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Market Now or Forever Hold Your Speech

by Debra Atkinson, MS on Oct 01, 2004

Profit Center

Do you have a knack for public speaking? Statistics on obesity and inactivity prove that as a fitness professional, you have knowledge that people need! Can you also connect with an audience through your humor or personal stories? If so, or if you are willing to learn, you could join the ranks of fitness professionals reaping the many marketing benefits of speaking as a fitness expert.

However, even if you are the most charismatic presenter ever to hit the speaking circuit, the applause will have to wait indefinitely if you fail to first market yourself. Following are the tools and information to help you create a professional “one-sheet,” determine who needs to see it, and consider how any “free speech” can be priceless.

What Is a One-Sheet?

The one-sheet is a major marketing tool for speakers. It informs potential groups or meeting planners of your speaking service and can easily be posted or be sent by mail, fax or e-mail. To be taken seriously as a fitness speaker, you should develop a professional-looking one-sheet.

The one-sheet is just that: a single piece of paper, often printed on both sides, that serves as your introduction to parties looking for a speaker. It should include your biography, topics, contact information, prior experience and—if you have them—testimonials from satisfied audiences. Use high-quality paper and two-color printing as opposed to black-only.

One-Sheet Components

Photograph. Your current photo can go in the upper-right- or upper-left-hand corner of the one-sheet. Since you are the product you’re selling, people will want to see what they’re buying and how you will appear before their audience. Hire a professional photographer and make sure the image represents you accurately. But don’t feel you have to do a stiff head-and-shoulders shot. If you are a mover and shaker, ask your photographer to capture you being you on film!

Headline. Draw in the reader with a bold header describing the topic area about which you speak (health and fitness, peak performance, mind-body, wellness, etc.). If you’ve already put together a successful talk, include the title and a three-sentence description of the content. Include no more than three or four titles here, all within your niche.

Credibility Section. Be brief. Include your educational credentials, certifications, awards, publication experience or books you’ve written, and interesting biographical information—but don’t turn this into a resumé. Introduce yourself and highlight what makes you unique. Did you flunk gym in high school and now run marathons? Did you overcome great odds? Include these human-interest items. In a brief “quotes” or “rave reviews” section, add two or three testimonials from satisfied audience members.

Benefits. What will your speech do for the audience? How will they be changed? All speakers are motivational speakers if they are any good. Beyond that, express clearly and succinctly how audience members will benefit. For example, your presentations will lead to

  • increased results from workouts

  • fewer excuses, obstacles and roadblocks

  • more energy, productivity and self- esteem

Contact Information. Include your phone number once, prominently and in bold type, so you can be reached easily to discuss your availability. You can also include your e-mail address as a backup. Less is more; there is no need to overwhelm readers with three different phones and faxes.

Having all of this information on the front of your one-sheet can work in your favor. Busy meeting planners can see at first glance whether they might be interested. If the planners can clearly see your topic area, they can file the one-sheet for a later date even if they don’t need you immediately. That’s clearly another reason to make this a quality representation of your professionalism.

Getting the Word Out

With your one-sheet complete, you’re ready to market yourself as soon as you can eloquently and efficiently answer two questions: What do I do? Who needs to know me? On the topic of self-marketing, it is often said that anyone you need to know is only four or five people removed from your immediate circle. This is a good reason to begin your marketing efforts within your personal network. Look through your e-mail and regular-mail address books and determine who might be interested in your one-sheet. As you send each flyer, make a specific request based on your topic. For example, you might ask an associate if he knows anyone who might be looking for a humorous speaker on health and wellness.

Next, create a list, beginning with your own fitness center and the businesses in your network. Don’t have a business network? You have a hairstylist, a dentist and a dry cleaner, don’t you? Ask these business owners if they would be willing to post your one-sheet in a clear acrylic frame at their reception desk for a month. Have it with you so they can see the professionalism you project.

Now go to your convention and visitors bureau, chamber of commerce and better business bureau; also contact local universities and colleges. Find out if these places have speakers bureaus and how you can get a listing. Contact the human resources department at larger corporations. Estab-lished speakers in your area can also be a gold mine of opportunity. They likely cannot say yes to every engagement that comes along. If you can demonstrate that you have both a good message and a great delivery, contacts like these may result in your getting what they must turn down. If you decide you are serious about pursuing speaking as a revenue stream, once you have a track record you can approach professional speakers bureaus to represent you.

The Value of “Free” Speech

The value of opportunities to gain experience in front of an audience, acquire testimonials and develop your style may be compensation enough as you launch your speaking career. Or maybe you simply wish to seize this tremendously valuable chance to establish relationships and rapport with audience members who will eventually become clients. Either way, unless you are speaking for a wealthy organization and have a track record of success as an established expert, “free” speeches are likely to be the norm rather than the exception. How can you make them pay off?

First, request the privilege to send out a pre-speech survey to each attendee. The purpose of this is to understand better what your audience might expect from your speech. As an added bonus, you will gain participants’ e-mail addresses, which you can use to send your newsletter or make special offers long after your speech (but always give people the option to decline future contact).

If you have books, videos or a small-group personal training offer targeted to the audience, bring such items along. Always have extras available with you for after the speech, but don’t blatantly sell during your speech. Sharing great information that leaves the audience wanting more is the best way to promote your wares.

Fee-Based Speaking

If you believe that you are ready to request fees, do so in the same spirit as you create your one-sheet. Your value is not in your certifications or even your fearlessness of getting on stage and being the center of attention. Your value is in what you give to your listeners and how you improve their current state of being by presenting information to them.

You may love speaking. You may get a lot of chances to do so because you let that be known. But others must be moved, changed and affected by the delivery of your message; if they aren’t, you’ll have a lot of “one-night stands.” In the long run, your aim should be to develop long-term enduring relationships and repeat customers who also refer you to their friends and colleagues.

Speak Now!

This is a fabulous opportunity to utilize your outgoing personality and people skills to generate greater awareness about health and fitness. You can deliver your message and Inspire the World to Fitness by addressing audiences in the comfort of their own conference rooms, auditoriums or living rooms! n

References

Voracek, D. 1998. Presenting a professional printed image: How to dress your speaking business for success. www.nsaspeaker.org; retrieved June 2004.

Weiss, A. 1998. Money Talks: How to Make a Million as a Speaker. New York: McGraw-Hill.

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About the Author

Debra Atkinson, MS

Debra Atkinson, MS IDEA Author/Presenter

Speaker and author Debra Atkinson, MS, CSCS, is a prior Senior Lecturer at Iowa State University, and the current Personal Training director at Ames Racquet & Fitness Center in Ames, Iowa. Her book, The Dollars and Sense of Selling Exercise: Promoting Personal Training with Integrity (March 2011) is available through www.healthylearning.com or on Amazon. Two dvds are in process of publication for 2013. She helps trainers know what to say, how and when to say it to create clients. She provides coaching, workshops and CECs for fitness pros who want to earn a living doing what they love. debra@voiceforfitness.com and the fitness pros blog: https://www.voiceforfitness.com/en/fitness_professionals/dollars_and_sense_of_selling_exercise/