How to Get Speaking Engagements

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By Pam Terry

Here are some simple, yet effective, tips for getting booked as a speaker:

Drive Value.  First and foremost, do not speak about why people should buy from you or about all of your wonderful services and products.  If you do, people will feel like you are selling to them and no one likes to feel like they are being sold to.  Your topic needs to be value driven so that whether or not people buy from you, they get value from your topic – your information has to be life-altering even if it simply helps someone in the smallest way.  Why?  Because your presentation is not about you – it’s about the audience and what they are going to get out of it – so make sure that you deliver information that people can use or motivation and inspiration to improve people’s lives in some way.  The more valuable your information, the more credible and trustworthy you become in the eyes of your audience and the more likely that you will get invited for other speaking engagements. This is KEY for getting booked.

Host Your Own Workshops.  Not only do public speakers speak at other people’s events, you’ll find they have their own line of workshops, teleseminars, and/or webinars.  Doing your own event is a great way to get started as a speaker because it guarantees that you will be speaking and it can lead to other speaking engagements.  In fact, having your own events is fundamental for being a speaker and it’s another reason why your topic should have value.  While hosting your own events can be a lot of work (getting the venue, marketing, registration, etc.), it can be exhilarating.  Plus, you gain tremendous experience and have complete control over its creation from where you want to have it, how long it will be, the market you want to target, and what you want to offer at the end.

Set a Monthly Goal.  To begin getting booked, set a goal for how many speaking engagements you want to do per month.  For example, let’s say you want to speak four times a month.  To meet your goal, get four bookings per month.  Pretty soon, you will meet your goal and you will have four speaking engagements each month.

MeetUp.  It’s great when you’re getting asked to speak and you don’t have to “find” speaking engagements.  Driving value and hosting your own workshops will definitely cause you to get requests to speak.  However, you’ll probably want to do a little bit of smiling and dialing (and texting, emailing, and googling) to meet your monthly goal.  So, how do you find speaking engagements?  My favorite answer:  It depends.  If your topic is business related, then networking groups are a great place to look.  You’ll find a lot of them on MeetUp (www.meetup.com) or by just asking your friends and contacts.  Many but not all networking groups are always looking for speakers.  What if your topic is not business related?  What if it’s about selling your house, relationships, or pet care?  MeetUp is still a great place to look because you’ll find all kinds of groups on MeetUp.

Clubs.  I’ll have to say, however, that it’s a lot easier to get speaking engagements for business topics.  If your topic is not business related, you’ll just need to find groups that are a fit for you.   Another great place to look are the Rotary, Kiwanis, and Optimist Clubs.  There are probably at least a hundred of them in the Houston Metropolitan area and they are always needing speakers.
Social Media. Another way is to look at all the events that you get invited to on Facebook and LinkedIn.  When you get an invitation and the group is a fit for you, email the host back and ask them if they are looking for a speaker for their event (or their next event) and that you would love to be considered.

Chambers of Commerce.  There are 50+ chambers of commerce in the Houston Metro area and a great market for business speakers.  Chambers of commerce usually either want you to be a member in order to speak or to be someone of “klout” in order to be considered as a speaker so they are not as easy to get booked if you are an “unknown” to them.  But, if you have a way to get “in,” they are a great source for getting booked.  If you are a member of a Chamber of Commerce, you should definitely let them know you are available to be a speaker.

Your Feedback Form.  Anytime you have a speaking engagement, whether it’s your own event or someone else’s, you should have a feedback form that includes a question regarding speaking engagements – ask if they know of a group where you would be a great fit.  Always offer a prize drawing from the feedback forms that are returned to give everyone an incentive to fill it out – they have to include their name and contact information to be in the drawing – so now you have who to contact.

These are just some quick tips to help you get booked as a speaker.  Each speaking engagement is an opportunity to become known, become in-demand, and gain new clients.  The key is to set your goal and get out there speaking, at the very least with your own events to get the ball rolling.

Pam Terry is a public speaker coach, trainer, and marketing strategist.  For more articles, please visit www.pamterry.com/blog.html.  You can reach Pam at 832-276-4153 or pam@pamterry.com.

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