Expert Round-Up Topic: How do you locate speaking opportunities?
To locate speaking opportunities, I start by researching different podcasts, events, and summits in my industry with an aligned audience. I do this with a quick Google search using my keywords + summit or + podcasts, etc. I keep track of what I find in a simple Google spreadsheet with notes on their focus, best episodes, past topics, and any relevant links.
From there, I start with a base email template that I continue to hone, and I customize it as much as possible for the person I’m contacting. The template gives me a base, but generic messages get tossed quickly, so I make sure my interest and pitch are catered specifically to their event, show, or audience. Additionally, I share something personal, whether it’s an episode I loved or a way I personally relate to their brand and message. I keep it as short as possible with all this in mind and thank them for their time.
I follow all the usual approaches for finding speaking opportunities (speaker websites, asking my network, calls for conference speakers, local events, etc.). But I also have a method that has been more successful than all of those methods put together.
Whenever I appear as a guest on a podcast I make an offer to the listeners. Anyone who leaves an honest review of my book on Amazon, and then contacts me, will get one hour of free training for their team. I also make this offer on social media and in conversations with anyone who may be interested. This one offer has led to multiple speaking and training opportunities. The free events can lead to paid work. The people in the free training tend to buy copies of my books, and if the companies like the training they ask about paid training options. This method has led to speaking events at major companies around the world and is something I plan to offer for some time.
To locate speaking opportunities, use hashtags on a variety of social media platforms. Event coordinators are always looking to drive traffic to their talks and conferences by using hashtags on social media. While this is great for raising attendance, it’s also great for attracting potential speakers. By searching up relevant hashtags like #Conference, #BusinessEvent, or #ConferenceSpeaker, you’ll soon encounter a flood of events and people you can connect with and communicate to. You can even take it a step further by “following” these hashtags. That way, you won’t need to find people or seek them out manually—instead, your social media algorithm will bring them straight to you. This can help you efficiently source new business opportunities simply by scrolling through your social media news feed.
As published authors, we have a slight edge over others to bag a speaking opportunity. My books are primarily meant for top executives and department heads. In most cases, they are either the decision-makers for their events, or have some say in speaker selections, or have connections to the ones managing/producing the events. I put effort into locating the physical mailing address of the potential leaders whom I think would be keen to read my book and appreciate the content. I mail them a copy of my printed book. I mark it as a complimentary copy and add a note which says, “I hope you could draw practical value out of this book. If you think it might have value across the board for the rest of the leaders, managers or employees, I would love to deliver a talk at one of your events. If possible, connect me to the right person.” The odds of them writing back a thank-you e-mail is very high. That becomes a conversation starter in which I ask them to connect me to the event producer. More often, they would do so with personal recommendations.
- Create a speaker profile. Be prepared to pitch to potential clients by creating a speaker profile that includes a bio, headshots, and outlines your speaking topics. Likewise with having a few videos uploaded to your website that convey your stage presence and ability to connect with your
audience; even better if there is footage of you discussing topics that are included in your list of topics.
- Network on LinkedIn and within your extended communities. Warm leads are key, so invest time on a daily or weekly basis to connect with professionals on LinkedIn, particularly within the organization or field with whom you’d like to pitch.
- Connect with local and national association chapters. To get your foot in the door, you may want to offer to address an audience pro-bono, such as a local chapter of an organization with which you’d like to secure an engagement during an annual, national gathering. Use this opportunity to get footage of yourself if you don’t already have a large library of videos to share with potential clients.www.erinkaiser.com.
I am able to secure speaking opportunities by working on four levels: belief, asking, connection, and visibility. I believe that by revealing my life’s messiness and teaching lessons I’m learning I can support others walking a challenging road. I ask for opportunities to share my experiences, learnings, and approaches to help in ways that acknowledge and improve lives of those who align with my message. Sometimes I do keyword research, and reach out to make pitches or proposals, and sometimes my ask is made to existing friends and acquaintances.
Heart-centered connection gets built through purpose-led group posts, talks, blogs, magazine and newsletter articles, summits, training programs, and podcast/interview guest segments. My book, Lighting the Path, was written with that desire to serve. I use social media to boost my visibility as I serve “my people.” As an introvert, I shift fear of spotlights when I remind myself I’m simply teaching someone needing support. Connecting to my passion about helping special needs parents and others face big life-adversity purges my overwhelm about being seen, heard, or judged. My speaking becomes a vulnerable, open conversation in which I hold a friend’s hand. Building warm relationships, and stating my desire to serve and be referred to others, opens doors to more speaking opportunities.
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