A great way to spend any morning is to sit in a room of people speaking about what they love to do – and when that room has a panel of Speaker Bureau Owners, Speaker Managers, and a woman who has established one of America’s largest peak bodies for Event Planners and Managers, you probably should switch your phone to silent, be completely present, and ready to learn.

Direct, insightful, and humorous, their advice was simple. And applicable to every element of the business and speaking world we have chosen to inhabit.

1. When is the best time to start building a relationship with you?

The best time is always now. Not when you have decided it is time to pitch and you are ready to be listed. Hang out where we are – at conferences like this – have a conversation with me if you see me in the hallway. Touch base with me now and again. Do not put me on your email list. Don’t flick me your business card. If you see me at an event after the first time we meet, don’t hesitate to walk up and say hello.

2. Why don’t I get bookings once I am listed with you?

A speaker bureau is not your only channel to market. It is part of your marketing plan, particularly when you are just building you career. Use it as credibility to leverage marketing, as well as doing what so many forget – keep building the relationship with us after we have listed you; keep updating us on developments in your speaking career; ensure your material with us is current.

3. What are you really looking for?

All on the panel agreed integrity and a gut feel that they can work with you, that they can see something in you, was integral to relationship building and being successful for everyone involved.

But the basics included:

• Not being a diva

• Not having a rider that was pages long

• Having deep expertise

• The ability to engage and entertain

• Great marketing collateral (including photo gallery)

• One sheets

• Bio and MC Introduction packs

• Short and full-length speaker reels

And absolutely key for all was a speaker’s reel – not a sizzle reel. They want to see you in action in a range of settings – in an intimate boardroom, a mid-size workshop, a seminar, speaking from stages to 100’s if not 1000’s. They want positioning and testimonials, but none of that matters if you don’t get to the core of your message fast, and show how they can trust you to engage a room, that you will deliver the audience experience their clients are looking for.

Their exact words were ‘we don’t want a sizzle reel; we want to see you sizzle on that screen’.

4. How do we pitch to you successfully?

You don’t. Two words which stopped the entire room in its tracks.

You don’t. You be so good that we notice you, then we find you.

We’ll notice you if you are great at what you do

We’ll start hearing from our own clients about how good you were at an event they were at. Our speakers will start telling us about this great speaker who was on the same program as them. You build serious traction with a social media following – on YouTube, Facebook, or LinkedIn. You start getting bookings that we expected our speakers to get.

Be so d^mn good that we come to find you.

5. And this is Mine – Stop consuming and start producing.

The ONE common thread I have noticed in both the globally successful speakers I get to meet and have a conversation with, and the phenomenal entrepreneurs that I meet from around the world is that they are not spending their time consuming other people’s content.

They are seeking out conversations, knowledge and connections that help them shape and lift their view. They are finding people to delegate the doing – which includes the social and digital platforms – and concentrating on creating the content that will impact and influence the lives of the people they touch.

They are not waiting for approval, creating focus groups, nor asking their audience ‘what do you think I should be doing?’.

They are honing their craft. Lifting their performance. Pursuing conversation, creativity and connection.

They are making sure they are so d^mn good that people can’t help but find them.

So I ask you now, what are you doing to be found?

Originally published here.