Improve Your Profile by Speaking At Events
Everyone wants to hire an expert, a professional that will provide invaluable advice and propel their business forward.
Speaking at events is one of the best ways to demonstrate your expertise and improve your profile.
It’s great for many reasons:
- Positioning yourself as an expert.
- Increasing your personal and company brand.
- Demonstrating expertise in a niche area.
- Generating new clients.
- Building other useful business relationships
And fortunately for accountants, event organisers are constantly on the lookout for them to speak at a range of events: accounting specific, general business and subject specific.
Understanding the Events Business
Most events companies make money primarily through selling stands to exhibitors – to sell stands they need attendees – to attract attendees they need great speakers.
This is where you come in!
Let’s think about events from the perspective of organisers; the more you can help them make their event a success the more likely you are to get speaking slots.
Event Organisers’ Big Need
In short, organisers need content to make their event a hit – and this content is hard to find!
What organisers do have:
- A sales team to sell exhibitor space.
- A marketing team to attract attendees
- A good understanding of what will attract exhibitors and attendees
- Not to mention sleepless nights worrying about getting enough exhibitors, sponsors and delegates
What organisers need:
- Speakers to provide credibility and a reason to attend.
- New and refreshing content.
- A diverse range of speakers.
- Events that reflect the industry
And this is where you as accountants come in. Ready to offer the event credibility, knowledge and insights.
What Events are there for Accountants?
Events exclusive for the accounting profession are great for networking and benchmarking products and services for your sector. Getting a speaking gig at these events is excellent for developing credibility.
National & International:
- Accountex – 1-2nd May, ExCel, London
- Accounting Live – 21st-22nd November, SEC, Glasgow
- 2020 Conference – 22nd November QEII Centre, London
However, you might find less competition for speakers at more regional events:
If you consider yourself an expert in a certain niche, i.e. FinTech or Brexit. If so, approach these types of events and tell them what content you can bring.
Specific Subject Accounting Events:
If you peel back one more layer and you’ll find trade shows, conferences, seminars and exhibitions for every sector under the sun. Best of all, these events are promoted as helping professionals and businesses launch and grow. Therefore, accounting and finance education is paramount.
You might not have found your sector niche yet, or you might be focusing on a particular city or region – drill down, look at association events, ask yourself what is there in your county? You’ll soon find an event which you like the sound of and which needs speakers! Below are five examples of events – there are many, many more.
- National Landlord Investment Show
- Portsmouth Business Expo
- The Independent Hotel Show
- The Self-Publishing Conference
So, we’ve established that there are certainly enough events out there who need speakers. Let’s think about how we approach them.
Think About Your Brand
Before we approach these organisers, we need to know exactly who you are. There are many ways to stand out – if you’re adventurous one fun way is to create a fun spin.
Are you going to be the European Accountant on Twitter? The Queen of Finance? The Smartest Dressed Accountant on LinkedIn? The Facebook Accountant? The Old School Accountant? The Xero Guru? Be whoever you feel comfortable as, but remember what content the events will be looking for, describe yourself as an:
Examples in other sectors on Twitter:
@physiohead “Specialist Falls Physiotherapist/ Interest in Vestibular Rehab/ Adding life to years not years to life/ SoMe for #CPD evangelist/ Incurable student/ #viewsmyown
@lincarson “Baker. Scientist. Disruptor. Feminist. Industry speaker. Be part of the baking community at @BAKERpedia #baking #bakers #bread #startup #womanled
@floodmary “Passionate Flood Resilience Campaigner. I’ve been flooded & survived. CEO of knowyourfloodrisk.co.uk
@singing_midwife> “Lover of music, food & all things midwifery. Partner to Darren, mummy to Tiarnan, Oisin & Cadhla.
You don’t have to be a CEO or MBE but never be afraid to position yourself as something interesting. If event organisers think that it will add value to their event then they will refer to you like that to generate interest – it works for both of you.
Approaching Event Organisers
The next question is, how do you get yourselves onto the radar of these organisers who need you? Don’t wait for them to come to you; they probably won’t. BUT, if you can add value to their event, then they will certainly listen and consider it. If you’re a natural on the telephone then call them up and tell them what you can offer, if not an e-mail, LinkedIn or Twitter approach is fine.
Always aim for the top, typically the Event Director looks after P&L for the event or will have an overview mentality – this is exactly where you need to be introducing yourself. The event website will have all the necessary contact details of the team and sometimes will extend to the MD or CEO.
Prepare to Speak
So you’ve been given a slot to speak now need to start getting you ready to deliver the best possible seminar. We’ll leave the content to you, obviously keep it topical and remember that you are the expert on your topic so don’t be afraid to show that. But regarding how to put together a presentation:
- No one expects perfection immediately so this is very useful ‘Presenting & Public Speaking Tips – how to improve skills & confidence’
- Watch this quick video on ‘How to open and close presentations? Presentation Lesson from Mark Powell’
- Great tips here ‘4 essential body language tips from a world champion public speaker’
At the Event:
- Introduce yourself to the organisers on arrival, be positive and don’t be a problem in any way for them (they will love you for this).
- Check the seminar room or hall. Ensure your device matches any AV equipment (if it doesn’t then the organisers will have a device or plan to help – they don’t want one of their seminars that they have promised, tweeted, printed to cancel).
- Anyone you meet at the event in advance of your seminar, tell them that how you can help them and that you will be speaking later. They might then go on and tell other people to come and see you speak as well.
- Tell your social media channels that you are there and will be speaking. Tag the organisers who will be quick to share this with all of their followers, building your profile before you’ve even spoken.
- Include the event hashtag for the same reasons as above.
Towards the end of your seminar tell everyone where they can find you afterwards. You might have a stand or be going to the bar afterwards; this will maintain your crowd for a lot longer than the original seminar.
- Whatever the event, be sure to have a special offer to entice your listeners to become clients. You’ve got a captive audience who have just listened to you as an expert, so there is no better time to get a form of commitment from them.
- Take advantage of any post-event drinks or networking party
- If there is a day, two approach the organisers and offer to deliver your seminar again the following day. Someone will drop out, and the organisers will be frantically running around looking to fill that slot
So, you’ve delivered a great seminar, you’ve got a solid list of new potential clients, your profile is growing, and your position within this sector is well on its way to becoming central. That’s great, but the job is not complete. There are still numerous opportunities that you can utilise so let’s make sure we don’t waste any of them.
The organisers will be revelling in the success of their event and keen to tell their world and yours just how good it was. They may well have videos or images of the presentation so ask if they can share it with you:
The organisers will already be taking bookings for next year’s event, so this is the prime time for you to secure your place. Get the commitment there and then but be sure to schedule a follow-up meeting for a few weeks down the line.
In the meeting, you can not only get useful feedback but also develop your relationship with the organisers. As you’ve already proved yourself, you can have conversations about what else they do and how you could potentially get involved with these options as well. They may be keen to recommend you to others within their network and who knows, maybe even help with their accounts.
It might not all work out perfectly; you might get a knock-back at any stage, don’t worry, because:
- There will always be a next year for the event.
- There will always be a new event, similar event or challenger event coming soon.
- Your content can always be updated and improved.
- Regulations and trends will change offering new opportunities for experts.
As an accountant, you are an integral part of any business irrespective of size or sector. And although speaking at an event may not be something you’ve considered before, it can be a great differentiator.