No matter what business you’re in, mentors are renowned for providing incredible value and expertise for professionals.
In fact, a study from Harvard Business Review which surveyed CEOs in formal mentoring programs found that:
- 84% said mentors had helped them avoid costly mistakes
- 84% became proficient in their roles faster
- 69% were making better decisions
When you consider the idea that, as a professional speaker, you’re the CEO of your own business, it becomes clear that finding a mentor can help you develop your skills, book more gigs, and boost your bottom line.
Here are six tips for finding a mentor in the professional speaking world.
1. Seek a Mentor Who’s an Expert in What You Want to Speak About
The best mentorship opportunities come from a place of synergy. This means that the best place to start in seeking a mentor is looking for somebody who speaks about similar topics to the ones you want to speak about.
Once you’ve found a few candidates, follow them closely and keep an eye on everything they do.
This can include:
- Following them on social media
- Watching past keynotes they’ve given
- Read the content on their blog
- Register for upcoming talks
Even simply sharing their content on social media or engaging in the comments sections of their blog posts are good ways to get your name on their radar.
You should become an expert in their work and engage with them proactively before you ever reach out to them.
2. Use the Available Resources
When you’re in the research phase of finding a mentor, make sure to use all the assets at your disposal.
This can include events and membership with the National Speakers Association.
It can also include searching through and engaging in social media groups (the NSA offers a ton of these for its members) as well as speaker forums and online communities.
There are ample resources available to you so ensure you’re using them all effectively.
3. Study Prospective Mentors Even Before You’ve Heard Back
While you’re in the process of familiarizing yourself with potential mentors, do more than simply skim their materials.
Study their methods. Review their successes and challenges. Try to pick up on their cadence and the nuances that make them so engaging to listen to.
There’s a lot you can learn on your own just from looking at their work analytically.
4. Be Specific in Your Goals
When you’re getting ready to reach out to a potential mentor, know exactly what you’re hoping to achieve in no uncertain terms.
The reality is that successful speakers are busy and their time is limited.
So, your best bet is to understand that they won’t be able to convey all of their expertise to you in the course of 30 minutes and instead know what you’d like to get out of the time you’re allotted.
When you reach out, let them know exactly what you’re looking for — how much of their time you’re asking them to offer you and how frequently.
And once you have secured the support of a mentor, it’s equally important to carry this same approach into your ongoing relationship.
For instance, have a specific question you’d like to cover off in each conversation you have — whether it be how to improve your presentations, how to captivate your audience more effectively, or tips for how to market your business.
Remember, when it comes to a mentor, anybody can consume their content. You need to let them know you want to become a scholar in their techniques and approach your interactions with them accordingly.
5. Offer Some Value in Exchange for Their Time and Expertise
Just like any networking interaction, the most successful “asks” are generally the ones that come with a “give” as well.
For instance, rather than just asking for their time, offer them something in exchange. You can offer to intern, volunteer, or work for them in exchange for their time.
While they may or may not take you up on your offer, the most important thing is that they’ll appreciate your willingness to make it a two-way street. And that alone can help you stand out from the crowd of other speakers who are doubtlessly seeking the same sort of relationship that you are.
6. Be Persistent
Understanding how busy professional speakers are, it’s important for you to be persistent. Reach out and don’t give up.
Establish a cadence for following up with them — maybe once or twice per month.
You can either reach out to them directly or through their assistants, but just remember to be clear with your intent and give all the information up front.
Refer to point #3.
Don’t just say you’d like to speak with them. Tell them you’d like to book a call for X amount of time to pick their brain about X topic and offer to reciprocate with X.
Giving all the details up front will mean fewer back-and-forth interactions and thus more likelihood of an immediate result.
Finding a mentor in the speaking industry can help you take your skills and your business to the next level. And the best way to find one is to approach the process strategically.
If you’d like to learn how a customer relationship management platform can help optimize your sales process and help you book more gigs, get in touch with our dedicated support team or start a free trial of karmaSpeaker today.