Speaking at events can certainly accelerate your business. In fact, it is one of the biggest aspirations for many business people. But how do you find speaking gigs consistently? In this blog I am going to show you five easy steps on how to get to speak at other people’s events.

So let’s start with WHY do you want to book speaking gigs?

  1. It drives and accelerates your business growth
  2. It increases your perceived credibility and expert status
  3. It helps to get exposure to not just your audience but also the audience of the conference organiser
  4. It is logistically easier than having to create your own speaking gigs

It is worthwhile mentioning that there are a couple of drawbacks to speaking on someone else’s stage. You have less control over what you deliver, when you deliver it and how you deliver it. But the advantages of speaking gigs on someone else’s stage far outweigh the drawbacks.

What kind of events should I be looking to speak at?

Speaking gigs can come from conferences, retreats, tradeshows or networking events. People often just think of speaking at conferences so tradeshows, expos and networking events often get overlooked.

A lot of large organisations are looking for speakers to speak at their networking events. Personally, I get a lot of speaking opportunities through networking events and speaking at those networking events.

5 steps to get to speak at other people’s events:

  1. Go to events

Go to networking events. Go out and experience those expos and conferences and really get to understand what those events are about. Who is turning up to them? Are your ideal audience members there? For example, I recently spoke at a commercial chartered practising accountants event. They were not my target audience but they certainly knew my target audience and could therefore refer me on.

2. Get to know event organisers and venues

You will learn who their target audience is and what motivates their audience to get out of bed. Does this align with your ideal audience?

3. Run your own events

This might seem a little strange as you are actually trying to book speaking gigs on other people’s stages but this step is very important. It allows you to practice and fine tune your message. It is one thing to write a presentation or workshop yet it is another to actually deliver it. This also allows you to build your credibility. It is the social proof that you can actually present! Take lots of photos and videos of your own events as this will further enhance your credibility. Doing Facebook Live events, posting videos to your YouTube channel and your website are simple and effective ways to create your own speaking gigs.

4. Go and pitch for it

Ask for it. Ask people to present at their events. Also ask people in your network if they know of anyone who is looking for a speaker. Ask to be paid but be prepared to speak for free especially in the beginning. Speaking for free is still very worthwhile as you get to practice and increase your confidence. Also there may be other opportunities such as getting attendees to sign up to your newsletter so that you can upsell at a later point.

Massive tip here:

Know your topic before you ask for the speaking gig. This is because it is likely that the organiser will ask you at that point on what you propose to speak about. I have made this mistake myself here before and have learnt from it. The worst thing you can do is say “I can tailor something to whatever you will audience needs”.

This makes it very hard for the organiser. Lead the way and say “I generally speak in this space…” You can still be flexible and open by saying something like “I’d love to talk to you more about your audience, what their problems are and how I can help with that”. This gives the organiser the opportunity to say what they are specifically looking for. And if they are not entirely sure exactly what their audience will find valuable you can help lead the way.

Being specific gives the event organiser something they can really visualize. It’s like buying a home without any furniture in it. It’s easier when you’ve got something specific to hang your hat on that’s not too specific to the individual that they don’t get it.

So do have a topic that will work for them that you can work with but be open to saying “look happy to chat to you more about what your plans are for the group over the next six months and how I could fit in and really be of service”.

5. Come from a place of service

When you’re looking to speak on somebody else’s stage it has to come from a place of service. Not from a place of “I’m on stage”. It’s not about you, it’s about the audience.

It’s about “how can I help you help your audience”. That’s what somebody who’s organizing events wants. They want bums on seats. They want the right bums on seats and they want people to keep coming back. They are only going to come back if the speakers are worthwhile and engaging and they get the right thing out of it.

So there you have it. Five steps to get you closer to speaking gigs on other people’s stage.

I propose a challenge here for you to get you there sooner:

  1. Go out and ask for speaking gigs. Yep, ask for it today.

Post on your Facebook page something like (and tag me in please) “I’m looking to speak in the next three months and particularly around this topic. Who do you know that would love a speaker in this geographic area to speak on this topic?” You might just get pleasantly surprised here. Worst case scenario, nothing happens.

2. Go to an event

Look at events that are in line with your target audience. Book it in and attend the event.

How did you go? What was the outcome? What did you learn? What questions did your challenge raise for you?

Drop me a line at [email protected] if I can be of assistance on this topic.

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