How to Find Speaking Opportunities
Believe it or not, speaking is the easy part of being a public speaker. There’s no shortage of subject matter experts, and even though their speaking skill levels may vary, there are still far more would-be public speakers out there than there are speaking opportunities.
The key to making a career out of public speaking is to get booked. To get good at finding public speaking opportunities so that you can keep your calendar filled with engagements throughout the year. The goal is to earn enough money from your public speaking engagements and book sales that you don’t need to do consultancy or other work to tide yourself over.
And so with that in mind, in today’s article, we’ve done the hard work for you to bring you our top tips for seeking out and securing public speaking gigs. Here’s what you need to know:
1. Cold outreach
The most broad-brushed way to find public speaking opportunities is to use cold outreach, which involves asking event organizers if you can speak at their events. Even if you don’t carry out cold outreach, you should create a list of the events that you’d like to speak at so that you have something to work towards. To give cold outreach a try, it’s just a case of tracking down some contact details and getting in touch with the organisers of those events.
A call-to-action is essentially a short statement that tells people what action you want them to take, and they’re a super common device among digital marketers. As a public speaker, you’ll want to include a call-to-action at the end of all of your content, whether you’re sharing slides on Slideshare or writing articles for an industry publication. If you’re focusing specifically on finding more public speaking opportunities, your calls-to-action should encourage people to book you for their next event.
3. Public speaking portals
Public speaking portals are a fantastic source of paid speaking opportunities, because they act as a middleman between event organisers and speakers who are looking for their next gig. Of course, we might be a little biased because SpeakerHub itself is designed to help you out with this, but we’d still argue that it’s definitely worthwhile to create a profile and keep track of the speaking opportunities available through the platform. It’s all about getting your name out there, and public speaking portals like SpeakerHub can be a great help with that.
4. Network, network, network
They say that it’s not what you know, it’s who you know. For public speakers, this is definitely true. You need to do a good job of networking so that by the time that people realise they need a speaker for their event, you’re already front of mind. It’s much easier to get speaking gigs through a referral than it is through cold outreach, so build your network and put it to good use.
Be willing to go to events even when you’re not speaking. It’s a good idea anyway, because it will help you keep your finger on the pulse of what’s hot and what’s not in your industry. It’s also great for networking and can help you make all sorts of useful contacts. If you attend a conference and think that you have something to offer, you can contact the organizer and pitch yourself as a speaker at a future event.
Hashtags can be hit and miss when you’re looking for public speaking opportunities, but you shouldn’t write them off altogether. Set up saved searches on Instagram and Twitter for hashtags like #Speaker and #Event, as well as for terms that relate to your industry. Don’t rest your entire strategy on this or feel as though you have to read every single post that uses these hashtags, but do check in once or twice per day to see if anything of interest shows up in your feeds.
Associations are great for sourcing public speaking opportunities because as well as organising events of their own, they’re also often contacted by their members who are looking for recommendations on who might be able to speak at their events. Focus on those that are relevant to your industry as well as those for public speakers if available in your part of the world.
Universities can be another great source of opportunities. Just be aware that university-led events rarely have any budget, and so this can be more useful when you’re first building your portfolio of experience. The good news is that, like associations, they’re also often approached by event organisers who are looking for someone to come and speak to them.
9. Trade shows
With trade shows, if you reach out to them early enough, you can sometimes put your name down and essentially reserve yourself a spot at the outset. This is another one where it can be worth doing speaking engagements for free, purely because it will get you in front of a lot of people who work in your industry and who might want to pay for you to speak at their own events.
10. Other speakers’ events lists
This one’s probably the cheekiest tip on our list, but it’s still worth doing because it works. Simply write down a list of your competitors and then slowly go through their websites to see where they’re speaking. It’s a bit of a risk to pitch yourself to corporate clients sourced in this way, but you can often find trade shows or other events where it’s fair game. Combine this with cold outreach to tap into a powerful and almost limitless source of potential speaking opportunities.
Now that you know just a few of our top tips for finding public speaking opportunities, it’s over to you so that you can put what you’ve learned today into practice. The good news is that there are plenty of opportunities out there if you know where to look, and so it’s all about doing what you can to get your name out there.
In the meantime, we’d love to hear from you, so be sure to let us know how you get on in the comments and to follow us on your social media channels of choice for further updates. We’ll see you soon!