Building a Speaker’s Portfolio that Works
If you’re a presenter, speaker or teaching “expert” of any sort, marketing your speaking capabilities and services can be tricky. How do you let people know all you can do, what you like to speak on, and your experience? No matter if it’s through your website, your social media platforms, or the thousands of emails you’ve sent to potential partners, marketing your speaking services is important, and it gives people the opportunity to get to know you and your skill set and brand.
Thankfully most of the speaking industry these days centers around being online, which is excellent news for speakers, since it provides visibility to those who exist only online and who wouldn’t have found fame otherwise.
But how do you let people know what you do? Consider a speaker’s portfolio (otherwise known as a speaker one sheet), a one-page document that explains who you are, what you speak on, and why the planner of this event should hire you. Basically, a one sheet is a form of a resume for your speaking experience.
But how do you create a stellar one-pager? Let’s dig in!
Headshot and Contact Information
Let’s talk about the basics first! Having a professional, high-res headshot on your one-pager is crucial for the success of booking speaking engagements. Since your photo is the first thing someone notices, make sure you pick a good one.
Then, make sure that whoever you contact can actually get a hold of you! Have your phone number, email, and website clearly visible. If you decide for a two-sided format, put contact information on both sides in easily readable font and size. Consider adding a solid call to action as well, something like “Ready to book John? Call 888-555-5555 to add him to your schedule now!” If you operate individually, add hours you’re available for a call, or a link to your booking schedule.
Biggest Things First
Since you now know the basic idea of having a speaker one-sheet, here’s some basics it should cover:
- Who do you work with and speak to?
- How do you describe your area of expertise?
- What’s the benefit of hiring you?
Make sure your one-pager answers these specific questions, as they’ll allow the event planner to know if you’re a good fit for their event. While some speakers no longer see the benefit of a one-sheet, they are vital for virtual business, as they can be easily emailed to planners. And, if you’re reaching out to speaker bureaus, it’ll show both your skills and initiative. Ultimately, your job is to convince event planners how much better their event will be with you speaking!
Showcase Your Abilities
Under the contact, the first portion of your speaker sheet should pop with your credentials and biography. List them out, including awards in higher education, certifications, honors, or any specific focus within the speaking industry.
This is a good time to note that if you have digital badges for any awards you’ve received, include those, too. If you have a badge for getting your CSP or CPAE, those need to be included in this section.
Remember to answer the proverbial question “What qualifies you to speak to me and my audience?” Your credentials and brief biography give every event planner details about how you benefit them by hiring you.
Now, your bio! This is where you should be short and sweet; give just enough history and background to sway planners into hiring you. It’s worth mentioning that it’s okay to have several one-pagers at your disposal, depending on what industry you’re applying to speak at (especially if you have vast and varied experience in multiple industries).
Your Topics and Presentations
So what do you usually talk about when you speak? Use this section to list out different presentations you have prepared or have given previously and what you want the audience to glean from your talk. Here are a few examples!
Team Building: Creating mutual respect in the workplace and building connection through honest questions and answers.
The Art of Speaking: The number one reason people don’t like public speaking is easy—fear! This workshop will take the audience through exercises to make them comfortable presenting and push fear to the back burner.
Generation Z – What to Know: The time has arrived, Gen Z is in the workplace! Here’s what to know about this generation’s key workplace attitudes.
Whatever you decide your strong topics are, provide the topic and a brief description of how you’ll expound on that topic in the duration of your time speaking.
Your Clients Have Something to Say
This section is two-fold: who you have worked with and their testimonials. Giving information about where you’ve spoken before, including the venue name and the name of the event planner who ultimately hired you. If you’re breaking into the speaking circles and don’t have many clients to reference, build up your portfolio by speaking for free until you’re able to fill out this section, then update it as you find more clients and speaking engagements.
Once you’ve worked with enough people, grab those testimonials. Narrow down past clients who you know loved working with you and ask them for a few sentences about their experience with you. It’s important to include these happy testimonies from any noteworthy client, despite what industry they’re in, but remember that the inverse is also true—if you’re pitching a specific industry in which you have a glowing review, be sure to include that!
What’s the Benefit?
Tell the event planner what the benefit is to hiring YOU out of the other speakers they could accept. Remember, speaking engagements are a version of sales, and with most sales, the one hiring/purchasing/deciding wants to know how you can help them. How will they benefit from what you have to say? Will they learn something new they can implement in their lives? Will you be reliable and get them information on time? Will people like you as a presenter?
As one sales point, consider offering “bonuses” for some of your talks, including digital materials like an online training course or e-books. If your talk would benefit from it, include printed materials for the audience (be sure to get the headcount). Offering add-ons gives planners a tangible way to see how your talk will benefit their event and it’s a great way to hook attention on your one-pager, without taking up too much room.
Ultimately, be you in your speaker one-sheet. Like we say with relationships “there’s plenty of fish in the sea” but the same goes for speakers! While there are plenty of fish out there, there’s only one you—so be bold and stand out with your charisma, personality, and quality content. Specify what makes you unique and sets you apart from the ho-hum speakers of today’s day and age.
Your speaker one-sheet should yell “Hire me! I can offer you so much!” Work on the design, layout, and have fun with it.
Need help building a speaker’s sheet or getting your presentation off the ground? We’re here for you. Contact us for a personal consultation on how we can help.