Get Yourself Booked as a Speaker at a Community Event
Making presentations to community groups can be an effective way to market your practice. It gives you the opportunity to talk to potential patients in person, allowing them to find out about you and your practice, as well as about the benefits of chiropractic care.
Professionals are in an especially good position to be speakers because their expertise overlaps with areas of public concern, such as healthcare. Even if you lack experience in public speaking, you are a healthcare expert in your local community – and the way to gain experience is to make actual presentations. (See the section below on “Preparing and Rehearsing” for tips on developing your public speaking skills.)
The first step to line up speaking engagements is to identify the groups, organizations and small businesses in your local community that may be in need of occasional speakers for their events or meetings. Look for organizations with small budgets that are anxious to find good speakers who will appear without a fee such as:
- Lion's Club, Kiwanis, Jaycees, Better Business Bureau
- Youth Clubs (4-H, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, Campfire Girls)
- Athletic teams - kids and adults
- Health clubs and recreation centers
- Senior citizen groups
- Women's organizations
- VFW/Legion Halls
- Church groups, parenting groups
- Professional organizations
- Unions, factories/office buildings
- Community employers
- Schools (from elementary to college level)
- Music or theater groups
Letter of Introduction
Once you have your list of organizations, find out the name of the person within each group who is responsible for organizing programs and write a letter of introduction. Referred to as a pitch letter, this letter or email outlines your area of expertise and encourages the organization to allow you to speak. Include a list of topics that would be of interest to their members and choose topics where you have particular expertise or special experience. Give a creative title to each topic and the benefit your audience will derive from your speech.
Also include your credentials and a list of other places you have spoken. Highlight what sets your practice apart. Review your practice marketing position for the thing that makes your practice special or unique. This position can be powerful when weaved into your speech because it reinforces the message of your other marketing efforts.
TIP: Don’t forget to use a P.S. in your letter. It is the most-read portion of any letter and can be used to mention an important benefit of your speech.
Telephone Follow Up
After the letter or email is sent, follow up with a phone call within a week to ask for the booking. Introduce yourself and offer dates and times you will be available. Don't be pushy, but be direct and sell yourself by again stating the variety of topics on which you can speak. Remember, your goal is to meet potential patients and allow them to find out more about you—not to speak on your favorite topic. So offer topics that would be of value to each organization and its members.
Talk to Current Patients
Another great way to get yourself booked as a speaker is to let your current patients know you are available to speak to groups and organizations they’re involved with. Put a notice in your patient website, social media and newsletter as well as on your reception area bulletin board. List the topics you can speak on and your credentials. This can be similar to the introduction letter you sent to community organizations.
You could also offer to furnish refreshments, materials and/or small giveaways. The cost of these items will be a small investment for the goodwill they create within the community and with potential patients. The best way to line up future speaking invitations is though your reputation in the community, so don't be afraid to make some small investments to open doors with local organizations.
Get the Word Out - Publicize Your Speech
After you know what the organization or group expects, it's time to let others in the community know about your presentation. Find out how the group will be publicizing the event and how you can help. Be sure to get permission from the group since they may stipulate that the event is for “members only.” If the group doesn’t object to an open meeting, invite business associates and current patients to attend.
Also, send a media release to your local news organization or community calendar. As long as admittance to your presentation is free, they may publish it. You might want to include an outline of your presentation, your credentials and applicable background material. (For information on how to write Media Releases, see the article on this website).
The best way to line up further speaking invitations is to become known as a speaker. So, invite whomever you can to attend to help build awareness and create a demand for future presentations.
Read more in Part 2 -- How to Choose Public Speaking Topics