Stumped as to where to find these business-building opportunities? Here are 17+ ways to find speaking engagements.
I’ll get you warmed up with a few from the quick-and-easy list:
1. Local service clubs
Every city, big or small has organizations or clubs – think Kiwanis, Lions Club, Chamber of Commerce, and Rotary – that meet regularly. These members need content to fill their weekly or monthly meetings. Help them out by out by connecting with the programming chair and offering to speak on your specialty.
Ask your friends, neighbors and colleagues who participate to connect you with these service groups.
2. Colleges and universities Look around you. Chances are, you live near a university, college, state school, technical school, or some other educational institution. Team up with a professor or department head to hold a forum a subject relevant to you and the educator’s interest group. Invite people from the community to attend as well.
3. Business networking groups
These lead exchange or facilitated networking groups are designed to be a tightly knit group of individuals from diverse businesses who meet regularly for the purpose of bringing business opportunities to the other members. Popular groups are Le Tip, Business Networking International (BNI), and Local Business Network (LBN). Join your preferred group and let the members know that you’re interested in speaking opportunities.
4. Special interest clubs Photography fanatic? Mother of a preschooler? Coder with mad skills? No matter what your interest or circumstance, there’s a group for it. And if you can share information on a topic that’s relevant to its members, they’ll welcome you as a speaker.
5. Local business publications
Most metropolitan areas have a magazine or newspaper devoted to area business news. Here in southeast Michigan, we have the Business Review and Crain’s Detroit Business. Check out the periodical’s Events page (in print or online), then contact the organizations listing presentations and pitch them for speaking.
6. Your clients No need to get all fancy and overlook one of your most highly qualified sources! Ask your clients what groups they belong to and whether they accept outside speakers.
7. Other professionals who speak
Look around at your colleagues, competitors, and other professionals who target the same audience you do. Check their websites and LinkedIn profiles to see where they’ve spoken.
Then, you can contact those same organizations and pitch yourself, too.
The smartest move of all is to collaborate with a like-minded few speakers to share opportunities and refer each other. Together, you’ll score so many more!
And do you want more? You got it! You can also find speaking opportunities right from the comfort of your own laptop:
10. Facebook Events
Each of these sites provides tools for like-minded people to organize gatherings around shared interests. Visit the online site and search for meetings or events by topic and geographic location. (With LinkedIn and Facebook, events might be in-person or virtual.) Attend one or two to see if it’s a good fit for your speaking topics.
This site offers an “up-to-date listing of events, tele-seminars & training being hosted by the most influential thought leaders in Information Marketing today.” If you sell online programs and information products, this is your site!
12. Online Tools
Online tools let you perform searches across social media, blogs, videos, images and more. You can also limit your search by specific timeframes, which makes it easier to manage.
Twitter’s search feature
Just Google it! Search for events in your industry.
“Call for Speakers” AND “[Your topic]” “Call for Presenters” AND “[Your topic]” “Call for Speakers” AND “[Industry]”
17. Set up alerts
Set up alerts for speaking opportunities and keep a steady stream flowing your way. Here are three tools to create alerts:
14. Speaker Directories
Speaker directories are matchmaking services that list speakers for a fee. Meeting planners sometimes go to these directories looking for a speaker on a certain topic.
Here are two to check out:
Speaker Services – speakerservices.com
Speaker Zone – speakerzone.com
And don’t overlook free speaking opportunities! Whether you’re speaking to make your name known or as a lead generation tool, speaking for free can pay off, big time. (Who got hired for a mid-5-figure contract after speaking for free at an industry conference? That’s right, c’est moi.)
15. Toastmasters International A non-profit club, devoted to helping its members improve their public speaking skills in a supportive environment, Toastmasters also has its own speaking bureau.
Ready to go big with your message? Here are two ideas to reach potentially large audiences:
16. Trade associations Got a topic that an entire industry needs to hear? With more than 17,000 national, regional and state trade associations in the US, associations are fertile ground for speaking opportunities.
Locate the educational or programming contact, send them an email with a link to a short demo video and then follow up. These associations are always looking for dynamic speakers to wow their members.
Columbia Books, Inc. (www.columbiabooks.com) is a great resource. It offers several directories, in print or electronic formats.
The National & Professional Trade Association Directory lists national conventions, meetings, and trade show dates for over 7,700 trade and professional associations with an annual report published each February.
The site also offers a Directory of Association Meeting Planners and Directory of Corporate Meeting Planners. Score!
17. Big companies Does your speaking topic have a commercial application? Become a corporate speaker! You may be able to get a corporate headquarters or local branch of a company to let you speak during lunch, after hours, or at a business meeting. Plus, being associated with a recognizable brand name adds to your business cred.
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