How To Land Speaking Gigs… Even If You’re Just Getting Started

speakinggigs

One of the things that many of us want to do more of in our business is to get out to more conferences and speak on stage.

Now, I have to say that I’m not the most sought after or well spoken stage personality out there, but I can talk about what I’ve learned from my own experience on stage and from running my own live event.

Tips for landing speaking gigs


When it comes to booking speakers, it’s all about what the speaker can do for the audience.

So while you might have goals or aspirations for why you want more speaking gigs: like getting your name out there, becoming an expert in your field, building an e-mail list, or even selling products and programs from the stage… the conference organizer has a different focus.

They want attendees to have the best time possible at their event. Different speakers might be brought in for different reasons: to educate, inspire, or enlighten.

How to find the best speaking gigs & opportunities

One of the most important things you can do for your speaking career is to get to know other speakers so you can learn from them.

You should also make a list of places and events that you’d like to speak at. Our speakers for Off The Charts 2014 have already been confirmed, otherwise I’d be asking you to nominate yourself!

Once you know what events to target, you can find out when they’re run and how often they happen, then you can keep your eyes open for when speaker applications are accepted.

It often helps to get to know conference organizers personally. The best way to meet the people who are responsible for booking speakers is to attend a lot of conferences and get to know the organizers.

You can of course meet organizers online and further the relationships that way, too!

Perfecting your speaking proposal

You’ll want to write the best possible speaking proposal, so that organizers know you can deliver a great talk.

  1. Talk about why you are THE expert to speak about the topic you want to discuss. Go over how this topic going to be useful for the attendees and demographic of the conference. The worst thing you can do is pitch a topic that’s too advanced or beginner for the audience in attendance.
  2. This is the most important part of your proposal in my opinion: talk about the takeaways that people will have when they leave your talk.It helps to have previous speaking references, and if you’ve never spoken before then I recommend organizing your own small local event to get some experience under your belt.
  3. Put together a video reel of talks that you did in the past, so people can get an idea of your stage presence and delivery.Having a speaking reel also helps to show event organizers that you’re serious, and that this isn’t your first time speaking in public. They can also get a feel for your style, how formal or conversational you are, and how well you know your topic.
  4. Consider how you can help promote the event to your audience, too. In the eyes of the organizer, this may be a key selling point.You might think that conference organizers don’t have to worry about filling their events, but it’s actually a little harder than it looks to get people to leave home and travel to an event. But trust me, it’s worth it when everyone comes together in one place like they will for Off The Charts Live!

Let’s get started!

So here’s your homework for today: go ahead and write up a list of conferences or events that you’d love to speak at. Then come up with a great topic that you think would be beneficial to the attendees, write a solid proposal and then send it off as applications open!

Leave a comment below with a few events you’d love to speak at! You never know who might be reading and willing to offer you some speaking gigs!

 

24 Responses to How To Land Speaking Gigs… Even If You’re Just Getting Started

  1. This is PERFECT timing – I’ve been thinking about how I want to start doing speaking gigs in the new year!

    I’d LOVE to a talk on networking, and how to actually enjoy it. So many people go to conferences, then either hang out with their friends, or cower in the washrooms – just like I used to! I want to show them how to break out of that and actually have FUN meeting new people and staying in contact.

    I absolutely loved the Women In Biz Conference that’s in Toronto and Vancouver (Danielle LaPorte headlined this year).

    On my wish-list for the future, when I have more experience:
    Women in Biz, RHH Live and OF COURSE Off The Charts! For real, as soon as you started doing it, I started daydreaming about speaking at it. So excited to have my ticket for 2014 OTC already – I’ll be able to see if I could be a good fit in the future :)

    Thanks so much for this brilliant advice that has my cogs turning. I am going to try and do a talk at my local CSI (Centre for Social Innovation), so I can get practise, some footage and testimonials! I also particularly loved the advice that conference organizers want to know what the audiences’ takeaway will be. I’ll get thinking!

    • Oooh such a juicy and in-depth reply Marsha, I love it!

      Your list also feels like a really good fit for the type of people you want to help and who could turn into clients for you. Another idea might be to offer to do a webinar with Women In Biz, I’ve held one with them in the past and it was a great way to connect.

  2. This is one of my favorite videos of yours, Nathalie! Well done. I have a lecture I give about chaos theory in health behavior/education as it relates to successfully, easily changing habits. I’ve delivered it twice to great response and want to keep going!

    One of my dream conferences to attend as an attendee would be Chris Guillebeau’s WDS. As a speaker, I love talking to groups who are in their middle years (40s-70s), whatever the venue.

    Looking forward to reading the other conferences people mention!

    • Thank you so much Jacqueline, that means a lot. :) I can definitely vouch for World Domination Summit, it’s a great conference!

      And you’ve totally got me interested on your talk about chaos theory and changing habits.

  3. I just caught this video now, the timing was perfect (as it always seems to be :) ).

    I’m rallying up to get into public speaking in 2014. Having never done it before I’m taking any and all advice I can get right now. Not only for landing speaking gigs to get my message across, but also, sadly, to deal with my nerves.

    I am an introvert and getting myself worked up to anything public, be that shooting a video or speaking in front of people, is a big deal. Yet at the same time I realize how I’m depriving the world of something valuable if I don’t “Do It”.

    Your video was a great start to wrap my head around the organizing part of getting into speaking. Thanks, Nathalie!

    • So happy to hear you’re getting ready to step out into the world in a big way in 2014 Claudia!

      I gotta tell ya, I’m an introvert too – but it gets easier to put yourself out there. One step at a time!

  4. Hi Nathalie, thanks for this video! It is really timely as this is one of my goals in 2014. I am American, but live in Australia, and have a bit of fear around wondering whether or not I’ll be accepted. Your strategy makes conceptualising the process really manageable and has helped me to get back on track with this goal. Thanks!

  5. Hi Nathalie, thanks for the great information. I made a decision this year to Live Boldly, Be Courageous and Make a Difference. I’ve allowed Fear to stop me from moving forward far too long. This year it STOPS! I’m having my first talk in my living room this Saturday. Believe it or not I’m looking forward to it. Your video was very timely. Thank you!

  6. Hi Nathalie:

    Public speaking has been a integral part of my work – previously as a corporate employee and for the past 7 years as a facilitator and coach. I’ve made keynoting my number one focus for 2014. Positive psychology, how we collaborate and create our legacy in our ever evolving world are the messages that need to be shared.

    Thanks so much for engaging us in this rich topic.

    Natalie

    p.s. I can confirm that Marsha from YesYesMarsha is a brilliant speaker!

  7. Ever since I could remember is to become a motivational speaker. I love to motivate and inspire other’s. 2014 is the year I take a step forward and be what God has call me to do.. your information has helped me along the way. Thank you

  8. I am an up and coming motivational speaker who has taken a course in public speaking at the College of Southern Nevada. I was nominated to speak at the college’s 2014 Adjunct Impact conference on August 16th and am looking to bring the house down. I may not have all of the fancy accolades of a well defined motivational speaker but what I do have is heart, an undying passion, and the tenacity that would cause the meanest of dogs to retreat to safety. One thing I have realized is that no one can do for you the one thing that only you can do for yourself and that is to believe that you are needed. I will take any event I can get my hands on and do it for free just to let the world know how much I am needed to motivate those individuals who have yet to realize their self-worth. Thank you for your advice Nathalie, it is exactly the type of advice I was in need of.

  9. Happy Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday or weekend to you Nathalie,
    My name is Kevin Hopkins and the first thing I want to do is to thank you for opening my eyes more to this new venture I wish to be a part of.
    That starting point was eluding me, but after going over your site I realize how it could happen. Still, that first engagement, that first hurdle to get over, that first MOMENT has to happen.
    At 52 years of age I feel I have gone through a lot in my life, loss of a mother and brother helps me relate to those who are struggling with a loss of their own. Married for near thirty years helps me connect with those struggling in their relationships. A parent for over twenty six years helps with those parents who may be finding difficulties getting through some of those formative child rearing years. I have lost a lot I my life but the key for me, is that I have found the positives. There are ways to move forward after losing, be it a relationship, a loved one, a job, money, or something else, and I feel I have a message well worth sharing to a world of loss and confusion.
    Now my question to you……..CAN YOU HELP ME? I do not have that past event that is recorded, not really sure just how to put an event together, but if you would be willing to lead, I will follow, if you are willing to mold,I will be the clay. I realize this could be the first of many steps, but I have my running shoes on and if this can happen, I am ready to run the distance.

    Thank you so much Nathalie,
    Kevin Hopkins ( Waiting in Wichita )

  10. I’ve done a few speaking engagements in my late teens amongst other youth but haven’t done so in a wide forum. I’ve been through a lot at such a young age and I really feel my story of trauma, failures & triumphs will help so many. It’ll show children, young girls, teens & even young women that there’s always a light. That it’s okay not to be okay as long as you keep going. I’ve come to a place in my life where I am healed enough to be able to hopefully help others heal.

  11. I have a powerful story to tell about my life and raising an NBA player. I came from situations of severe domestic violence, drug addiction, being a party girl to self medicate…to stopping cold turkey and finishing my education when I found out I was pregnant my focus became clear. It is only because of the grace of Gid that I am alive. I want to share my story and empower others to see there is a life journey but you can reach the destination of happiness and self worth.

    I hope someone in this group cab lead me to a place that is looking for public speakers to impact lives.

    Wendy

  12. Hi, I think it is a good idea to inspire and encourage people to be the best that they can be in this life.
    I was alcoholic up until my mid 30’s, and after becoming a Christian, I stopped drinking, and my life changed for the better.
    I started my own cleaning business from scratch, which became very successful .Then I travelled the world, and spoke at many Christian events.
    When the global recession hit, I lost the business, and had to start all over again. I started singing/entertaining audiences to help pay the bills, and started a new cleaning business too.Both are now successful, and I feel the time is right to inspire, and encourage others, who are budding entrepreneurs, and also failed ones too !

    The experience, and strength I gained from all these different traumas in my life, qualify me to speak with authority and conviction on how to live again, with hope, confidence and courage, more than any academic achievements can provide.

    So thank you for your words on your video today, you just “accidentally” encouraged me to do something valuable to help others, and also to help myself.

  13. I am a recent graduate with my PhD in social and community services. My dissertation was on “Lack of Emergency Services for Male Victims of Domestic Violence in Hawaii: A Case Study.” I wanted to speak Internationally and Nationally to professionals and college students on the subject until I found out I had cancer. My surgeries are now over and I finished my treatments a couple months ago. Once I am cleared medically I would like to begin speaking on my topic to educate professionals and college students about the subject and to let male victims of domestic violence know they aren’t alone. It is my goal to plant the seed of future professionals to think if they might want to get involved in creating safe homes and services for male victims of domestic violence. Only four countries on this planet have such services (Turkey, Belgium, Netherlands, and Norway). I have done research to find many countries have emergency services for female victims of domestic violence, but very few for male victims. I want to be that voice in support of the male victims and offer a workshop, with a program I designed for professionals to help them better assist with the needs specific to male victims. How do I get started? I have done many domestic violence workshops in my community in the past for free, but not focused on male victims, and not for a fee. Now that I have my doctorate and am paying for my cancer treatments, it’s time for me to branch out and get paid for it. Any help would be appreciated. Thank you in advance. Sincerely, Gail

  14. Well well well, very valuable and sound advise. I have been wanting to speak now for a while and I do believe that 2016 is the year for me to do so. I have recorded videos on various topics. In Cape town, south Africa, our youth and youngsters are falling victim to various obstacles and lose focus of their dreams and goals and to top that, a low moral allow for them to always blame circumstances. I do believe that I can and will make a difference if given the opportunity. thus to go to schools, to sport clubs, churches, work places, actually wherever the need is identified.

  15. What a great idea! i have been wanting to become involved with public speaking since i volunteered myself to undertake it at Exec Live this year. I have participated in various public speaking activities during my youth and i think it would be beneficial to widen peoples views on the ‘Young professional’ being only 22 and having some desired experience under my belt i think it is important for people to recognise the determination and hunger young people have in the young place rather than a common misconception of laziness and lack of initiative. I would love to present to an audience on this subject!

  16. Hi Natalie. I’d love to speak about inner personal growth and development to the youth(high school students) I know how hard it can be to make positive changes in life without having the knowledge and tools to use to make that shift.

  17. Hi,

    I stumbled across this article by accident, and I am so glad I did.

    I have done some public speaking to small groups (300 or less) in my local area (north east Scotland), and I would like to branch out a bit further.

    I used to work in the cruise sector of the travel & tourism industry, however, due to ill health, I had to leave, and move back to Scotland. During my long (18 month) recovery, I wrote down what I enjoyed about the cruise industry, and what I got out of it. Not long after I had fully recovered, I published my 1st (and probably only) book about cruise holidays for people with all different types of disABILITIES. I now would like to take this further, but am not sure where to start. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

    Kind Regards

  18. I have traveled the world and acquired over 50,000 photos from which I have made a few dozen hour long Power Points. I have begun giving them to nursing homes and assisted living centers with great success though only charging about $60 which sure beats the $10 an hour boring jobs around here. But my dream is to give my shows to schools, at conventions and other venues where I will get paid real money as well as entertain and educated my audience. Any ideas?