Before you decide to speak or to write an article concerning your area of practice, you must ensure that your time will be well invested. Ask yourself the following questions:
- Will this reach the right audience? Writing for or speaking to the wrong audience (meaning, an audience composed of people whom you do not serve) will not bring enough benefit to justify the investment of time, so ask this foundational question before you begin. Your business development plan will define the right audience.
- How much time will this require? Short, practical articles (done well) will deliver good results in a reasonable time. Longer articles can be valuable in building your credibility, but they take a greater investment of time. Speaking always requires preparation, especially if you’re delivering a new presentation. Be realistic in your estimate of the time required — before you begin.
- What results would make the expenditure of time worthwhile? As with any business development activity, you must measure the results that you get from writing or speaking. What’s more, you must know, before you begin, what results would make it worthwhile for you to have taken on the activity. You may find that writing an article will pay off significant dividends for credibility enhancement, for example, but if you’re hoping to bring in new business in the near future as a direct result of the time you put in, writing almost certainly isn’t your best bet.
- How does this opportunity to write or speak compare to more immediate high-yield activity? Regardless of how terrific your article is, and regardless of the subject matter and the kind of results that you achieve, writing is a slow-yield opportunity. It is incredibly unlikely that you will write an article, have it published, and have your phone ring with a potential client calling you only because they saw that article. So, you must consider, before you begin, whether you would be better advised to invest your time in something that is a higher-yield activity.
Writing and speaking can be an effective way to increase your professional reach, or it can be a time-consuming approach that delivers disappointing results. Going through these questions will help you to make foundational decisions that will get you on the right track — before you begin.