Speaking Engagements: Great for Client Development

Clear & Convincing Feature Article

Speaking Engagements

Speaking engagements are an effective way to connect with potential clients. Presenting on topics in your practice area that address the concerns of your target audience help to establish you as a leader in your field. Posting the material on your website and your publication page of the SBM Member Directory and uploading the video of the presentation extends your visibility.

Speaking at an event also gives your firm exposure in areas it seeks to expand or develop. The firm name is published on brochures and promotional materials distributed by the organizers. Attendees will also benefit by learning about you and your firm. They can interact with you after the speech—the first step to a new business relationship.

Finding the Right Organization

First, decide whom you wish to attract. What type of law do you practice? Who needs that service? Next, ask yourself which organizations are those people likely to join? Search for conferences, forums, or seminars held by organizations, associations, industry trades, professional groups, academic institutions, and think tanks that relate to their interests. Join organizations that interest you. Often, organizations look for speakers who can contribute to the group.

Getting on the Speaker Track

  • Select a geographic area: Do you want national exposure or are you thinking more local or regional? Or the international route—after all, Canada is just across the bridge.
  • Create topics that fit your practice area and the group. Provide information the attendees can use, such as how-to speeches or discussions about legislative updates or legal trends.
  • Determine the speaker-selection process and get the event calendar.
  • Contact target groups and find the the event planner or chair of the planning committee. If this isn't your strength, hire a public relations professional to do it for you.
  • Have your proposal ready. Offer to write an article for their newsletter and join them on social media.

If those efforts don't create results, you can go the do-it-yourself route by hosting your own continuing education event or business development seminar to connect with your target client base. Those events provide you and your firm networking opportunities with potential clients in a small-group setting.

Delivering Your Message

Do you struggle to speak in front of groups? Here are some tips:

  • Give the audience something to look at, such as a PowerPoint presentation. That way, they are not always looking at you.
  • Give them something to do. For example, write questions on note cards you provide with complimentary pencils that have your name and phone number. Studies show keeping hands busy improves listening.
  • If you're prone to stage fright, try some acting lessons. Local colleges and theater groups will be glad to help.

Speaking engagements are worth your time and effort. They are opportunities for business development, marketing, and public relations. It's time to add them to your marketing plan.

Roberta GubbinsRoberta Gubbins has served as the editor of the Ingham County Legal News. Since leaving the paper, she provides services as a ghostwriter editing articles, blogs, and e-blasts for lawyers and law firms. She is the editor of Briefs, the Ingham County Bar Association e-newsletter, and The Mentor, SBM Master Lawyers Section newsletter.

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