You know it’s critical to your success, but are you doing it with forethought and a solid strategy in place, or do you just “wing it?”
Admittedly, most of us are squarely in the winging it category, but there are some quick and easy changes you can make that will put even your most important networking tasks on autopilot.
Outsource the research: First step, hire a Virtual Assistant (I did and it was one of the best decisions I ever made), who can find and connect you with potential speaking engagements, podcasts, guest interviews, and other speaking options at your disposal.
With a list of requirements at hand, he or she can spend an hour or two on Google and bring back a list of hundreds of people you can then reach out to. A good VA will contact the people and/or organizations for you and follow up to keep you top of mind and take care of scheduling your engagements and making all of the booking arrangements. The first time I sent out requests for speaking engagements I only got one booking. The second time I got half a dozen offers to speak! The responses continue to increase with each round of requests along with my reputation as the “go to” person for Public Speaking. What would another 10 new speaking engagements do for your business growth?
Automate the initial connection: Create a script or email template to use when you first reach out for potential speaking engagements. Your VA can send this in an email or make a call on your behalf, but having the script in place will accomplish two things:
1. The process will be much faster than if they don’t have to think about what to say.
2. Be sure to tweak the script as you go to get better results.
Automate the follow-up: At the risk of sounding like a broken record, create an email or phone script to help speed the process. You or your VA (or your email auto-responder series) can send out a series of emails to follow up on that initial connection. The more professional you come across the better impression you will make with the interviewer or organization you will be speaking to.
Automate your scheduling: Using a service such as TimeTrade or ScheduleOnce, you can easily set up your calendar with your preferred times for interviews, podcasts, webinars and such. Give the person booking you the links to book time with you, and the meetings will automatically appear on your calendar. No more endless back and forth to discuss potential meeting times, just a single click, and your partner can choose the time that works for both of you.
Here’s a hint though: be sure to use your calendar diligently, because if you don’t you run the risk of someone scheduling time with you when you already have another commitment. That may sound obvious but unfortunately it happens, even to the best of us!
Will it take a bit of work to get these systems in place? Sure. But not as much as you think it will. Once you do, you’ll find that attracting speaking engagements and requests to be a guest expert is much easier and more streamlined. Not only that, but with the time you save, you’ll be able to focus on crafting a message that blows your audience away.