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Almost any kind of speaking engagement enhances your image and credibility. Promote business by public speaking.


Most professional organizations offer continuing education courses. It will enhance your reputation to arrange to be a guest lecturer.

Don’t let yourself get roped-into a multi-night teaching engagement at a local college. It is very time consuming with little benefit, poor pay, and (in most cases) no student appreciation.

New Service Lectures

Every time that you start a “new service”, try to be a guest speaker at any professional organization whose members might use your service or recommend you. We had a local Mayor, who had the reputation of being available to speak at the “opening of an envelope”; my criteria was not much higher.

Code – Cycle Seminar

Codes are not updated yearly; they are updated on a cycle, usually every three or four years. Consider holding a mini-seminar for your clients’ tradesmen and technical staff. I recommend a 1 ½ to 2 hour seminar (instead of a 10 hours) covering the highlights. Your client will see that you are keeping-up with the new changes and it improves your relationship with the client’s staff. Hold it after working hours and break for a light dinner and soft drinks.

Major Seminar

When something Dramatic happens, seize the opportunity.

In 2003 we had a tragedy in Rhode Island; 100 people perished in a fire at the “Station Nightclub”. This catastrophic event was the impetus for a dramatic overhaul of our State Fire Code. The most revolutionary thing about this code was that it was retroactive; the “Grandfather Clause” did not apply. All existing buildings were required to meet the new code.

Once it became law, I decided to put on a “free” seminar to educate fire officials and building owners of the new impact.

All my Project Managers were expert Fire Alarm System designers. I decided that my staff would be the “panel of presenters” and “field the questions”. I personally introduced our services, with a power-point presentation, describing the advantages of hiring a consulting engineering firm to design Fire Alarm System upgrades.

I rented the largest banquet hall at the fanciest, centrally located hotel in the state, for a grand buffet breakfast meeting. We did a mailing to our Mailing List and to the mailing lists of all the Chambers of Commerce throughout the state. We did radio advertisements, (1 minute spots, liberally mentioning our company name), starting 10 days before the seminar. Note: Ethically, advertising by engineers is severely frowned upon; but, these were “Public Service Announcements”, sponsored by an engineering firm, so not a problem. I had many sleepless nights wondering if we would make incompetent fools out of ourselves and provide breakfast to only a handful of fire officials.

We had over 500 guests and our Seminar was an “enormous” success. It generated well over $1/2 M in Fire Alarm System design fees over the next 5 years and promoted other types of work throughout New England.

I am certainly not saying to take advantage of the misfortunes of others. But, I am saying: look for opportunities; have the courage to proceed; and do it first class.

Excerpted from The “Complete Guide” to CONSULTING ENGINEERING © 2015 John D. Gaskell. Used with permission of Professional Value Books, Inc. All rights reserved. Order at Use coupon code “paperback” and save.