Q. Hi Sydni! I was wondering, to secure speaking engagements, have you typically just volunteered to speak or waited for the call for speakers (or call for proposals), that sort of thing? Or do you volunteer, “Hey, I’m available.” Or send packages out? How can I get booked as a speaker? ~ R. Williams – Michigan, USA
A. You can start out by identifying the specific organizations you want to speak at and approach the educational coordinator (or whomever handles the schedule). Simply ask them, “Do you accept outside speakers?” Send them this question in an email and they’ll have to write you back and say yes or no.
If they do accept outside speakers, then you can reply with a list of your topics and a brief summary of your speaking experience. (It would be good to have a speaker sheet with that summarizes this and includes your bio, headshot, speaking topics, testimonials, and a partial list of where you have spoken previously.) You can ask when their next available opening is and get on their schedule. So you don’t have to wait for a call to speakers. Making yourself available and volunteering is a great thing to do because it shows you’re pro-active and they’ll keep you in mind when they are looking for speakers. Don’t feel like you at all have to wait for an invitation! You can always offer yourself as a speaker. All they can say is no. 🙂
Here’s another helpful tip: When putting your topic together, keep it really benefit focused and concise. Use bullet points and have a really striking results focused title. You don’t have to put all this into your initial inquiry, but have that ready so that if they say yes, it’s ready to go. Keep reaching out to the groups you’re interested in and don’t be discouraged if you find it takes a while to get booked. This strategy always pays off with consistent focused effort.
One of my clients makes at least 3 calls a day to inquire about getting booked as a speaker and this is how she keeps her schedule full and keeps getting clients of her own. Does each call turn into a speaking engagement? No, but her consistent effort helps her build relationships and creates visibility for her business.
Coincidentally, my friend Mari Smith shared 6 tips on how to book speaking engagements in her email newsletter today. I’ll share them with you here:
- Be sure to include that you’re a speaker in your bio on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc. (an obvious one, right?!).
- Capture photos and video clips of you speaking, and share these liberally on social sites and your own website.
- Whenever you have a speaking engagement, share about it before, during and after the event on your social sites.
- If you’re just starting, accept as many speaking engagements as you can – even for free. There are plenty local groups always looking for speakers.
- Proactively research upcoming events* well ahead of time and reach out to the event hosts to see if they need a speaker, panelist or panel moderator.
- Seek out opportunities to speak online as well – webinars, summits, Google Hangouts, interviews – these all help to position you as a good, knowledgeable presenter (assuming you are, Lol!)
Keep me posted on your progress with this, ok?