As we learn and grow as people and especially as professionals, it’s important to use discernment in everything we do.
Often this means trusting when something is a clear YES or a clear NO (even if, at first, it seemed like a good idea). It all comes down to business boundaries.
There are several telltale signs that something will be a good fit (or not). I’ve learned to trust my intuition, give myself permission to course correct and do so without explanation (because often the explanation is a form of coaching someone who already isn’t a good fit for your BIG vision and work-style).
It takes time and practice to incorporate clear business BOUNDARIES. Sometimes we have to make tough decisions based on time commitments, return on investment, unnecessary hoops (i.e. business boundaries and etiquette), and reciprocal value.
Although I’m a firm believer in collaboration, there are times when collaboration doesn’t make sense. I find this is especially true as our time becomes increasingly limited. That’s why it’s important to be precise and efficient when collaborating and considering speaking gigs (as well as other business opportunities). When choosing platforms you must be strategic and clear about your boundaries. You must also be aware of etiquette (this is true for guest and speakers alike).
Here are three business boundary etiquette tips for being a great guest speaker
1) Know the type of speaking engagements you want to focus on. You have many choices. You can choose to focus on keynote speaking, breakout sessions, live event presentations, training, teleseminars, telesummits, sponsorship speaking engagements (also known as pay to play) and even media interviews.
2) Be clear about your topic and area of expertise. In other words, know your topic and material and have it prepared in such a way that makes it easy for your host to interview you or promote you. Have clear speaking topics and takeaway tips prepared in advance.
3) Be prepared. I recommend using an online media kit as opposed to traditional, hard copy media and speakers packets. By having everything online, your host can access your information with just the click of a mouse. Your online media kit can include video, bios, speaking points and more. This saves you time and money and there is no need for multiple email messages and telephone calls. I highly recommend having on online media kit. My personal favorite is Instant Media Kit (here’s a direct link to mine).
Here are three business boundary tips for hosts of interviews and speaking gigs
1) Provide your guest with the details of the speaking agreement upfront. This means being clear about compensation, requirements, commitment and more. Do not assume your guest understands what you expect. Make sure you have clearly outlined the details and it’s clearly understood what the agreement will entail. It’s a good idea to have this information on your website, too. if you’re not going to pay your speakers, let them know upfront.
2) Treat your guest like a GUEST. When you are hosting a speaker for an interview or speaking engagement don’t ask them to jump through unnecessary hoops (Like asking them to fill out duplicate info when all the information has already been submitted via an online media kit.) As the host, your staff should handle these details if you need the information in another format.
3) Communicate clearly and directly. As the host, you and your team should make the process seamless for your guest. Provide all the details needed and clearly update your guest with any changes of information (This includes personally reaching out about changes in dates and times and not relying on social media posts to notify your guest).
These are some basic tips and as with any situation, there’s always more to the story. You get to decide what is a clear YES and a clear NO for you.
I found some of the tips in the article “3 Networking Mistakes You Need to Avoid” in Inc. Magazine written by Will Yakowicz interesting. He overviews events and networking and it’s also appropriate for collaborating on speaking engagements and media interviews. I’m not sure I agree that there has to be a “pecking order”, but I do agree we must value and respect the time and talent of one another.
I especially enjoyed this point from Dorie Clark an adjunct professor of business administration at Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business. She says “If I’m going to connect with someone far better known than I am, I need to give them a very good reason.” You can read the full article in Inc. Magazine here .
When people connect with me, I really appreciate a well prepared, mutually respectful exchange that doesn’t waste time and benefits everyone involved. How about you? What business boundaries/etiquette do you adhere to when making decisions about your speaking gigs?
What determines a clear “yes” or “no” for you?
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