Thank you to guest blogger  Gail Lamarche for recapping Lexblog’s webinar, Find Your Voice – Speak With a Purpose , featuring Faith Pincus.


Once again Kevin O’Keefe offered LexBlog’s clients a great webinar on March 16 with Faith Pincus, a licensed attorney who trains lawyers (and others) nationally on how to enhance their speaking ability. Faith blogs at Speech Advice. Faith began her presentation by quoting Thomas Edison,

Opportunities are missed because they are dressed in overalls and look like work.

Speaking engagements are work, but they are also excellent opportunities which allow you to shine as an expert in your field.  So how can you get speaking engagements? Think of Your Audience To whom do you want to speak? Typically, for lawyers, the audience can be broken down to three categories:

  1. attorneys that can refer clients to you;
  2. attorneys that can hire you directly; and,
  3. attorneys that can bring you on as a consultant;

Then, reach out to groups or associations that can refer business to you. Perhaps it’s a Realtor or builders association. Also check your local chamber of commerce websites for clubs, don’t forget the public can hire you directly too! Faith gave an example of trust and estate attorney she worked with, he found great success speaking to local church groups. Think outside the box! Who To Approach Once you determine your audience, do your research. Find out who handles the guest speakers for that organization and research the person who you will be “pitching”. Check social media avenues to see if you’re connected to them in some degree on LinkedIn. If you have a connection in common, reach out for a referral. Having a personal connection by someone who can attest recommend you is better than a cold call. After all, it’s all about relationships. How To Ask – Back to Basics If you can’t go that route through a connection, e-mail (or make a good ole fashioned phone call) and offer to speak for their group…nicely! Faith cautioned not to be arrogant by saying “you are the king or queen” of “x.” Offer to speak in a friendly, causal, but professional manner. There is nothing wrong with asking people for speaking engagements. The answer is always no if you don’t ask. If there’s a specific venue or program, ask to speak – especially if you are speaking for free. If you want to speak for a fee, that’s a whole different ball game. Be sure to include your background and qualifications, let them know why you are an expert in your niche. Also mention any honors or recognitions you earned (top 100 lawyers, 40 under 40, etc.). If you have an audio clip, presentation outline, newsletter or blog post, offer it to the conference organizer. Make Speaking Engagements Worthwhile If you are going to make the effort to speak, do a good job by meeting the needs of your audience. Faith recommends to show up at least a half hour early to meet your audience.  Ask them why they are there and what they wanted to learn. That way you can tailor your presentation on the fly and, as a bonus, you have that one-on-one connection. Faith also shared the “don’t” list:

  • Don’t show up 15 minutes before and just stare at your notes. Use this opportunity as much as you can to network. You already known as the expert. And have a better chance of getting referrals.
  • Don’t wait until the night before to prepare. Practice, practice, practice.
  • Don’ read, work from an outline. Get a DVD on public speaking, go to Toastmasters and check out Six Minutes blog, do everything you can to improve.
  • Don’t put up a whole bunch of text on slides and just read off them. PowerPoint is meant as a visual aid. Prepare an outline, review it and mark where will slides enhance what your message. Then find images, perhaps even create custom cartoons. Need inspiration? Prepare a leave-behind with the information.


  • Use your blog pre and post event. Check out Class Action Countermeasurers. It lists topics on blogs with links to the presentations, speakers and organizations. Include your speaking engagements on your firm bio.
  • Repurpose your presentation. Use it as a blog topic or article in a newsletter. Plan ahead and ask if you can get an audio copy of the event. If you can’t, there are recording devices that can attach to a lavaliere. Hire a professional audio editor (at anywhere from $40-$100/hour) to get nuggets to post on your blog and website. The audio editor can make a nice introduction and cut out the “um’s and ah’s.” When you have a good video opportunity, use it.
  • If you get evaluations from where you speak, hang on to them for next time you want to speak. Get testimonials and get audio sample to pitch to other organizations.
  • Use social media. Post your presentation on Slideshare, an excellent resource for research and a plug-in application on LinkedIn. Speaking of LinkedIn, do you lawyers know that LinkedIn has surpassed Martindale Hubbell in lawyer profiles?
  • There’s also TripIt which allows your connections to see where you are going and when you are speaking.
  • Write a blog post before the event: hey I’m going, hope to see you there; here’s my email, reach out to me. A perfect example, is our Legal Marketing friend, Nancy Myrland. While there, do a short blog post on what you have seen, observed and learned. When you return from the conference, highlight hot discussions and share with your audience.

Recommended Reading:

  1. Swim with the Sharks Without Being Eaten Alive
  2. Slide:Ology

Q&A Kevin shared the following audience questions:

  • Q:  How do lawyers let people know what they do when they are speaking in front of a large audience? A:  Faith, Present in a thoughtful manner. Include short war stories and mention in the course of your presentation how you help your clients. Also prepare a leave-behind and include a checklist that is valuable, something your audience needs to refer to over and over again. Get that top of mind awareness.
  • Q:  Toastmasters, yay or nay? A:  Faith, Yay. Toastmasters is an excellent organization for people to get over the fear of public speaking and nervousness. The program is designed to allow you to practice over and over again in a non-pressured environment. The audience is just like – not trained public speakers that need help. Of course, you can also hire speaking coaches, like Faith.
  • Q:  What can you do with all those videos from previous presentations? A:   Faith, Hire professional video editors (typical hourly rate $60-$70/hour). Split up the video in two minute segments with great sound bites and post on YouTube, your website and blog. The video editor should be able to do a nice phase in and phase out and don’t forget to add a byline.
  • Q:  What can I do if I don’t have any video presentations? A:   Faith:  Go to an A/V recording studio and do a 5 or 10 minute presentation. A:  Kevin:  Bloggers have power to get speaking engagements. In fact, Kevin’s speaking engagements grew tremendously after he started blogging. He recommends: 
    • following blogs and publications distributed by organizations that invite people to speak via RSS feeds (or your Google Reader);
    • follow them on Twitter
    • reach out and connect with then on LinkedIn
    • get to know conference coordinators, become their confidant and someone they can trust
    • use your blog tools; share word of events on your blog; set up a speaking engagements or presentations topic that’s easy to find

    Two main take-aways:  do your research to get a speaking engagement and once you do, don’t waste the opportunity.