Which is scarier speaking in public or trying to find your first speaking gig?
For a lot of people, getting the speaking gig seems a lot more difficult than getting on stage and giving that first presentation. In the beginning, you do need time (to make a lot of contacts) and a thick skin (to deal with rejection) to land that very first “gig”. In this post, I’m going to give some tips on ways to book your first presentation.
The first step – get your mindset right
Before you implement the ideas in this post, you need to know that they won’t work if you have the wrong mindset (if you come across as desperate or inexperienced). Don’t make these rookie mistakes:
- Not having a professionally designed speaker sheet (please proofread it carefully to make sure there are no silly typos or spelling errors).
- Sounding timid on the phone with meeting planners (own your expertise)
- Not owning your expertise (you do not have to the world’s foremost expert in a topic to give a good talk).
Whew! Now that that is out of the way, let’s find that first speaking gig…
5 Tips for Finding Your First Speaking Gig
1. Google Alerts This is an easy way to find speaking opportunities in some niches. Simply go to http://google.com/alerts and type in “call for speakers” and your niche. Put your e-mail address in and the conference opportunities will start coming in. You can also use this method to find guest blogging opportunities.
2. Interview other people One of the ways I get invited to speak to other people’s audiences is to invite people to speak to my audience. Approach people with a regular interview series and ask to interview them. It is likely that they will reciprocate when they are looking for a speaker.
3. Approach business organizations in your community From E-women Network to Rotary, there are many business organizations that schedule monthly speakers. Summertime is a great time to approach these types of organizations because officers are changing over and programs are being planned.
4. Smile and Dial Go to the library and get a directory of meeting planners. Block out a morning or a whole day to dial through the directory and make your pitch. I know this might sound scary – but the planners are generally happy to hear from you and this is a good way to get a paid booking just for a few hours effort.
5. Let people know you are a speaker.
Do you have a speaker tab on your website? Is speaking listed on your social media profiles? When you talk to people you meet about the fact that you share your knowledge through speaking? If you don’t tell people, they’ll never know. Make sure that your speaking offerings are “out of the closet” and visible to people who might want to “hire” you.