Getting the speaking gig seems a lot more complicated for many people 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 powerful speaker sheet (please proofread it carefully to ensure no silly typos or spelling errors). Find out how to create your speaker sheet with this blog post => My Super Easy Speaker Sheet Shortcuts
- Not owning your expertise (you do not have to be 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 Professional Speaking Opportunities
1. Google Alerts: This is an easy way to find speaking opportunities in some niches. 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. Example: “Call for Speakers” Business or “Call for Speakers” Mindset.
2. Interview other people: One of the ways I get invited to speak to other people's audiences is to invite people to talk to my audience. Approach people with a regular interview series and ask if you can interview them, and they will likely reciprocate when they are looking for a speaker. This could be a Facebook Live or a recorded Zoom video call that you put on your Youtube channel.
3. Approach business organizations in your community: Many business organizations schedule monthly speakers, the Rotary Club, for example. Summertime is a great time to approach these organizations because officers are changing over, and programs are being planned.
4. Reach out to Podcast hosts: Go to BlogTalkRadio.com and search for your topic. Hundreds, if not thousands, of shows, will be listed. You can then begin to reach out to these shows. Remember that there are more speaking opportunities out there than there are speakers. Most are very happy to hear from speakers.
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.