Your continued success as a professional speaker depends on continually making valuable strategic connections.
One of the most reliable ways to make these kinds of connections is to join and actively participate in a networking group for speakers. Here are six benefits of joining, and how it will help you grow your business and impact more people:
1 - You get access to exclusive resources that can help you grow your business
Some groups provide opportunities to share your knowledge and others provide opportunities to learn from other members. The best groups allow you to do both.
You may also get access to exclusive content, such as industry research, tips and advice from and for successful speakers, and templates for proposals and contracts.
All of these resources can help you save time and money as you build your business.
2 - You can connect with other speakers who offer support and networking opportunities
You can collaborate with other members and business owners on projects, get advice from speakers in a variety of industries, and even find speaking gigs through members of the group.
You also get the chance to meet other like-minded individuals who can become friends, colleagues, and even business partners. They may offer you public speaking opportunities or connect you with other successful businesses within your target market.
Through your fellow members, you get access to a wealth of knowledge and experience. Members are usually more than willing to share their expertise and help each other grow as professional, working speakers.
It's a great way to grow your business and meet new people who can help you achieve your goals.
3 - You can learn about the latest trends and developments in the speaking industry
This is critical information for your speaking business if you want to stay ahead of the curve and provide the best and most relevant customer experience possible. You'll also have the opportunity to share your own insights and expertise with other members. This two-way exchange of information is invaluable for everyone involved.
Some groups provide training and development programs specifically for speakers on a variety of topics, from marketing to managing a team.
4 - You can receive discounts on products and services related to speaking
Many networking groups offer discounts to members on products and services that you need to run your business, such as website design, marketing, and office supplies. Some of these are designed for local businesses, but some provide access to national brands and companies as well.
These discounts may include travel, lodging, gifts, and more. These discounts can save you a significant amount of money, which you can then reinvest in your business.
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5 - You can promote your business through the group's online directory and other marketing materials
Use your group profile page in your email signature and on your own social media channels so people can see that you are active and respected in your industry.
Showing up on the networking group’s website as a member success story or case study is an important way to get your name in front of new prospective clients.
You can also write unique content in your area of expertise that can be shared on the group's website. Most networking groups would then promote your content on their social media platforms. This is another great way to share your work with a wider audience.
6 - You get the inside scoop on great speaking gigs and exclusive event space
The majority of companies who hire keynote speakers typically like to bring in someone new at each event; your networking group is a great place for you to help each other find out where the best speaking opportunities are. That’s why it’s called the “speaking circuit”!
In addition, many professional speakers like to host their own events. Your networking group can help you identify the best event spaces in different locations around the country.
Bonus: How to make the most of your informal networking connections:
There is a lot more to "networking" than joining professional networking groups, even groups specifically for speakers. Ideally you will use a two-pronged networking strategy: professional networks, as described above, plus the informal networks you find in your everyday life.
Think about the fact that you walk into and out of networks of people almost every day. In your gym, at the neighborhood get-together, with the parents of your children's friends, on the elevator…
As with anyone who owns a business, you are probably of two minds: you want to just focus on helping people and being a good influence on people’s lives. But you also know that every connection might lead to new business opportunities. How do you walk that line?
It’s pretty simple, actually: don’t just think about people you meet as “prospects”. Be authentic in your conversations; be yourself. Focus on the person to whom you are talking. What's going on in their life? How can you help them? What do they need?
It may not seem to have anything to do with your daily work of speaking and presenting, but people remember how you treat them. Whatever deeds you do, or words you say, they will always come back to you somewhere down the road. As you make new connections, always focus on what you can give freely and generously.
As you also think about growing your business, be prepared to talk to people about what you do and why. Make it relevant to their daily lives, if at all possible.
Whatever you call your different networks - friends, acquaintances, connections, associates, etc. - the people you already know and the people you have yet to meet will help you expand your sphere of influence and impact. And the greater your positive impact, the more your opportunities will increase.
Consider joining - and being an active participant - in a networking group for speakers - AND making the most of your daily contacts and connections - in order to develop and grow both personally and professionally.