Are you in search of a sure-fire way to increase your visibility, position yourself as a thought leader, or secure more clients? I want to make a case for public speaking as one of the best and most cost-effective ways to get more business in the door and open opportunities for your career success. One of my favorite things to do is to talk. (I love giving my opinion or presenting a thought on just about anything!) This year, I’ve already booked six speaking engagements throughout the country, where I get to share my thoughts on topics I love, like cultural competency, estate planning, the wealth gap, and writing. I didn’t start with numerous speaking engagements, though. I started small. I have learned some tips along the way while finding my niche and speaking possibilities:
- Decide on your topics. What are the things that interest you? For me, I love talking about estate planning, cultural competency, motherhood, books, and writing. Whatever your topic, make sure you think about what you want to say to your audience. My most unsuccessful engagements involved speaking about something not in my repertoire. Be better than me and say no to those types of opportunities if they do not align with what you want to talk about. It’s better to stick with what you know rather than create something new at every whim. Also, limiting what you want to speak about allows you to hone your message.
- Show your speaking topics on all public channels. Update your law firm and social media bios to highlight your speaking on specific topics. Make sure to post on your social media regularly as well. For example, use LinkedIn to announce any upcoming speaking engagements. Always share! It might seem like bragging, or you may feel resistance at first. Still, it’s also helpful when you let other people or organizations know that you speak. Eventually, they will invite you to speak to their audiences — hopefully allowing you to convert new clients.
- Create a speaker page. I created a one-page speaker PDF to pitch podcasts, conferences, and other speaking opportunities aligned with my skills. My speaker one-page includes information about me, my keynote topics, contact information, and past appearances. It is straightforward (depending on your skill level) to create a one-page speaker template on Canva or Creative Market. Better yet, hire a designer on fiverr.com or etsy.com to produce a branded page for you.
- Look for opportunities to speak. If you want to create a buzz in your city, state, or country, apply to speak at bar associations, state conferences, and even industry-adjacent conferences. For example, an estate planner could pitch FinCon, a conference for financial professionals, media, and influencers to connect estate planning to financial growth and wealth preservation.
- Practice. Delivery is everything. Do not wing it. If you have a keynote, practice it and practice it well. Have a run-through presentation in front of a colleague, significant other, or friend. Be sure to watch for time to stick within the boundaries of the presentation. And use vocal variety. The last thing anyone wants to sit through is another lawyer droning on and on!
What do you think about my suggestion to start speaking as a way to increase visibility and your bottom line? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org; I’d love to hear your thoughts.
Iffy Ibekwe is the principal attorney of Ibekwe Law, PLLC. She believes that women deserve to make decisions that affect them with wills, trusts, and other estate planning documents. Activating women is Iffy’s calling, and she also loves speaking internationally about entrepreneurship, estate planning, motherhood, and supporting other women lawyers. Currently, Iffy is writing her first book on culturally competent estate planning, available in 2023 (prayers up!). A double-Longhorn, Iffy graduated from The University of Texas (undergrad and law) and has practiced law for over 15 years. Iffy can be reached by email at email@example.com, her website, LinkedIn, and Instagram @iffyibekweesq.