Speaking and volunteering: Opportunities in the imbalance?

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interview journalismIf you wish to market professional or expertise-based services, your best results likely will arise from relevant association participation and public speaking to a qualified audience. The associations provide community, reference points, and credibility, and a built-in audience.

Yet here is a paradox.I belong to two associations which very much would like to attract more board/committee members and are truly looking for speakers for their events and activities.

Volunteers board members are hard to find. And speakers — outside of professionals who will charge a modest (and sometimes not-so-modest) fortune for their gigs — seem as scarce as can be.

Is there a mismatch here, a market inefficiency, or could the disparity reflect the practical fact that sometimes the easiest things conceptually can be the hardest to implement practically?

Consider association voluntary leadership, for example. You need to be willing to contribute to the process selflessly, without worrying about any sort of reward, either immediate or longer-range. Meetings and activities take up time, and there are more pressing requirements/obligations.

Speaking-match ups are also challenging. Few people want to hear “product pitches” (except for a fee of some sort) — developing a compelling story relevant to different audiences and presenting your case takes time, effort, and selfless energy — again qualities in short supply.

Yet, these negatives deny you the most powerful longer-range marketing and business development opportunities.

Take a few minutes to consider:

  • Are there between one and three client-focused associations that you support, care about and where you would like to participate?;
  • Can you tell/share a story(ies) that goes beyond your product/service, and share the insights with relevant audiences?

I think you can build a rational and highly effective (and astoundingly inexpensive, financially) marketing plan with answers to these two questions.

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