How to Build an Employee Speaking Strategy That Supports Your Company Brand
Speaking opportunities for everyone are everywhere. Employers can turn employees into brand ambassadors with a strong speaking strategy.
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In the "old" days of the speaking world, speaking engagements were reserved for very well-known, very expensive experts. Today, as networking has exploded into an activity that occurs 24/7 in both live events and online events, there are unlimited speaking possibilities.
People who would have never considered speaking now recognize that public speaking is a great way to take networking and brand-building to a new level, and are discovering many non-intimidating options to contribute their expertise to an event.
Recently a CEO client informed me that one of his employees was planning to speak at an upcoming conference. The speaking engagement was not a paid engagement, and the company had to cover the bill for the conference fee and travel. I asked my client what the topic was, and he didn't know. I asked him who the audience was, and he couldn't tell me.
I advised him to implement an employee speaking strategy immediately, since unpaid speaking engagements can be expensive in terms of time and money. In addition, every customer/market touchpoint must reflect the corporate brand.
If an employee is going to speak on a company's time and dime, then the speaker's responsibility is to build the corporate brand, rather than their personal brand or resume.
Here is the corporate speaking strategy we created for my client's company. Employees must know that their stage time during company hours must represent the business.
- Time Justification. If an employee wants to speak at a trade show, they must answer:
- Why this stage?
- Who is in the audience?
- How will a company generate ROI from the employee's attendance or participation?
- What is the total cost to attend this event?
- What are they speaking on?
- What is the message?
- How is it supporting or reinforcing the brand and the company's growth strategy?
- Does the speaker require additional collateral, such as a white paper for attendees to download, or a marketing piece to give away at the event?
- Follow-Up Strategy. Showing up is only part of the equation. What happens after the employee leaves the stage?
- How is the employee collecting leads?
- How are they following up?
- How will they convert attendees into customers?
- The Presentation. (Once the speaking engagement has been approved)
- What is in the deck?
- How does it position the company?
- Does it follow brand guidelines and a standard template?
- Has it gone through a formal editing process?
Like all company expenses, it's important for employees to understand that there is no blank check. If an employee wants to join a networking community or attend an educational program, companies that responsibly manage their money and their resources will require investment justifications.
With the world of social media and online networking, it's never been more important for employees to understand that they represent their company brands when they communicate. Conversely, it's the responsibility of the business leaders to set their employees up for success by establishing clear guidelines and expectations.
Companies grow when leaders have instituted strong accountability backed by clear communication for everything, both inside and outside of the company.