Thought leadership is a communications component we encourage many of our clients to adopt. It builds credibility, establishes your company and executives as market leaders and encourages you to think ahead of the curve. Alongside op-eds, white papers and other forms of contributed content and sales enablement, speaking engagements are a great way to establish yourself as a thought leader.
Do your homework
Keep a running list of potential speaking engagements and speakers, commonly referred to as a speakers’ bureau. It should include names, titles, biographies, subject matter expertise and potential speaking topics.
Turnaround times can often be short for speaking engagements, so it’s best to have as much content prepared as possible. Doing the research ahead of time will ensure your submissions are thoughtful, organized and will actually further your thought leadership platform.
Know the format for which you are best suited
Speaking engagements can take any number of forms: panels, moderating opportunities, keynotes, one-on-one interviews, long- and short-form, etc. Certain thought leaders may be better suited for hour-long keynotes or presentations, while others might be best leveraged as part of a broader panel. This is also true of the subject matter itself. Understanding your strengths and weaknesses will keep you from trying to do too much and select those opportunities that put you and your brand in the best possible position to succeed.
Use the event to further your brand’s agenda
Speaking engagements are like jobs. With little to no experience, it’s not always wise to be overly selective. At the same time, you don’t want to wind up at a conference or trade show that lacks credibility or attendees.
When you begin to build your personal reputation, it’s important to choose the topics on which you’re most comfortable speaking, that have enough impact to make them worth doing and that pertain to your brand. Once you have a few videos or engagements to point to, you can begin to be more selective.