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Legal Marketing Blog A blog dedicated to lawyer marketing in any size law firm

Speaking Engagements REALLY Work, If You Work At It!

Posted in Marketing Tips

Speaking engagements make my top 10 list of best marketing practices. Like writing articles, columns or books, speaking adds the additional advantage of putting you in the same room with potential clients where you can demonstrate your knowledge and expertise AND develop an emotional bond with your audience. Moreover, if the seminar or speech is sponsored by a respected organization, you receive instant credibility because of that association.

The benefits of speaking include:

  • A captive audience to connect with and, if your talk is topical and interesting (heaven help us that is not) to attendees;
  • Personally interact, during your speech, and any networking opportunities, with attendees that can help build relationships. and
  • The opportunity to subtlety provide information about your practice and your law firm.

So, what can you do to put yourself in a position to speak to your target audience(s)? You can start with:

  1. Researching organizations that your clients and desired prospects belong to, and contact their conference planning chair to ask to get on their speaking panel on topics relevant to their members and in your area of expertise;
  2. Prepare a top flight presentation, that does not come across as a sales pitch;
  3. Keep your video presentation, whether PowerPoint or otherwise, short sweet and to the point (few words per slide with engaging pictures) as the slides should be a tool not the presentation.

Following your presentation you MUST follow up. Do this by promising to send additional information or respond to questions, if the attendees will provide their email address, business card, or other contact information. And if you obtained contact information from them, send them a handwritten note (preferably), letter, email (last choice), or telephone them about your in-person discussion with them.

Bottom line: speaking engagements are still very effective business development techniques. But you must prepare, present well, and most importantly, follow up.

  • Tom – as always, great post! I offer a tip that works for me and that might work for your readers who rightly see speaking engagements as a opportunity to develop relationships with those in the audience who need our services (either now or the in the future). When I speak, one of the things I am most interested in is getting those interested in my presentation subscribed to our newsletter so that future contact is consistent. Not everyone will need your services immediately.
    So, what I do when I speak is leverage the powerpoint deck as a touchpoint. My handouts are never a copy of my powerpoint deck. I put together a booklet of information and resources pertinent to the audience because I believe it provides real value for them. Then during the presentation, I offer the powerpoint deck (with my speaking notes) to anyone who is interested if they give me a business card. Without fail, the majority of the audience wants the deck.
    This provides me with contact information and provides audience members with another piece of valuable (I hope) information. As your post states, I now have permission to contact those who are most interested and a chance to begin to develop a relationship – or at least get them on our newsletter list for consistent contact.
    For many, the hardest part is making sure that the handout content is a quality piece because they are spending so much time on the deck and practicing for the speech itself. Yet for many attorneys who are speaking at events that offer CLE, their handouts must be substantive so this idea fits in nicely to what they are already doing.