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Professional Speakers - To Market, To Market!

By Cathleen Fillmore


Your positioning defines your market. Once you've decided on exactly what you stand for, you are now clear about who wants to hear you speak. Trainer and speaker Suzanne Sherkin's position as the expert on 'Essential Conversations' defines her market as anyone who has difficulty communicating when there's a lot at stake. Her radio shows and her speaking engagements have a widely varied audience, from lawyers and doctors to single parents.

If you speak on customer service or leadership, your market will be very broad. That's fine to start out with but soon you'll need to choose a more defined path so that you're well known in that particular marketplace.

Roxanne Emmerich, CSP, CPAE, is a well known consultant to bankers. She has a website dedicated to that industry - however, she's also asked to speak to other associations in different industries so she also has a more generic website. Two websites for two different audiences.

What industries would be a natural fit for you? Who would most benefit from your speech? What industries are you personally drawn to or have experience in? Choose among those industries to find your particular niche.

You can choose from Government, Associations, Non-profits, Corporations, Small Businesses and so on. The whole world is open to you as long as you choose a lane.

If your topic is low to medium level, then the smaller associations and non-profits might be a good fit. Honestly, though, if your topic is at a low level, bump it up. Why put all that energy into a career that will never get you the financial returns you deserve?

Low level topics include (speaking generally only!), entertainment (i.e. singing, humor), generic life skills and so on. Mid level topics include Parenting, family issues, team-building (depends on the spin), stress relief, etc.

High level topics are global consulting, business strategizing and leadership issues. Add to that list any topic that has information or skills that will add to the business bottom line. These tend to be the highest paid topics in today's marketplace.

You need to develop a one-page promotional piece which will include three speech titles, a one sentence description of each speech, focused on the value to the audience and five or more bullet benefits such as:

  • dramatically improved staff confidence and morale
  • heightened resilience to change
  • enhanced commitment to work
  • stronger work life balance
  • better understanding of when and how to take risks
  • develop new ways to deal with and break free of fear
  • gain proven strategies for taking action and staying focused on what really matters
  • focus efforts and attention by eliminating distractions

Don't be modest. Create a brilliant promotional page that really reflects your brilliance, a page that will attract the attention of your buyers and create a buzz about you, the topics you speak on and the leave-behind benefits.

If you get your speaking engagements now mostly by word of mouth, a well written well designed promotional one pager will expand your reach well beyond your current boundaries.

Cathleen Fillmore, owner of Speakers Gold bureau, consults with speakers who want to find the money in the marketplace and maximize the returns on their talents. Cathleen is a member of MPI, a certified consultant with the American Consultant's League and a consultant to some of North America's top speakers.

To contact her,
visit or call 416-532-9886.