3.23.2009

Help! I can't seem to get booked for speaking engagements


Written by Jesse Muhammad

Over the last several months, many people have been emailing me about how I seem to have a speaking engagement or interview every week in Houston and throughout the country. In others words they say, "What is your secret?".

I hate to disappoint you but there is no secret--just results produced by strategic work. A problem I used to have is that I was sitting and waiting for someone to ask/call me to speak instead of me approaching them to ask them if I could serve them. I wasn't asking people enough about ways that I could contribute to their goals or uplift their students with my presentations.

Once I changed my approach, doors started flying open.

I stopped sitting by the phone, checking the email inbox or waiting for the next text message with a speaking offer. Instead I have been going out and creating opportunities by first being involved in the community. Nothing is going to happen for us just sitting at home and thinking someone owes us a chance to speak just because we have a college degree or a certain status. Get out into the streets, attend events and get involved! Make a name for yourself. Not out of vanity but out of a desire to serve others with your words.

Once I started asking people how I can help them, my phone has not stop ringing with speaking invitations. Many of them are now paid engagements and once you serve them well in your presentation you position yourself to be invited back again and again. Even if you have to speak several times for free to start out, it's okay. Because remember your mission is to empower people with your words and if you do that, I guarantee the benefits will start flowing.

For example, I do a weekly motivational seminar at the Cheyenne Drug & Alcohol Rehabilitation Center in Houston for men. I was first invited there to speak on President Obama's Inauguration Day and ended up addressing over 300 men. My mother works there and I did it as community service--no charge. The directors enjoyed my one hour talks so much that they offered me the opportunity to comeback anytime I wanted to speak. So since that day I decided to volunteer my time to do the weekly seminar to serve these men who are trying to change their lives around, like all of us.

Want to know the benefits for me? Look at this email I recently received from my mother regarding the impact it's having on the men:

"I just had to stop and write this note because I am bursting with pride! All this week I have gotten constant positive feedback and affirmations from the clients here at Cheyenne Center about you.....the DSHS program sing your praises every day! They tell me I should be proud and I assure them that I am indeed. I just got a call from a former client and he told me to be sure and tell you how your speaking helped him with his self-esteem. He quoted from your presentation of "Is my Why Big Enough" and had some very sincere gratitude."

So you want to get booked for more speaking engagements? Start offering your services rather than waiting for someone to ask you......because you may find yourself still waiting by the phone.