5 Opportunities for Getting Speaking Engagements Part II

As I detailed in my first post (5 Opportunities for Getting Speaking Engagements Part I), there are plentiful opportunities for public speakers to get out gain speaking experience. The only true limitation to these positive outcomes is our effort to connect with them. Public speaking can lead to new business, job opportunities and great networking options only attainable through getting out there and speaking. Below is my process & methodology for getting more public speaking engagements.

1. Create a List of Subject Areas

Each of us has clear areas of expertise that we can effectively speak on. We should create a general list of these open ended ideas to explore. Armed with this list, we can be prepared to expound upon them to the decision maker in the organization we would like to speak to. Remember to keep these ideas open enough that you could flexibly cover many things.

2. Architect a Draft

A draft speech or speeches will give you a simple outline with which to proceed. Remember this doesn’t have to be a final draft but it does have to detail the overarching direction and focus of your speech. Having this will help you in latter phases of pitching your speech to decision makers.

3. Make a List of Organizations

Make a list of professional organizations, civic groups, interest groups or businesses which would benefit from your speech. One can arrive at this list via many methods of exploration.

  • Your Favorite Search Engine
    You could simply go to your favorite search engine such as Google or Bing and look for exactly what you are seeking. Try both the exact terms and variations until you yield some useful results.
  • Purchase a List
    There are many direct mail houses whose business is to sell lists. You can benefit from the ease with which they can provide you a list of organizations relating to the subject on which you want to speak.
  • Social Networking
    Social networking sites allow us to network, communicate and connect. These sites give us a powerful tool to explore and find organizations we could speak to. Sites such as LinkedIn, Facebook, Google+, Twitter, Youtube and Meetup offer a treasure trove of organizations that are only a keyword search away.
  • Ask an Expert
    Do you know any experts in your field? If not, you should. Often times an expert will be an author, leader in the community or even someone you know. Contact them and ask for pointers. You only can learn by asking.
  • Speakers/Conference Websites
    In recent years there has been a rise in sites that help you track conferences and speaking opportunities such as Conferize and Lanyrd. These sites allow you to easily create a profile of keywords you are looking to follow and deliver (on scheduled basis) email communications on relevant up and coming conferences.

Now that we have our subject matter and a list of places to speak we can move on to our next step.

4. Pitching Your Speech

Pitching your speech should follow along with the same logic of any sales pitch. You want to highlight how your knowledge, expertise and speaking skills help the prospective audience solve a problem or overcome a challenge. They should know from your description a quick yet substantial takeaway your speech with yield. Keeping your pitch simple and to the point will only help add weight to your proposal. Whether you deliver it in person or via email simple, sweet and to the point is always a good idea.

5. Following Up

Many think that once they have reached out to pitch their speech they are done. This is far from the truth. Making initial contact is just the beginning of connecting with the organization you look to speak to. Remember, just like in sales or networking where you build relationships – you need to follow up. Circle back and go for coffee or have a quick conversation. Fostering the relationship with follow up might mean the difference between getting the gig or not. And as always, having another friend who might remember you for future engagements is of clear benefit.

Are you planning on getting out there and speaking? Please let me know how it goes by commenting below! Your questions and comments are always welcome! Stay connected for the latest public speaking and leadership news, free videos and more at www.twitter.com/ipublicspeaking.

6 thoughts on “5 Opportunities for Getting Speaking Engagements Part II”

  1. Thank you for compiling this list of ideas for increasing speaker engagement opportunities — I definitely hadn’t considered all of these ideas for finding public speaking jobs…for example, I wouldn’t have thought of purchasing a list. Are there any direct mail houses that you recommend for purchasing a list of organizations who might be in need of a speaker?

    One thing I would add to your advice is personal networking. (Which, yes, is related to social networking). I think personal networking, especially among professional contacts and college professors might be a good place to start because they are often well connected. But I would also suggest even putting feelers out among your friend group; usually between in-laws and friendships over the years people know more people than they think they do.

    Looking forward to your reply.

    1. Hello Maggie,

      Yes, you could buy a Marketing list but that should be followed with actually reaching out to those individuals and networking first. I don’t think it is as simple as just buying a list and sending out emails or postcards. It should be (as you point out so well…) networking. Those relationships are the key. Social media is simply a place to start your research and social software that helps you connect and communicate with those prospective speech opportunities.

      Hope this helps!

  2. Great advice. I always wondered how I could get more speaking opportunities. I will be sure to utilize the other points on this list too!

  3. I have a limited number of public speaking engagements under my belt, and I think that it is time that I expanded myself by looking to get more in the future. I am particularly going to look into improving my pitching skills! Thanks for the information.

    1. Hello Amy,

      I am confident that you will improve with practice and a focus on the fundamental skills of speaking. Please let me know how it goes and come back with any questions you may have. Wishing you success!

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