Getting to Best

by Derek Featherstone

This is the third article in a series of articles on Getting Paid Speaking Gigs. If you missed it, check out 3 Simple Approaches to Finding Speaking Opportunities.

You’re on the right path to figuring out what makes you unique as a business when you can identify what you’re best at doing. The same is true for speaking. If you want to get speaking gigs and get paid for it, you need to bring something unique to the table.

Here’s my example: I get asked to speak at conferences all over the world where web designers and developers gather. Because I have a load of experience testing, designing and developing web sites so that they can be used easily by everyone, including people with disabilities.

And that’s pretty unique on its own. But there’s more. In addition to building and designing sites and applications, we’ve got 12 years of experience also helping people fix the problems–not just identifying them.

But wait – there’s more! (Bleh – that made me fell like an info-mercial)

I’m also a teacher. And having been a teacher, a developer, and an accessibility consultant-type means that I have the experience that allows me to speak to all team members in a way that is meaningful to them. I can speak code to the developers. I can speak timeline, resources and dollars to managers. I can speak… designery to designers.

For whatever reason, that’s a skill that I have picked up and that leads to a significant number of speaking engagements. That’s a big part of what makes me unique. For me:

Subject matter expertise + ability to cross roles + significant experience doing what you’re speaking about + teaching ability = paid speaking gigs

And you?

What makes you unique? What experiences have you had that give you unique insights that you can share? And if you don’t have significant expertise in the area in which you’d like to speak, what are you going to do to get it?

How do you Get to Best? If you can figure that out, you’re taking the right steps to getting paid as a speaker.

What to do next:

  1. Determine what subject matter/topic you want to speak about
  2. Can you figure out what different types of people need to understand to relate it to their job roles?
  3. List at least 5 jobs/contracts/gigs you’ve had that demonstrate you’ve done the things you want to talk about

The next step is all about being able to teach it better. That’s why you’re reading this site, right? (He says, hopefully!)

May 17th, 2012

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