The number one question I always get is how to get more speaking engagements. When you first start out, it might be a little harder. Where do you go when you first start out? Even if you’re not brand new, you can use some of these techniques.
Phase One: Determine Where Relevant Speaking Opportunities Are
I’m going to assume you’ve figured out who your target market is. Then you can follow these steps to find your perfect speaking opportunities:
1. Create a List of Potential Places to Speak
First, make a list of organizations that have your target audience. Since we’re all busy, I recommend you take your pad of paper with you as you’re eating your lunch, and jot down some ideas. Ask yourself, what organizations would I really like to speak to that has my target market? I don’t care how outrageous they are, just write them down. We’re just brainstorming. Then go back through the list and see what makes sense for you for right now. Number them, don’t delete anything, but number them. The ones you’re going to contact right now, are the low-hanging fruit or the easy ones. After you number them, that becomes the order that you’re going to call or the order of most importance to you.
2. Look at Other Organizations You Belong to
Find out which organizations have speaking engagements and stages, and call these people. Your calls will keep you at the ‘Top of their minds” when an opening comes up they first think of you.
3. Pay Attention to People Who Have Stages
Make a note of those people that have stages and call them. Not just a physical stage, a podcast can be a stage, a platform to speak from. Find out more about these people and their targets, as they might not be yours. I’m not saying you call them and ask for a speaking engagement right away. Have conversations with these groups before you ask to speak. It is rude to ask to speak to their group if you haven’t built rapport with them. Build rapport, and see what their organization is like. Then ask them if they’re ever looking for speakers. Don’t say, I want to speak to your group. It’s just too blunt. Take baby steps into it. You’ll have much more success.
Learn who has stages. When you go to networking events, you can let others know you’re looking for speaking engagements and you wonder if anybody knows of anybody that either has a stage, a podcast, or any other stage that you could speak at and let people come out and tell you. Find out where they’re speaking. What organization is it? What’s their target market? Find out some information and then ask them if they mind sharing a contact with you.
4. Talk to Other Speakers
Find others you know have been speaking and see what stages they have been speaking on. Ask them for a referral or reference or a contact.
5. Find a Speaker Buddy
Pick someone who is speaking as often as you. Then you do something together once a month. I have a speaker buddy I do this with, and we get together once a month for 15 minutes, and we exchange speaking stages. We have made a promise to each other to come up with at least two speaking opportunities for each other. it helps each other to be thinking, ‘Where have I spoken recently?’ So get yourself a speaker buddy that you can exchange ideas and contacts with.
There are lots more opportunities than you can even imagine.
Phase Two: Get Speaking Engagements
It’s time to actually go and get those engagements. Now we’ve got our list, we’ve got to work the list. We pick up the phone and we make those calls.
You’ve Got To Pick Up the Phone
The biggest way that I found to get more speaking engagements is to pick up that phone. Pick up that phone and make those calls. This works so well because people are not calling and talking to organizations and event leaders on the phone these days. I don’t mean that you leave a message, wait till you get someone. Emails do not build rapport.
Likely when you call, you’ll get their voicemail. Leave this message; “Hi, I am [your name], and I have a quick question for you, please call me at …Thank you. Look forward to hearing from you.” Do not tell them that you want to speak. Do not tell them that you want 20 minutes of their time. Nobody’s going to call you back. Most of the time people leave messages that are too long. They leave the whole reason that they’re calling and give no reason for the person to call you back.
When they do return your call, ask them to tell you more about your group. Have lots of questions prepared before you get to that question because you have to find out what they want. You’re just starting a roundabout way to tell them what you want, you start by building rapport. They want you to give educational value to their members. they’re not for helping you to sell your books or helping you to sell your products. Once you build your rapport, you could then get into letting them know… I believe I have a topic that really would be of some value to your group. I’d love to share it with you.
Then eventually, of course, the question will be, would it make sense to explore my speaking to your organization or at an upcoming event?
Just like you would if it’s a stranger that you’re taking out on a date. One question at a time, one little piece of information at a time. Build rapport. And then together you can decide. And that way both of you can get excited about it. And if it’s not a fit, it’s not a fit. Let it go. Make the next phone call.
Remember all that when you’re going to be asking for these speaking engagements. Do not send anybody an email with your one sheet out of the blue. If they want your one sheet, they’ll ask for it.
Your speaker one sheet is your resume. Just like any business, they will invite you to give them a resume. Wait for the host or the club to invite you to give them your speaker one sheet. They’ll ask for it for one of two reasons. One, they’re interested, or two, they want to get you off the phone.
So you’ll have to figure out which one it is. But most of the time, I have a conversation. Then I give them a choice, by saying my two most popular topics are for business, and the other is more emotional heart center and they pick. I give them a choice and they love that.
Don’t give them too many choices either. They can’t decide. You have done your research and you want to make sure there’s a good fit between what you offer and their mission. Remember you can always perk their interest every time you introduce yourself.
Be Consistent With Your Outreach and Calling
Consistency is key to everything in life. I’m going to tell you that right now, You want better health? You have to do it consistently. You can’t do it for a few months and then slack off and eat ice cream every day. You’ve got to be consistent with your health. You have to be consistent with your exercise. You have to be consistent with speaking. You have to be consistent with making your calls. You have to be consistent with all this. Some organizations may not be so forthcoming with their phone number. They may have a form on their website or an email available for you to contact them. In this situation, email them and tell them if it’s an organization, that you’d like to learn more about their organization and to either call you or get on your calendar.
Determine if Their Organization Is a Good Fit for You
You have to acquire more information in order to determine if you want to speak there or not. You want to build rapport with the event organizer. Learn about their audience. You may learn that they only hold their meetings live and they’re not located near you. You probably won’t fly out there for a 10-minute speech. You could still build rapport and talk to them because you have a whole community that could be of benefit to them. Maybe you could refer somebody, or find another magical way to support their community.
Download my free guide to what speakers don’t know that can hurt them with 10 Questions Every Speaker Must Ask Before Stepping on stage.
A lot of times there are virtual speaking engagements that are looking for speakers. Maybe they’re trying to build their list, they have a whole bunch of speakers coming in, and you could be their next virtual speaker.
Be mindful of building your list every time you speak, because when you build your list, you become more attractive to others. When you have a substantial list, others will want to put you on their stage in hopes that you promote their event to your list or at least a portion of your list.
Emphasize How You Will Help Them
When you do get a hold of someone remember, they want to know how you are going to improve their (and their audience’s) life, business, or health in some way. Business, love, and health are the three things that people want more of, always. If you can’t help them with one of those aspects, then you’re not going to be in demand.
Thus, be mindful of how you present what you speak about. For example, one who works in art and memorabilia may focus on preserving a legacy through art. When you’re talking to somebody, they may not understand what that means. You’ll need to link how that improves somebody’s life, business, health, or love. In this case, this expert speaker shows audiences how to create lasting memories through art that can be hanging on the wall of people that you love today and tomorrow and forever.
When to Line Up Speaking Engagements
If you want to speak next year, make sure you’re in conversations by October or November. That’s a great time to get speaking engagements for the next year. Make those calls now.
Keys to Landing Speaking Engagements
Be sharing the benefits of what you speak about at all times. Even when giving your speech. Remember people will sign you on as a speaker if the benefit you offer is something they and their audience value. With that charity, please pick up that phone, and get those speaking engagements.
If you’d like to discover how to position yourself to get more speaking engagements, I’d love to speak with you. Pick a time on my calendar and we’ll have a great chat: https://calendly.com/arveerobinson/30min