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 by Steve Markman
Markman Speaker Management

Steve MarkmanMarketing and PR efforts should be in the forefront of your organization, given today’s competitive business climate and challenging economy.

Standing out from the crowd, regardless of your organization’s industry, is a huge challenge. How can you best meet this?

Many companies and organizations have recognized the value of holding seminars at which their executives make presentations. The problem with these seminars is that, more often than not, the attendees are existing customers, clients or individuals who are already familiar with the firm.

Companies need to expose their expertise to prospective customers and clients. What is a proven method of accomplishing this objective? By speaking at public forums – at conferences, seminars and forums held by independent event organizations, associations, professional and industry trade groups, and academic institutions and think tanks – enormous exposure is created.

There is much evidence that speaking at public forums often results in the attainment of business, by providing increased awareness of the company in general and specific subject areas in particular, to an audience of potential customers or clients. Presentations about industry trends or “how-to” talks can make a large impact on the audience.

Speaking opportunities for executives and managers represent a strong marketing, public relations, and business development tool for the following reasons:

1. Attendees get to learn
about a firm’s expertise firsthand and can interact directly with the speaker immediately before or after the presentation.

2. Gaining increased visibility
in vertical/industry sectors or broad-based areas that the firm has determined is in need of greater exposure.

3. The company gains “advertising”
by having its name and the executive speaker’s name published in the agenda of thousands of brochures and promotional announcements mailed or e-mailed by event organizers.

What should an organization be doing to get its executives and managers out on the speaking circuit? Take the following eight steps:

Decide which product or service area(s) the firm should be targeting
for increased visibility.

Get the right speaker on board.

Speak to the right audience.

Develop a proactive speaker placement program.

Decide on the geographic area to target for speaking engagements

Create high-impact presentations.

Learn the process for submitting a speaker proposal to the event organizer.

Follow up continuously and persistently with the event organizer.

Even if speaking engagements are successfully attained, be sure to maximize the engagement by ensuring that the presentation has a shelf life. Always come armed with “takeaways,” including handouts. You might also want to have a colleague attend with the speaker, to take advantage of the networking opportunities at an event.

Press releases, either before or after a speaking engagement can attract potential clients, especially when the release contains information that demonstrates the firm’s expertise in a particular area. And last but not least, bring business cards … lots of business cards.

By developing an effective speaker placement program for you or your organization, you will have taken a big step in meeting its marketing, public relations, and business development objectives.

Steve Markman is President of Markman Speaker Management,
now in its 18th year and based in Needham, MA. MSM is used by
corporate executives and professional services to secure speaking
engagements as a business development, marketing and PR tool.

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