Are you one of those women entrepreneurs who fears public speaking more than death? And yet you have heard that speaking is THE best way to market and sell service businesses. What if you could take what you do well with clients one-to-one and more confidently reach more people, with less effort, in less time with increased sales? Learn 3 key areas and 3 tips to save you time on content, delivery and structure, and marketing.

What if it were easy to create and give workshops? What if your everyday client processes held the secret to your speaking and workshop content? What if organizations exist, in your target audience, hungry for speakers and waiting for you and your message?
I discovered this is all true and possible. Interactive workshops are the number one way I get new clients, averaging about one new client and speaking invitation per workshop.

It is my joy to share two huge discoveries. 1) You have ready-made content from what you already know in your sleep and already do with your clients! 2) Creating a workshop is simply taking what you do well one-on-one and doing it in front of an audience.

My first workshop happened by accident. I agreed to the title, given to me by the event organizer and committed to speaking without knowing what the content would be! I backed into the title, How to Love Networking, pulling from a reframing technique I use to coach clients to overcome obstacles by drawing from a past success and transferring the skills and "knowing" to the present. I've now given this workshop some 30 times which led to a second workshop, “How to Love Speaking!” Watch for opportunities around you to say “yes” and then figure it out what to speak on with the event coordinator on the spot!

TIP: After you have a great client meeting, immediately outline the process you used and see how it can be repeated in front of an audience. If you find a core process that you use often, and benefits many clients, then it's likely you have the seed of a workshop, article or book.

I’ve learned I speak best with an unscripted outline that has room to follow the mood of the audience. What is your speaking style? How much research or rehearsing and structure do you need? Think about times you’ve spoken in prior jobs or even at clubs or with small groups at a party. It's important to find the format that works best for you. For my first two workshops, I wrote down actual phrases on flip charts and found it distracting. Today, I use a one-page outline with one line per segment. I include time estimates to tell me where I should be on the clock at major junctures. Leave room in your agenda to recap your bottom-line points. Make sure you demonstrate a taste of your professional services so the audience gets real value and experience you.

As for the agenda, I use a well-worn popular formula. I tell them what I'm going to tell them, then I tell them and then tell them what I told them. To engage my audience I set expectations and share the defining moments in my life that led me to my chosen niche, target audience, and this workshop. To set the tone, I do a grounding exercise to create safety, playfulness, and presence. This is an authentic part of my spiritual style that I let participants experience, some for the first time ever, so they can see what it might be like to work with me. I seat my audiences in a circle of chairs whenever possible to create equality and openness, values that are integral to my business and services. What is unique and very “YOU” in the way you work with your clients? Demonstrate it!

And then… it's all content, passion and enthusiasm. In my case, to demonstrate my coaching, I ask for one or two volunteers and coach them in front of the group. I use a written exercise that is woven throughout the workshop. This begins and ends with a self-assessment that measures their shift in perspective, usually moving up at least one point and as many as five points on a 10-point scale. How can you work with a volunteer to problem-solve the way you do with individual clients?

After the content, before the Q&A, I offer complimentary consultations with a clipboard sign-up that lists only a few specific dates and times. I say these carefully chosen words, "If you are serious about making changes in your business and life, and want to find out how my coaching (services) can help you reach your goals, sign-up." About 95% keep these appointments respectfully and more than half become clients.

TIP: Connect your workshop to a logical offering, whether products, complimentary consultations or a follow-on workshop or teleclass. Give your audience a call to action. Reserve time before the end to introduce this offer so it is not overlooked and people don’t leave early or miss it.
Marketing. How will you find your audiences? It helps to have a well-defined niche. Who do you help and what problems do you solve for them or what pleasure do you increase? Where do these people hang out? What non-competing professionals support your target audience? Choose a focus and title around a tangible, recognizable outcome that solves one of your target market’s needs. I believe what sells best is a title and content based on a concrete business-related outcome, especially if your key messages are of a personal nature or those that people are less likely to buy. In the end, my participants in "How to Love Networking" really learn how to love themselves and others more. I sell them what they ask for and give them what they need.

Most of my speaking opportunities come from subtle marketing efforts. I simply ask my audiences for introductions to contacts who look for speakers. Instead of asking for referrals, I ask for warm, personal introductory emails copying me and the contact. I get invited to speak because I am clear about my target audience—solopreneur women. The majority of my marketing is through networking, naturally!
TIP: Declare a population you serve, go to the library reference section and ask for the Encyclopedia of Associations. Locate your audience, and you'll find places to write and speak. Serve your audience wherever you can. Even the written word is speaking your message to your market.

In closing, be your authentic, genuine self. Be a professional and represent our services. Shine as an extension of doing what you naturally love to do; coaching, sharing, teaching, consulting. Workshops are another means for creating and giving.

Repeat after me: “I know enough today to create a workshop that spotlights my existing professional talents to a room filled with my target audience.” What one easy step will you take after reading this article?

Your audience is waiting.

Author's Bio: 

Gail Sussman Miller founded Inspired Choice (hyperlink) to teach women solopreneurs how to love business obstacles and overcome them with ease. Gail delivers obstacle-busting workshops and teleclasses for groups and individuals. What if you could leverage your talent and reach more people in less time with greater impact? Attend free and fee teleclasses with tips on “How to Love Speaking.” Sign up at