ABCs of Speaking: Chapter G – Get the Word Out (Your Speaker Sheet)

As we have discussed, speaking is an excellent way to showcase your expertise, meet people, get clients and even get paid just for your speech. In order to get speaking engagements, you first need to get booked and that means you need a speaker sheet. A speaker sheet is a PDF® or electronic document that is your marketing brochure to get you booked as a speaker.

If you are a new speaker start with a one-page document. If you have been speaking for a while you may want to go to two pages. This speaker sheet can be downloaded from your website and you will send it out via email to people you want to book you for speaking.

You may want to have some printed on high quality paper to send out for higher end bookings or to have available at your events when someone says they would like to book you.

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If You are a Professional Speaker

Your Speaker Sheet Will be a Key to

Even be Considered for a Booking

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If you are a professional speaker your speaker sheet will be a key to even be considered for a booking. If you are a speaker who uses speaking for marketing having a speaker sheet will get you booked time and time again over other people who do what you do and say they speak but do not have a speaker sheet. This will differentiate you from every other consultant who says they want to speak. This is key.

Decide what you are going to talk about and choose a topic that interests the groups where your potential strategic alliances gather. For example, if you want strategic alliances for women in leadership, you could do a talk on Five Secrets for Chairing the Perfect Board Meeting.

What to include in your speaker sheet.

  • Catchy benefit-focused title at the top of the page. Start your speaker sheet with a catchy phrase or a phrase that clearly captures the benefit of your speech. Emphasize what audience members will get. Here are three examples of titles clients of mine use on their speaker sheets: “Becoming Great with Money”, “How to Add an Hour of Productivity Every Day” or “How to Look Like a Million Dollars on a Budget.”

Here is the big rookie mistake I see all the time. People put their names in huge letters at the top of their speaker sheet. I guess they are thinking of a Broadway show marquee, because we all have a desire to see our name in lights. However, most of us are not yet a household name and your name is not enough to captivate the meeting planner and catch his or her attention. That is why you go with a benefit focused title.

  • Professional photo

Invest in a professional photo session. It is okay to do a little touch up, but do not overdo it as you still want to look like your picture. You want a photo you love and are thrilled to put out there. If you have action shots then even better, use one of these if you are doing a two paged speaker sheet. And remember to update your picture on a fairly regular basis. Nothing turns off someone more than a speaker picture that was clearly taken twenty years ago. Make sure any photos you include on your speaker sheet are a minimum of 300 dpi resolution if your are going to print them. Lower resolution photos are fine for online (72 dpi typically), but not suitable for print purposes.

  • Bio that describes you as a speaker

In addition to your credentials, make sure you include a couple of sentences about your presentation style. For example, ‘Sheila is a dynamic and high-energy presenter who provides an interactive program that keeps the audience engaged.’ Or ‘David is a down to earth presenter who makes tech-speak easy to understand and gives audiences ideas they can apply immediately to improve marketing online.’ This is another key aspect to your speaker sheet that is often overlooked. The purpose of your speaker sheet is only to get you booked. Be sure the language of it describes your speaking style and how the audience will react.

  • List the titles of your talks

A list of topics you speak on and the benefits of each topic. Start with no more than three. One or two titles are fine also. Too many speeches on your sheet is another beginner mistake. If you are a professional speaker, presenting for quite a while then having more topics is fine. Be sure that your talks match your branding, products and services. This way when you make an offer or ever let people know they can purchase your book, the title of your book is the same as the title of your talk.

  • Paragraph descriptions or bullet point descriptions

Underneath each title discuss the benefits audience members will receive by listening to your talk. Tell them not what you are going to discuss but instead the value audience members will take away from what you have discussed. Make sure your language is clear and specific on what they will take away. This will help you get booked more.

  • A list of speaking clients (if you have them)

List the names or companies, associations and organizations you have spoken for before. Make sure they match the kinds of organizations you want to book you. For example, if your aim is to get booked at major corporations do not include the churches or community organizations you presented to. If you want to speak to more churches and community groups then you would create a different speaker sheet for that.

  • Up to six testimonials from groups you have spoken to (if you have them.)

After you do a talk ask your contact for a statement describing what a great job you did and how valuable your talk was for the group. With the testimonial be sure to include their name and organization or company.

We want the speaker booker to think that you are a great match for their group. That is why the same instruction applies here as we mentioned for the client list. Only include testimonials from organizations like the places you want to get booked. For example, on my speaker sheet to get booked to speak at business women’s conferences I only have testimonials from other business women’s conferences.

Another challenge I see with new speakers is that they include participant or audience member testimonials. That is not what you want here. Those you would use for a public seminar that people sign up for individually. Stick with the program chairs, presidents, conference organizers for your speaker sheet testimonials.

  • Your contact information at the bottom of the page

List your email, web-site and phone on the bottom of the sheet so you can easily be contacted.

  • Be sure to get a professional design

I see so many speaker sheets that are well written however they have been sent out to bookers without the benefit of a professional design. Make sure you invest a little money to make your speaker sheet look great and be consistent with your branding. You want to make sure you look like an experienced, professional speaker. Without a professional design that does not happen.

In addition to your speaker sheet, you also want a speaker page on your website to position you as a speaker, which is key if you want people to call you to speak. This would look just like your speaker sheet only be a page on your site that potential bookers can go through. Do have your speaker sheet on this page for downloading.

Follow these key elements to get your speaker sheet done. Once that happens you are ready to get booked. Put together your list of organizations to contact and send an email out with your speaker sheet attached and watch yourself get booked over and over.