how to get started in your speaker career business owner

FORBESBOOKS 5: HOW TO GET STARTED AS A SPEAKER

Speaking before a targeted audience of peers and prospects is an excellent way to grow your business and authority.

In order to land a paid speaking engagement, you need a website with these three assets:

  • A speaker’s kit. This is a two- to four-page PDF attachment that can be downloaded or sent to those requesting more information about you as a speaker. This includes your bio, three to five keynote topics you can speak to, and quotes from people who have heard you speak.
  • A promotional speaker’s reel. This is a highlight video that establishes you as an entertaining and thoughtful speaker. Such a video is typically two to four minutes long and provides highlights from several different speeches. Think of it as a “Best Of” reel.
  • A raw ten- to twenty- minute unedited video of you on stage giving a keynote speech. Are you engaging? Informed? Relatable? How does your audience respond? Event planners want to see that.

But how do you get those initial speaking reels? Unless you already have connections who can help get you booked, you may need to resign yourself to speaking for free. Consider free speaking engagements as a way to get your foot in the door. But ultimately, consider them an investment in your future – an opportunity to gather the assets necessary for an impressive speaker’s kit. As you begin seeking out engagements to build your speaker’s kit, consider these 5 avenues:

FORBESBOOKS 5: HOW TO GET STARTED AS A SPEAKER

    1. Universities – Contact the Dean of the appropriate department at a local university and offer to be a guest lecturer. In lieu of payment, ask if they can video the presentation. Universities usually are equipped for it. Alternatively, thousands of universities have designated committees who are tasked with bringing speakers to the school. These committees are usually composed of student volunteers, more than receptive to email inquiries.
    2. Chambers of Commerce & Rotary Clubs – Most chambers and rotary clubs organize recurring events for their members, such as monthly luncheons, quarterly breakfasts or other networking programs. They are always looking for engaging speakers. Find your local chamber of commerce here.
    3. Your clients – Don’t neglect your own network. Ask your clients what groups they belong to and whether they accept outside speakers.
    4. Libraries & Community Centers – If you can share information on a topic relevant to their members, you’ll be welcome as a speaker. Time your request around a particular time of the year. Financial consultant? Request a slot around tax time. Fitness entrepreneur? Aim for the ‘New Year, New You’ period.
    5. Networking Events – Is there an organization like One Million Cups, the entrepreneurial education and engagement program, in your community? Or a Meetup chapter, which brings together people of similar interests? Review the organizations in your area for a potentially great source of speaking slots. Whenever you are fortunate enough to speak at a gathering, document it. Study it for strengths and weaknesses. Get feedback. And then do it again. Next time, we’ll discuss 5 ways to get paying engagements.

Whenever you are fortunate enough to speak at a gathering, document it. Study it for strengths and weaknesses. Get feedback. And then do it again. Next time, we’ll discuss 5 ways to get paying engagements.

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