By Hannah R. Conway
As a teacher, I speak on a daily basis, all day, five days a week–and I truly love it. Speaking comes natural to me, as does public speaking, but it may not to others.
Building a public speaking platform can be a valuable asset to authors in many ways, but what’s the key to getting started?
That’s okay. I’m here today to help writers build a speaking platform no matter how far along they are in the writing world–a newbie, old-timer, or somewhere in between.
Let’s get started, and build a platform that we can put into practice.
There are four steps:
First, we must know our target audience.
We must know for whom our speaking is targeted at.
Sometimes defining our audience can be difficult, but consider this thought:
Our audience often closely resembles ourselves.
My target audience are women around my age–mid to late 30’s, moms, and wives; many are also military wives. In several ways, my audience is a reflection of myself, and that’s okay.
Next, we consider what we’re qualified to speak/teach on. And don’t say “I have nothing to teach. I’m just me.”
Please. We’ve ALL got something to share, so let’s move on.
Let’s begin by looking at the many circles of our life, or what metaphorical hats we wear. Those circles, or hats, will help us define what topics we’re most equipped to speak and teach.
I’m an Author. I can speak on the craft of writing.
I’m a Mother. I can speak on motherhood and parenting.
I’m a Wife. I can speak on marriage and intimacy.
I’m a Military Wife to a Combat Veteran. I can speak on a plethora of military related topics.
I’m a 7th Grade World History Teacher. I can speak to youth, to the parents of youth, and to educators.
I’m a Ministry Leader. I can speak to women’s ministry groups about faith and family.
Notice how the topics are not all directly related to my books, and that’s perfectly fine.
We’re building a speaking platform that’s based on relationships.
Yes, we want readers. Yes, we want to sell books, but we most want to minister with our words. What better way than sharing what Jesus has done, and is doing in our circles of life?
Speaking is relational. It’s being transparent with an audience—an audience who is willing to connect with us.
Make a list of the places possibly looking for speakers.
Churches. Schools. Book clubs. Mom groups. Bible Studies. Writing Workshops. Conferences/retreats.
Start small, dream big.
Decide how far you’re willing to travel, and then spend time online searching for those places of speaking possibility within that radius. Collect the contact information for those venues, either email, mailing address or both.
Next, get ready to advertise!
It’s time to contact those places of possibility, but first, we need and advertisement to help us advertise.
Think, flyer. Something to introduce ourself.
• Bio & Pic
• Audiences (Book Club, Mom Group, Conference etc.)
• Speaking Topics
• Contact Info
• Add color
Other Possible Helpful Add-ons:
• Statement of Faith
• Recommendation quotes
Need a template for a flyer? Feel free to use mine as a starting point. Click Here.
Not sure where to begin creating an ad? Ask a techy friend, or check out www.fivverr.com where you can find someone to create an awesome flyer for five dollars!
I’ve been blessed to travel all over to speak at events, conferences, and groups. As much as I LOVE speaking and traveling, I’m aware that it’s difficult for my family when I’m away. For that reason, I work very hard to keep my speaking schedule to about 1-2 events every quarter.
Other things to consider when building a speaking platform:
1: How much to charge? That depends.
I have two solid things that I ask when contacted to speak:
• For my travel and meals to be covered
• Permission to sell my books
As far as pay, for me, a good rule of thumb is to calculate how much I make during my day job, and multiple that amount by the length of the event. With that said, I’m always willing to make adjustments depending on the needs and abilities of the venue at hand.
2: Presentation format & pointers: Sharpen the presentation using my SPICE model, which I will be teaching about on my blog soon.
Now, send out that flyer, and get to speaking. Good luck!
Hannah Conway is a military wife, mother of two, middle school teacher, best-selling author, and speaker. Her novels are a deployment experience of their own, threaded with faith, and filled with twists and turns sure to thrill, and encourage. Her latest release is The Wounded Warrior’s Wife. Hannah is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers, and My Book Therapy. She and her family live in Tennessee. Visit Hannah at hannahrconway.blogspot.com. Or sign up for her newsletter here: http://bit.ly/2qoNdtV to stay in touch about her teaching of the SPICE model.