of the fastest ways to become established as a regional expert and life coach is
through the process of offering community workshops and seminars. I’ve spoken
to hundreds of these groups through the years and have made some wonderful
friends, as well as experienced some remarkable opportunities by volunteering
time to add value to others. Yes, I said volunteer, since you don’t get paid in
dollars to give a community speech, but you can be well paid in other ways.
How? Through influence, network, multiple referrals into your coaching business,
opportunities to give full fee presentations to other groups and wider media
exposure, especially on the Internet.
there’s another huge benefit to your coaching practice- massive amounts of free
advertising. Consider how much you would be willing to pay in advertising
dollars to be featured as a coaching expert in front of a group of key decision
makers, successful business people or community leaders? I suspect a lot
because of the incredible return on investment of being in front of key people
who have the capacity to hire you or refer you to other key people in the
community who can. Treat these opportunities like a public audition that
features you in front of 15-30 people who can meet you and learn more about your
coaching skills and expertise. And the best news is that you don’t have to pay
to be in front of these community leaders as a speaker, but you do have to be
strategic if you want to use this platform to promote your coaching business.
are dozens of opportunities to give community presentations every day in your
backyard if you just know where to look. These events often take place during a
breakfast or lunch time on a weekday all over your town. Consider the following
as a sample of the type of groups in your area that need to hear from
professional coaches to get your thinking started about targeting the key
groups that are looking for someone just like you as a potential speaker for their
groups such as a chamber of commerce or Female executives
or Civic Clubs, like Rotary, Sertoma, Lions, or Kiawanas
groups, like nurses, interns, residents or hospital committees
groups, like BNI, Focus International or Babblebee
based groups, like churches, ministries or the retreats they sponsor
groups, such as the American Heart Association or Red Cross
or Political Action Committees, (PAC’s) focused on issues
Services, like police, fire,
clubs, like the Junior League, Curves or MADD
groups, like master swimmers, soccer clubs or hunting groups
groups, like parent/teacher organizations or school volunteers
Orders, like the Elks, Eagles, Moose or Fraternal Order of Police
groups, usually found at senior centers or retirement centers
groups, sponsored by churches, Youth for Christ or Jr. Achievement
groups, especially young parents such as Mothers of Preschoolers
Associations- which requires a longer explanation, since there are over 22,000
professional trade associations in the United States.
of these trade associations have a national, state and local chapter pushing
the number of professional associations into the multiple thousands in every
region of the country! Each level has to have a speaker at every event and
writers for their monthly newsletters and websites.
creates a HUGE opportunity for communicators to make a positive difference. If
your coaching background is in education, look for teachers associations. If
it’s in real estate, look for realtors or brokers associations. If it’s in
coaching the caregivers who reach out to elderly loved ones, look for agencies
on aging or the professional associations that care for the aged. Remember that
your coaching flows out of your life story so whatever areas of experience you
have had really identifies which groups to target.
don’t have enough time to speak for every group, but you will have the time of
your life if you can get in front of the right trade association and knock
their socks off with a great presentation. Plus, at the local level these are
always going to be free talks, but if you can ‘wow’ your audience, you can
often be suggested to speak at the national trade association’s annual meeting
and they do pay speakers at that level. So it pays to always speak as if you
were giving the most important talk of your life. Excellence always comes back
to bless you after it blesses your audience.
groups need your input as a coach and they will benefit from your expertise, so
when you consider that your coaching business needs the exposure, it’s a
perfect fit. Let me challenge you to begin searching now to find the groups
where you can make the biggest impact and once you have identified key groups
to target then make some calls to see who’s in charge of scheduling speakers to
begin the process.
do you find them? Search out your local newspapers under community events, do
web searches on specific topics, or ask around to see who belongs to community
groups, which are always looking for effective communicators.
are a few important principles to keep in mind as you begin to reach out to
make a positive difference using the strategy of community seminars that serve
others while positioning you as a coaching expert.
1) It’s not about marketing- it’s about the message
goal isn’t to market you, your book or your coaching services… it’s about the
message to help answer people’s questions, solve their problems and basically
give information to help make their day or week go a little better. You want to
give as much user-friendly content away in your presentation as possible. If it
‘smells’ like selling- it won’t work. You have to really care about your
audience and helping make their lives work better. To quote motivational
speaker Zig Ziglar, “You can get anything
you want, if you help enough other people get what they want.” If you have
a book, you could use it as a door prize. If you have business cards or
coaching brochures, you can leave them in the back for after your presentation.
technique is to offer a special coaching report via email in exchange for a
business card or email opt-in. This rapid follow up builds your e-list, (which should NEVER be shared or rented in
my opinion to respect the privacy of those who trust you), while showing
that you are a professional who believes in giving as much away as possible to
build value into every presentation you give. You can build in a very mild
marketing follow up, but only after giving a ‘killer’ presentation that adds
greater value to each member of the audience. Remember, if you ‘wow’ them, they
will find a way to find you for their future events or for professional
coaching. Mostly give a great speech and somewhere have a business card, or
memorable way to share your website with the audience and then let the power of
your presentation plant the seeds that will grow into them remembering you for
their next paid event.
2) Build on your communication strengths
you are passionate about a particular subject, then this is your place to
shine, however, if you aren’t really strong on a given topic, then stay away
from it. Talk about how to solve problems in the areas where you can make the
greatest difference as a coach. Usually this will come out of your current career,
or an avocation that you really enjoy discussing. If you are building on a
strength the writing and speaking will come easy, and your sincerity will come
through to show your audience that you are a coaching expert they can trust to
add value to their lives. If you love to tell stories, then build on that
strength, if your style is more instructional, then create an interactive
hand-out to make it a training time of greater learning that will highlight
your coaching expertise while adding as much high content material as possible.
3) Focus on creative topics to catch your audience
great topics will connect you rapidly to your audience. Think of your coaching
expertise then create a topic to match. For instance, “Avoiding financial ruin,
getting out of a bad relationship, secrets of living to be 100, fast ways to
regain health and wellness, prevention of disease, how to stay out of therapy,
when to kick your kids out for good, how speed reading creates lasting wealth,
recession proofing your business, how to gain a #1 ranking on Google…” and so
on. Basically use a great title to excite your audience that it’s going to be a
fun time of learning. Another technique I like to use is a title/sub-title
process to capture the right and left hemispheres of the brain, (logical/rational vs. emotional/creative).
instance, title- “Relationship Renewal” (right hemisphere), sub-title- “How to recover, rebuild and
renew with the people you care about most.” (left
hemisphere, which is often about a lengthier description of ‘how to’ do what it
is you have described in your main title). This way you catch the attention
of a much wider audience and your specific topic keeps your own thoughts in
line for a more powerful presentation. Remember, you can often give the exact
same speech, since you will be going from club to club or group to group, so
you can strengthen your message every time you give it.
4) Be professional and be prepared
early, know that frequently you may not get the full time you were allotted due
to other business the club may be taking care of, so be very flexible. The more
prepared you are ahead of time, the easier you can ‘edit’ on the fly to end on
time, (which is important since people on
a tight schedule will actually get up and leave in order to stay on their
schedules. You must finish on time, no matter when you get started). Have a
printed introduction in large print to give to the meeting planner that
outlines your coaching credentials as an expert and encourage them to read it
aloud ahead of time to get comfortable sharing this important information to
let the audience know of your background and expertise.
are a great way to reinforce your message, as well as add your contact
information at the bottom of the sheet. (I’ve
found that people will keep these for years if you 3- hole punch them or print
on pre-drilled paper, which adds greater value to the sheet by suggesting that
it’s important enough to take home and put into a notebook). If you have
professional marketing material that features your coaching practice, to leave at
a back table, that’s great, but in this communication setting the main strategy
is to give an amazing talk first and foremost. I suggest dressing one level
above your audience and be as polished as you can be for maximum impact since
you really don’t get a second chance to make a first impression.
5) Give a great talk and get a lot of great PR as a Coach
you are comfortable with the process and are giving great presentations on a
regular basis you can leverage your talks several ways that bring in new
opportunities by taking your message to new audiences. Ask if you can get a
professionally recorded or video-taped copy your presentation if the group has
this capability. This recorded message can be turned into a new CD, podcast,
DVD or online webinar. These recordings could be turned into bonus items to add
greater value to your website, or stand alone coaching products that you can
add to your shopping cart of online resources for purchase by other groups.
quoted by the media, (especially if you
send out press releases ahead of time which can be done with online services
that offer free press releases), since your local newspapers and television
stations have to fill news time and a clever topic given in a public seminar
can often lead to media quotes which are quite valuable in establishing you as
a regional expert. And don’t forget to ask that someone takes your picture with
a digital camera while you are talking, so that you have some ‘action shots’ to use on your website,
or with your blog of recent presentations.
more you think ahead on how to leverage your community talk into a great
community event, the more likely you will receive positive public relations and
on-going referrals into your ‘day
business’. Community workshops add
value to everyone involved. To you, to your audience and to those who will meet
you in the future as a coach because they heard about someone who cared enough
to take their message to the marketplace to share with others. Do that long
enough and you’ll be the busiest professional coach in your region… and it all
started with a free speech!
dare you to be the coach who adds the greatest value in your region by sharing
the message entrusted to you with the most people possible. And then I look
forward to hearing the success stories of how free speeches turned into fee for
service coaching because you cared enough to tell your story to some people
looking for answers. Get to it!
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About the author- Dwight Bain is dedicated to helping people achieve
greater results. He is the executive director of the International Christian
Coaching Alliance, (www.ICCAonline.net)
a Nationally Certified Counselor, Certified Life Coach and Certified Family Law
Mediator in practice since 1984 with a primary focus of managing major change.
He partners with media, major corporations and non-profit organizations to make
a positive difference in our culture.