Something to Say: The value of Speaking Engagements

By Wendy Bulawa Agudelo

31418035_sHow your business can benefit from speaking engagements

Many of our readers have attended trade shows or networking events where interesting and high-profile speakers shared insider tips, sage counsel or plain old good advice. Those speaking opportunities are frequently arranged several months prior to the actual event date. But how do professional business and industry trade associations go about cherry-picking their notable keynote or break-out session speakers? The answer may surprise you since, more often than not, public speaking engagements are arranged and secured by public relations professionals, given our knowledge of how to locate, target and secure proper opportunities.

Location, location, location

Too often, business owners believe they can manage their public speaking programs themselves. The challenge comes in locating correct opportunities and securing them, which is actually not as easy as one might think. Where do you begin? Do you focus exclusively on local business or industry trade associations? Or, do you try to elevate your profile by thinking out of the box? How often should you pursue speaking engagements? Is there a science to uncovering the most targeted, focused events for your industry? The simple answer is: yes.

Prepare for paperwork

Once you locate a speaking opportunity, the next step is to submit your speaker for consideration. This takes a lot of paperwork including a detailed speaker biography or backgrounder, as well as submission of not just one but several detailed concept proposals outlining exactly what the speaker will share. For example, if you operate a restaurant or chain of restaurants, the knowledge you have is both relevant and highly valuable to others who operate within the food industry. Therefore, topic proposals your management team could prepare may include proper oversight of perishable inventory, space-saving solutions for the kitchen, inviting dining room décor or even menu creation.

Build your presentation

Once your speaker’s proposal is accepted, you must create the actual presentation. While some executives enjoy drafting presentations on their own, others prefer that the public relations team create a first draft to ensure that the presentation meets all the defined guidelines (design, timing, length and content).

Give your presentation some PR

A final piece of the overall public speaking process involves basic public relations to ensure that the boardroom, hotel room or even auditorium or convention center is filled to the brim with participants. It’s a piece of the puzzle that many often overlook or forget about, having assumed that event operators would carry out promotion on their own. Unfortunately, this is not always the case.

Public speaking engagements are sterling opportunities to share salient points about your business while also gaining (or furthering) industry credibility. The best resources available on any given topic are the businesspeople who are currently succeeding in that field, so by sharing useful information, public speakers improve not only their industry reputation, but also access an ancillary benefit to public speaking: targeted networking. Preceding or following speaking events, professionals enjoy opportunities to interact with attendees who may be prospective clients or business collaborators. Through speaking events, every business is offered an opportunity to market company ideas or even “test” concepts shared with a highly focused and targeted audience.

To learn more about the benefits of and the numerous opportunities (large and small) available through public speaking, contact Axia Public Relations and inquire about our KeyNoteSM program, designed to identify and secure targeted engagements.


Wendy Bulawa Agudelo has more than 15 years of experience in technology, business, consumer and non-profit public relations. In addition to serving on the Massachusetts Down Syndrome Congress PR Task Force, Wendy enjoys cooking and rooting for her favorite New England teams.

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Topics: Public Relations, Featured

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