What You Lose by Speaking on a Stage

power of analyticsThe other night, this tweet was in my stream:

@CQDev: How #iBeacons and other sensor technology lead the way for dynamic in-store shopping experiences: http://t.co/kbN9VQt6XW

Being a web analytics expert & consumer behavior researcher/analyst (in a former life), AND proudly having a failed fashion tech startup in my portfolio of projects, this tweet called out to me.  While that tweet is not directly the subject of this post, it is indirectly.

Retailers are striving to compete with their online counterparts. by understanding their customers and offering them the same types of offers based on their behavior and interests.   (When you have a minute, make sure to go back and check out the story link in that tweet above.  But only after you read the below about what you lose by speaking solely on a live stage.)

I am going to make a BOLD statement which may rub people the wrong way: you limit yourself, and your (real) understanding of your audience, by limiting yourself to speaking on stage.  The Toastmaster Accredited Speaker (AS) program requires you to give 25 paid speeches before they will consider you for Accreditation. It’s a high honor.  The thought is that 25 paid speeches ‘speaks’ to your speaking proficiency. But excluded from consideration of proficiency are teleseminars, teleclasses, and webinars.

So how do you get paid gigs faster, so you can get your AS faster? OR – if you are not going after the AS designation, how would you like to hone your message faster, understand more about your audiences, learn how audiences are reacting to your material, and create faster success? Do webinars. Yes, webinars!  Webinars allow you to not only do events without having to find a venue, but allow you to prospect, establish, demonstrate, and understand.

Aiming to speak purely from the stage, you do not know who is in your audience, you have to learn to ‘sell’ the benefit of joining your list to get their email, or you have to hold a raffle, or develop product to sell in the back, or make sure to exchange business cards after.  A lot of hard work.

The real  power of webinars  and teleseminars exists behind the presentation. Beyond your real speaking prowess.

The power resides in what you will get to find out:

  1. about your audience,
  2. about their behaviors,
  3. about their likes / dislikes….

…the ability to craft your presentations to what your audience wants, to create stronger speeches, to create presentations for specific audiences, and to build your list faster.  You can determine who’s a warm lead, you name it!  There is tons of information waiting to be mined.

By starting with the webinar route,  you can get the following kinds of info:

  1. an automatic list of people who signed up for the webinar – no having to ask for emails
  2. you can send out surveys to those individuals to gather more information
  3. you can tell who didn’t join the webinar, and offer them some other way to connect with you, or purchase,
  4. you can determine who’s just joining your webinars for ‘free’ info
  5. you can determine what interests the people in your lists and your attendees
  6. you can create sub lists by looking at who signs up for different webinar topics
  7. you can test which topic, hook line, marketing works the best
  8. you can tell who’s referring the most, or is the most profitable referral,
  9. you can tell where your presentation lags by who ‘leaves’ or disengages
  10. you can tell who left your webinar and when
  11. you can monitor engagement, interest, and other things by the comments and sharing box
  12. you can do polls during your presentation to gather more info on needs etc.
  13. you can tell where your leads originated from
  14. you can tell what content and copy resonates with which people
  15. and you can test new material and marketing to see what works
  16. you can tell who signs up for a product or a sale
  17. who shares your events so you can recognize them later as influencers
  18. you can identify your ‘regulars’ and craft specific messages / deals for them

Can you get all of that information from the stage? Hardly.

So as you hit the pavement, and send information via email, as you work to get paid gigs to build your portfolio for the AS program or your wallet, imagine just what you could be creating and capitalizing on by doing webinars and online events.  Looking at how you can increase your odds for success with a 1 to many approach.

NOW – before I can completely convince you to do webinars – we must address an obvious hitch.  A hitch which also exists with doing paid presentations as well:  how do you get people to your webinars/events?  We must make an assumption that as you are hitting the pavement looking for paid gigs, that you are also adding people to your network!  We must make the assumption that you are set up on Linkedin and effectively networking on and offline.  If you are, and as an Emerging Speaker, you had better be, this is where your first audience for your first webinars.  (If you are not – contact me immediately!) Within my Top 10 Tips to Build Your Speaker Success post, I first open with the numbers it takes to fill seats (eye opening), and then in tips #1 and #2 with suggestions on what you need to do to start building a list and getting some people on your first webinars, so you can begin evaluating some kind of results.  (Also, don’t forget participating in your Speakers Bureau webinars, so you can include an “if you liked what I presented here, please contact with me here… or … if you’d like more information on this topic, then sign up here for a free workbook ….” statement etc.)

Just think about what your own little data system could be telling you about your topics and material.  Or the information products you could be making from those online events, and selling PRIOR to getting paid speaking engagements (which, by the way, increase your chances of getting paid, and more paid gigs).  The power of webinars lies in the power of analytics – which provide the keys to knowing and reaching your audiences more strategically. 

Can you now see, and understand, all the things you are losing by aiming to speak solely from the stage?

Mastering a webinar is an absolutely critical tool in a speaker’s arsenal, especially for the powerful analytics and data it provides.

Would you rather be going the old fashioned route:  mastering the stage and the in person audience where it’s easier to feed off of the audience energy, but entails much harder work to get their email and their sale? Or would you rather create an online experience where others feed off of your energy and enthusiasm, and voluntarily give you their email to join your list?

Don’t leave information and money on the table….

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One Response to “What You Lose by Speaking on a Stage”

  1. Rae-Ann Ruszkowski
    February 15, 2014 at 11:45 pm #

    It’s all about quickly, and easily, finding what resonates with your customer, your key audience, so that your paid presentations are coming across even stronger, and you can command even higher speaking fees, because your webinars can serve as your ‘gym’ for getting in shape for the stage.