Hey Friend…the number one speaking question I always get is “how do I pick my topic and target audience?” and it really is easy peasy with these four strategies:
1. Assess yourself and look for trends—when I first started speaking two years ago, I took a million assessments. I took a bird test, a color test, a brain test, a strength finders test, MBTI, DISC, True Color’s and the like. Then, I looked for trends. I printed my results and circled the top three skills and strengths from all of them. Then…I looked for trends again. And I found that I was a wooer. Someone who enjoyed meeting people, motivating people, talking, speaking and leading. With this in mind, and a few Google searches, it was a no-brainer that I would speak about connecting and relationship building. What about you? Use some, or all, of the tests that I’ve taken to assess yourself and look for trends. It’s a great way to pick your topic and target audience. Because…once you know the topic…all you have to do is find an audience that wants to hear about it.
2. Start with your own problems and how you’ve solved them—transactional networking has never been my thing. I despise asking people what they do and I hate collecting business cards too. And I do mean hate…most of them end up lost, in a pocket, in a bag or in some crack and crevice of my car (or desk) never to be found again. But, the moment I reinvented networking for myself was the moment it did not feel like work. It got easier and even enjoyable, which allowed me to take my own learnings from my own experiences, and this became the foundation for my speaking topic. What about you? What problems have you had, how have you solved them and what abc and 123 strategies can you create to teach others how to solve it too?
3. Listen to your family and friends—what three to five things do people always ask you for, like always always? Things they ask you about or ask you to do. And by people, I am referring to your family, your friends, your colleagues, your peers, your classmates and everyone in between. Me personally, before I started speaking, people were always asking me how to network authentically because I was known as a connector. I was also known as The Plug (someone who connected people to people and people to resources). So I used to, and still do, get a lot of questions about networking, relationship building and connecting. Now, it’s your turn. Make a list of the things your family, friends, peers and colleagues are always asking, and the demographics of who is asking. This will give you a better sense of what you can speak about and for who.
4. Build a better mouse trap—networking is not new but every time I saw someone speak about networking, or read a book or article on it, the person doing the speaking and the writing never looked like me. And to be honest, the content out there was kind of boring—so I built a better mouse trap. I inserted my own approach to networking into the conversation, my own personality, and started creating content that was modern and more relevant to my demographic. A demographic who looked like me—women, women of color, people of color and millennials—and from there, my topic and target audience was born. What mouse trap can you perfect and how can you insert your unique personality, demographic and perspective into it?
Well friend…we have come to the end. But don’t forget…it takes 21 days to form a habit and speaking is no different. So start your speaking biz today and be on your way to getting paid.