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:
- 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;
- Prepare a top flight presentation, that does not come across as a sales pitch;
- 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.
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