Being in front of your target audience gives you the status of being an expert in your industry. Take the opportunity whenever you get a chance, regardless of whether it’s for a paid engagement. Make your presentation entertaining as well as informative. People remember speakers who tell stories and make them laugh.
Donate your time or charge low fees for speaking engagements at colleges, Chambers of Commerce, business associations, and libraries. Have a clinic on your specialty at a library; do it twice— once in the morning and once in the evening—to accommodate everyone’s schedule. Question-and-answer sessions in your area of expertise are generally popular.
Donate an hour at a retirement home, but instead of speaking on your business subject, read a short story and bring popcorn for everyone. Or pick a nonprofit organization you believe in and offer to be their spokesperson. You never know when you’ll have a chance to be publicized when the organization is in the news.
Whatever you choose, don’t forget to let the media know. Send emails or press releases and/or have one of your staff call the news stations in your area. If it’s a slow news day, you might get coverage. Local newspapers, magazines, and radio usually have some space and time to fill, so the opportunity is there.
Press releases or interviews will let people know that you are well informed or an expert in your field. This can lead to speaking engagements at local or regional meetings. One speaking engagement will probably lead to others, so be prepared for future requests. The more you accept, the more attention you’ll bring to yourself and your company. If you are new at speaking, you can join your local Toastmasters club and gain some quick experience.