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Are You a Rude Guest Speaker? Here’s 3 Things to Stop Doing Now

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Are You a Rude Guest Speaker? Here’s 3 Things to Stop Doing Now

Recently I attended two conferences in one week.  One was full of tech savvy people dressed in hipster clothes; the other was full on corporate, suits and ties the lot.  But both conferences had two things in common… rude guest speakers!

Becoming a guest speaker is sometimes viewed as the pinnacle of your career.  You are seen as an expert in the field, therefore, you have been paid to speak in front of your core target market.  How cool is that?  The biggest worry you have is tripping on stage, being struck dumb in the middle of the presentation or someone falling asleep during your speech, right?  Wrong! The biggest worry you should have is that you will unwittingly loose a client.

Being a guest speaker is no doubt an honour.  People sit glued to what you have to say, may even become inspired to do something after hearing your conversation.  But before you get all caught up in your self-importance stop and think for a minute, the win is not being paid to speak in front of your target market, it is the opportunity to mingle with them and do more business.  You should be viewing the whole conference as a sales gig.

Here are three things you should not do when speaking at a conference:

1. Eat

Well, of course, you are going to eat, but just not during lunch.  Lunch is your time to mingle with your potential clients.  They have just heard your presentation and their energy to engage with you is high.  Going off to lunch and standing in a ring with your fellow guest speakers shows your back to your potential customers.  It is a clear sign that you think you are a cut above the rest and elitist. RUDE! 

Take the time to wander around the lunch group, chat to people who smile at you, make eye contact and have a chat.  Take the time to listen to their problems.  You have the solution for them that is why they approached you.  Make contact, connect with them online and follow them up in the week after the conference.  You will get yourself a client guaranteed.  Did schmoozing with that ring of fellow guests speakers bring you any business from the conference? No, they just gave you a big head.

2. Go Offline

It is so tempting while at a conference also to take the opportunity to go offline and enjoy the surrounds.  Take a little holiday if you will; turn off all your social media and relax.  RUDE!  Again your target customer is energised and ready to engage.  While you were speaking they looked you up on Instagram, Facebook Twitter and  LinkedIn. 

They have researched you further because they are interested in what you do and how you can help them.  They might start to engage with you at the conference by liking a post or commenting on your conference post.  Take this opportunity to create a raving fan. Take a selfie with them, and comment when they post it.  Follow them back, start engaging with your tribe, they are the ones that bring you sales.

3. Be a Seagull – Eat, Speak and Leave

The seagull approach works well for seagulls, eat, poo and fly away, but unless you are Richard Branson forget it.  Being a guest speaker has not put you in his realm.  Speaking at a conference, presenting your knowledge and leaving straight away is just plain RUDE! 

Remember the Seagull; he was hungry, he came down to eat your chips, he shat then flew away and guess what? The next day he had to do it all again; come down to the beach to find more chips just to survive.  If he had hung around, chirped a little, then the chips would have been freely given at the next meal. 

Your clients are the same, they came up to you after the presentation to shake your hand, ready to engage and do business, but you left them cold, walked away and showed your true colours, if you have just invested the time, then and there, you would not have had to go looking for clients the next day.  They were right in front of you ready to buy, and you shunned them, and they did business with the guys who chatted with them over lunch.

Ask me how I know, well during the week after these two conferences I have bought a product from the guest speakers who chatted with me over drinks and lunch, the ones who engaged with me over social media;  stopped for a selfie, then liked the post when I shared the photo. I felt as if I knew them but more importantly, I had grown a trust with them. I trusted them enough to do business with them.   

Don’t let the privilege of being a guest speaker go to your head.  It is not a privilege it is a sales opportunity, Richard Branson knows this, Anthony Robbins knows this, it is high time you learned this.  Don’t let your ego turn you into a conceited a*se in front of your future clients.

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