Are you still on the fence about applying for that exciting speaking opportunity?
I totally get that.
Even when you know your industry inside out, speaking about your area of expertise in front of a crowd can be intimidating.
But once you manage to push past the initial fear, speaking engagements could be just what you need to elevate your career, not to mention all the personal growth you’ll experience along with the countless other female speakers and entrepreneurs you could inspire.
Here’s what you can gain when you put yourself out there as an expert and pursue speaking opportunities:
1: Increase Confidence
Remember the first time you rode a bike? You hadn’t quite managed to balance yourself, so you were nervous about falling and scraping your knees. But once you got the hang of it and got over the initial fear, riding a bike was a breeze.
Once you’ve done something often enough, you tend to feel more confident about doing it because you know you have the necessary skills and knowledge.
Public speaking works the same way. The more you take on speaking engagements, the better you get at it. This then gives you the confidence you need to challenge yourself with more speaking opportunities in the future.
But, there are other rewards. Once I became a confident public speaker, I felt more confident in other aspects of my life, during business presentations, negotiations, or walking into a room — any room — and knowing I could fit in and make connections without first knowing a soul.
2: Personal and Professional Growth
Securing more speaking engagements also means you’re gradually building your public speaking skills. This isn’t just great for your professional growth, but it also gives you plenty of lessons to improve your personal life.
For instance, perhaps your speaking experience has taught you that people tend to be more attentive when you use conversational and friendly language. It’s easy to see how implementing that same technique is beneficial when communicating with colleagues and clients.
This can help you create a more open and productive work environment while also understanding and delivering exactly what your audience wants. Plus, you could use it in your everyday life to build more fulfilling interpersonal relationships.
Additionally, dealing with different organizations, industries, and peer groups introduces you to a whole range of experiences that will come in handy.
3: Greater Opportunities Beyond Speaking Engagements
After you’ve made a few appearances as an expert in your industry, people are likely to take notice. Contributing to industry events can help you establish yourself as an expert in your field. This means you could unlock more opportunities even beyond the usual speaking engagements.
Perhaps an organization that needs a new partner or Board Member might consider you as a prospective candidate for the seat, for example. Or a reputable brand might take notice and request your services as a consultant. You may connect with an amazing mentor or accountability partner. The possibilities are endless.
4: Get Better at Connecting to an Audience
The more you learn to speak to an audience, the better you’ll be at creating a personal connection with them. With practice, you’ll learn all about the kind of tone, messaging, and body language that works.
For example, you might discover that a thoughtful pause before a key takeaway can make your message more compelling. Or you might learn that accompanying media like slides and music can help you tell an even more engaging story.
5: Network with Other Professionals
In my experience, speaking engagements have been fundamental for growing my professional network. Not only do I gain a working relationship with the organizations that invite me, but I also connect with fellow panelists and speakers.
This has been invaluable for getting invited to future events, connecting with potential partners, and engaging new clients. Not to mention the treasure trove of insights I can get from other professionals. Plus, the people in your network could be crucial for getting great referrals to prospective clients.
6: Inspire Other Women
The best thing, in my opinion, about these speaking engagements is the opportunity to inspire other female speakers and professionals.
When you step out as a public speaker, you can gain respect in your community as a go-to and confident expert. This could inspire other women to follow suit and assert themselves as experts in their respective communities.
Ready to Take Charge and Set the Stage?
You now know exactly what you stand to gain when you take up the challenge of speaking publicly about your expertise. Plus, you also know what the female entrepreneurial community stands to gain from seeing you out there as an expert.
So, what are you waiting for? It’s time to take charge and set the stage for countless other female speakers to follow suit. Consider jumpstarting your speaking experience with professional organizations that invite women to pitch their presentations.
You can find women-supported organizations like the American Business Women’s Association (ABWA), the Women’s Diversity Network (WDN), and the National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO), among many others.
After you’ve landed your first speaking event – we have you covered. To make sure your presentation is a slam dunk, take a look at our articles You’ve Been Accepted as an Event Speaker – Now What? and The 7 Steps to Create a Virtual Presentation that Packs a Punch!