How to Land Your First Speaking Engagement
Becoming a speaker is one of the best things you can do for your personal and/or business brand. You’re able to build awareness and credibility, all while sharing your story and creating a personal connection with your audience. Of course, it also doesn’t hurt that after building up your experience, you can also use speaking as another revenue stream too!
So, how do you begin to successfully book speaking engagements? Here are 4 things you need to:
Stay ready (so you don’t have to get ready)
There are a number of things you need to have in place, before you begin putting yourself out there as a speaker. You want to invest the time before you land your first speaking engagement so that you’re not scrambling to put things together. For example, as a speaker, you’ll need:
- A professional bio (both a short and a long version)
- High-quality headshots (2–3 is good!)
- Topics of expertise
- Signature presentations (if applicable)
- Speaker’s kit (a 1–2 page document that can be sent to anyone that inquires)
Make your intentions known
If you want to be a speaker, you need to let the world know. Update all of your social media profiles to include ‘speaker’ and if possible, also indicate your area of expertise. If you have a website, you also want to include a ‘Speaking’ page that has a bio, high-quality photos, topics of expertise, logos of companies and organizations you’ve spoken for in the past, testimonials and contact information.You want to ensure that when people are looking for speakers online, they know you’re someone they need to consider.
Once your profiles and website are up to date, you then need to adapt a ‘top of mind’ mentality which means you want to always be at the top of your network’s mind so they associate you with speaking. Whenever you have an upcoming speaking engagement, let the world know! Once you’re there, take as many photos as you can (if you don’t have anyone with you to take a photo of you, a selfie works just fine!) so that you can use them for social media posts during and afterwards. If you’re on Instagram, set up a ‘highlight’ on your profile to permanently document all your content around speaking. It’s great for you to be able to look back and see your progress but any visitors to your profile will be able to look through it at any time.
Additionally, every few weeks or months (I personally prefer every 2 or 3 months), you also should do post a direct call-to-action reminding people that you’re available for speaking engagements and they should visit your website to learn more about your experience.
Consistently share your story and expertise online
This ties in with the ‘top of mind’ mentality that’s required to consistently land speaking engagements. After you book a gig, not only you need to share content before, during and after but you need to be creating content around your areas of expertise. Remind people exactly why you’re an expert in your field! Write blogposts, create videos and share articles that relate to the topics you’d like to speak on. Create a schedule that works for you and then stick with it but remember, quality always beat quantity.
If you’re not active on Linkedin already, you need to be if you’re serious about consistently landing speaking engagements. This is where executive decision makers, event coordinators conference organizers roam! Linkedin is so underestimated and now is the time to get on it and create a presence because you’re more likely to get noticed and begin to have people sliding in your inbox with opportunities.
Connect with the gatekeepers
Take some time to really research your industry to get a sense of the key events and who the key gatekeepers (a.k.a the people standing between you and a confirmed speaking gig) are. Look into other speakers in your industry to see which events they’ve spoken at, as well as the people they’re engaging with online. Follow them online and add them on Linkedin if you can! You don’t necessarily need to reach out to them right away but let your expertise speak for itself. Linkedin is the perfect place to ‘nurture your leads’, in other words, warm people up to you and what you have to offer. That way, after a few weeks or months of being connected to you and exposed to your content, they’ll likely be the ones to reach out to you to start a conversation.
Becoming a speaker isn’t extremely difficult but it does require consistent effort. Keep in mind that when you’re starting out, you will need to accept a number of free gigs to build up your experience and reputation. However, if you’re serious about being a public speaker, you’ll be willing to be put in the work required. Implement these 4 steps and before you know it, you’ll be on stage!
Originally published at https://www.dowelldresswell.com on June 21, 2018.