17 Ways to Find Speaking Engagements to Further Your Brand


What’s your best piece of advice for finding great speaking engagements?

The following answers are provided by members of Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched BusinessCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.

Greg Rollett1. Get Organizers’ Attention Through the Mail

Everyone sends links to their speaker page or YouTube videos. If everyone does it, it just makes you look like everyone else. To grab the attention of someone at an event or an association, send them something that blows them away in the mail. Mail a DVD of your top keynote, a few postcards with testimonials, a copy of your book and a sales letter on why they should hire you.  – Greg RollettAmbitious Media Group

Ayelet Noff2. Don’t Necessarily Pitch the Biggest Events

It’s not always the biggest events where you’ll find the right audience for you. Think of which events your target audience is most likely to be found in, and pitch those events for speaking opportunities. You may find that it will be a lot easier for you to get a speaking engagement at those events, and it will also be more productive for your purposes.   – Ayelet NoffBlonde 2.0

Piyush Jain3. Use Meetup.com

I use Meetup.com to find speaking engagements in my area. There are tons of technical meetups that bring like-minded people together and provide them with opportunities to talk about vision, trends, companies, challenges and achievements. Most of them are free and frequent. They also work as a “hangout time” after a long day, or take place over breakfast or lunch.   – Piyush JainSIMpalm

Suzanne Smith4. Create a Speaker’s Packet

We have a customized speaker’s packet, which is a great tool to set expectations and show that you are a true professional. But we also send a new packet once the deal has been signed that eliminates guess work on all stages of the process — contract to speech arrangements to payment. People are always impressed when I send it. It saves us all time and makes it a more pleasant experience.   – Suzanne SmithSocial Impact Architects

john rampton5. Apply on the Event’s Website

The first step to getting a job is to apply. I’ve gotten to be a speaker at some of the most prestigious events in the world by simply going to the site and applying to be a speaker. If you know the event organizer, it’s an added bonus where you can get in a lot easier.   – John RamptonDue

Heather Lopes6. Nurture Your Network

Some of my highest-value speaking opportunities have arisen at the last minute when someone dropped out of an event and a colleague or acquaintance asked me to pinch hit. As with all else in business, it always comes back to your network. Invest time and energy into your professional relationships and make sure people know that you’re a knowledgeable go-to expert with a strong speaking background.   – Heather Schwarz-LopesEarlyShares

Thomas Smale7. Get Referred

The best way to get speaking engagements is knowing the organizer personally. If you do not know the owner, then find a mutual friend who does and get an introduction. Event organizers are under pressure to find speakers, so the personal introduction can make all the difference, especially if you’re already a known expert in your field.   – Thomas SmaleFE International

Chris Goward8. Deliver a Great Talk Every Time

Here’s what I’ve learned from speaking at 200+ conferences and events: Watch the greatest speakers and learn from them. Deliver a great talk every time. Follow up with the event organizer. Ask for testimonials after your talks. Get recordings of your talks and post them on YouTube. Build a personal website with your reviews, testimonials and content.   – Chris GowardWiderFunnel

Ben Lang9. Organize Events

Organize a few of your own events to get your name out there. It’s a great way to build your brand and connect with other event organizers. That will put you in a position to get more potential speaking engagements.   – Ben LangMapme

Tammy Leigh Kahb10. Look for a Place You Can Shine

Going through the normal channels puts you up against all the regular suspects, but there are plenty of ways to stand apart if you know where to look. There are sites popping up like innovationwomen.com that are working on behalf of its members to increase exposure.   – Tammy Leigh KahnConstant Contact

Jason La11. Participate in Associations, Clubs and/or Nonprofits

Joining an association gives you a direct way to arrange speaking engagement opportunities for yourself. For example, I joined the Harvard Business School Alumni Association of Orange County a few years ago and became a board director. My participation gave me the opportunity to speak and present at different HBSAOC events, such as the internationally-recognized Harvard New Venture Competition.   – Jason Thanh LaMerchant Service Group, LLC & K5 Ventures

Christopher Kelly12. Contact a Conference Organizer

Just reach out and contact the conference organizer. Just like you, they have a job to do and usually need to fill a bunch of break out rooms with panelists. You can make their work easier by researching the conference and pitching yourself as a thought leader with respect to whatever theme they are focused on.   – Christopher KellyConvene

Mattan Griffel13. Put Together a Speaker’s Page

Create a page for yourself on your company or personal site with a speaker’s bio, headshot, and topics that you’d be comfortable speaking on. Include a contact form where people can reach out to you and demos of past speaking engagements. You can then use your speaker’s page to reach out to organizations and schools when you’re pitching yourself as a speaker.   – Mattan GriffelOne Month

Obinna Ekezie14. Hire a PR Firm

There are a lot of ways to get a speaking engagement other than hiring a PR firm, but those strategies will not yield the same result. PR firms will save you time and help you secure elite speaking opportunities that you are unlikely to get on your own. In addition, PR firms can secure paid speaking gigs and help get you quoted as an expert in major publications.   – Obinna EkezieWakanow.com

Vishal Shah15. Build a Following

A prerequisite to finding great speaking engagements is to be perceived as a subject matter expert in your field. While there are multiple ways to do this, most of which are tied at the hip, one way to achieve it is by creating an avid following through a high-quality blog. The key, however, is to consistently publish and promote actionable content that is specific to your field.   – Vishal ShahNoPaperForms

Kristopher Jones (1)16. Apply With a Specific Topic in Mind

They key to earning an invitation to top speaking engagements is to apply with a great topic in mind. Spend considerable time looking at the conference agenda for the most relevant topic related to your area of expertise. Once you identify a topic, write an outline and submit it to the conference organizer, including format (solo or panel). If panel, make sure to include proposed speakers.   – Kristopher JonesLSEO.com

Miles Jennings17. Go Local

Instead of trying to find your way into huge, famous conferences and events, tap into your local market and become a brand ambassador at events near you and where your company is based. It is much more likely that you will be able to speak (and involve your branding with the event) at a smaller, more specified conference in your state, and they will appreciate local entrepreneurs sharing advice.   – Miles JenningsRecruiter.com

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How to Get on Stage! 4 Tips for Compiling a Strong Conference Speaking Submission



Author: Katie Pope

The two most dreaded words in the English language: public speaking.

Some of us love it while some more of us hate it. But, speaking in front of your colleagues and peers is a great way to not only develop new skills but also advance your professional career. And, speaking in front of a greater audience, say at a conference, is a perfect way to not only share your expertise and story with others in your industry but it also serves as an opportunity to build your personal brand. When you give a presentation to a large audience, all eyes are centered on you and mass visibility comes with it.

To be bestowed this honor, many times you’ll be asked to apply to speak at the conference. This allows the conference committee to make sure they have the cream of the crop when it comes to speakers and topics. So, when applying to speak at a conference, it is crucial that your submission stands out to the selection committee.

With that said, here are 4 tips to follow to ensure your speaking submission knocks the committee’s socks off:

1. Be sure to complete all “highly recommended sections” in the application

You should look at the “highly recommended section” as a red flag. “Highly recommended” means that about half the people complete it, and about half don’t. So…don’t be in the latter half! The more information you provide (read: the more care you put into your application), the better position you’ll put yourself in to stand out from your competitors. So, my point is clear: treat “recommended” as “required,” and watch your application bulldoze past the lazy folks.

2. Include any previous speaking engagements

If you’re already well-versed and comfortable in the public speaking arena (congratulations! I wish I was you), then make sure to jot down those previous experiences in your application (sorry, but your kindergarten show-in-tell doesn’t count). That said, only include speaking sessions where you and the content really shined—perhaps your stage presence was widely applauded by your industry peers or your presentation was referenced time and time again. Whatever the case may be, if you had a killer moment on stage, make sure the committee knows about it! If you have the opportunity, go beyond just writing it down in your application and instead share a video or recording of your past speaking engagement. Do what it takes to impress the judges and give yourself the credibility you deserve. This is another way to set you apart from the competition.

3. Have a strong title and abstract

The process a conference committee has for selecting speakers is similar to the process attendees have when selecting which of the conference speaking sessions they would like to attend. Thus, compile your application as if this were your final title and abstract on the conference agenda the day of your session. Does it grab the audience’s attention? Does it use compelling words and phrases? Are you intrigued when you read it? It is important to take the time to put some thought and creativity into your title and abstract. Keep in mind that the title and abstract should be a description of what you are presenting. Sounds obvious, right? But many times, attendees say post-conference that they ended up attending a session that had nothing to do with the title or abstract. Don’t be that person! Why? People will remember this and avoid your session next time.

4. Know your audience

Finally, it is important to tailor the content to the audience that is attending the conference. You could have a super compelling title and abstract and be a dynamic speaker, but if your content does not speak to the people who are paying to be there, you will not be selected. So, always make sure to research the intended audience and tailor your content to them. It’s a good idea to run your submission by someone from that audience in order to make sure it fits.

I hope you found value in these four tips to help you knock your speaking submission out of the park! What better way to test out your newfound expertise than to apply to speak at Marketo’s Marketing Nation Summit! The Call for Speakers is open now through November 20th. We look forward to hearing from you!


How to Get on Stage! 4 Tips for Compiling a Strong Conference Speaking Submission was posted at Marketo Marketing Blog – Best Practices and Thought Leadership. | http://blog.marketo.com

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