Many people will tell you that one of the best ways to grow your business is to speak in front of a crowd and show your expertise. In fact, you may have even seen someone say on a panel that most of their offers for consulting, contracts, and panel invites came as a result of someone seeing them speak. What most of these people will neglect to mention is how they got the speaking gig in the first place. So today I’m going to lay out three very simple things you can do that will help you get speaking engagements.
- Research your subject area and find a problem: No matter what industry you are in, there is controversy in some part of it. Your job is to find it. Look at the conferences, articles, and panel discussions that are going on within your business and see what the pain points are. For example, if everyone is saying that they don’t see the need for LinkedIn in their business and you have gotten business from it, you could craft a talk on the things you did to get that business. Most of the talks that get pitched are things that don’t address a specific problem and as a result, they are not attractive to the person organizing the conference or event. Research and find something meaningful to talk about and it will be significantly easier to pitch.
- Bring the decision makers to you: Many people who want to speak start by going out to various conference organizers and presenters and hoping that if they pitch well enough, they will be chosen to speak. This sometimes works, but takes a lot of effort and many times falls flat. Something that works much better and yields faster results is to host your own gathering for the people you hope to speak in front of. For example, you could host a breakfast or a lunch and invite conference organizers or heads of HR at companies. Make sure your topic is relevant and timely for them. If you give a dynamic talk, it will be a natural next step for them to want you to speak for their group or conference in the future. One of the best ways to convince someone you know your stuff is to actually show them. If the cost of this worries you, you can always find a law office or accounting firm that is looking for the same type of client and co-host and split the cost. They may even be willing to sponsor you.
- ASK!: You probably have friends who have seen you speak or who believe in the work that you do. When you are in conversations with them and they ask how they can help you, let them know that you are looking for speaking opportunities. Tell them about your carefully researched topic and ask if they know anyone who would be interested. You’d be amazed at the opportunities you can secure just by asking your friends if there is anyone they know that might benefit from hearing you speak. If you do a great job with one group, other groups will hear about you and the opportunities will keep on coming.
So the next time you find yourself longing for the microphone, take a second to remember these three things: Research, Host, and Ask! You’ll find that you have a game plan to get you into the game and you’ll likely see more opportunities to speak pop up. If you’ve secured some great speaking engagements, feel free to comment below with your tips!
Cover picture taken by Pavan Bahl of @OSFashion in Williamsburg; Brooklyn, NYC.