If you’re reading this, the chances are high that you have already decided public speaking is a good move for you. You’ve worked out the ‘why.’ Perhaps it’s because you feel stuck in a professional rut and you need that next step up — to amplify your visibility and give brand ‘you’ a boost. Public speaking is a direct line to business opportunities and professional growth. Perhaps it’s part of your career progression (your boss suggesting it is a “sign”,) or perhaps you’re tired of attending industry events and hearing the same kinds of voices on stage.

You are a brand. Your brand needs marketing. Are you ambitious? Do you deserve that promotion/next step up the ladder/corner office? Of course you do!

Now all you have to do is work out the ‘how.’ How to find speaking opportunities?

The answer to how to find speaking opportunities is multilayered. Any cursory google search (“call for speakers”) can cough up multitudinous opportunities (we share more than 100 opportunities a week with our members) and it’s a very good place to start The internet is one reason there are more speaking opportunities than ever. It’s easier than ever to “put on a show” and sell (or give away) tickets on tools like Eventbrite. It’s easier to market an event using social media. And, with marketers busy collecting leads online, there comes a time in many sales processes when you just have to get face-to-face with a prospect.

We call it “The Speaker’s Paradise”. There have been more than 50,000 TEDx individual talks and counting; there 3 million events selling tickets on Eventbrite annually; and there are more than half a million monthly Meetups. Nevermind that there are more than 92,000 identified professional organizations, many of whom run events. One of these will surely tick a box for you.  

Every week our team pulls together a list of more than 100 speaking opportunities for our Speaker Exclusive newsletter. This enormous weekly effort has taught us many things about the world of events and conferences and speaking engagements.

Below are a few steps you can take in order to find speaking opportunities:

1. Don’t just look at the industry focus of the conference. If you’re a marketer, or a finance person, or an HR person, your presence might be welcome at many different industry conferences.

2. Look beyond the big industry conferences. There is often real value in speaking at local events that you might find on Meetup, Eventbrite or in the local event calendars. Make connections with local partners, find local customers and gather your community around you. You’ll also find speaking engagements at local corporations, universities, business and social groups. In addition to looking in the community, look inside your own company. Get practice with ever expanding sizes of audiences, and move from small group presentations, to panels, to group talks, to featured solo speaker.

3. Cultivate a relationship with event organizers and program directors. Ask them what they are looking for in a speaker. What kinds of presentations are their audiences interested in? Many event organizers have a go-to file for last minute substitutions.

4. Know the event cycle.  Some events book speakers many months in advance.  Others seem to have more of an “as needed” approach, barely keeping pace with event promotion. Ask other speakers or use the Internet WayBack Machine to look at the call for speakers timeline for previous years.

5. Google is your friend. Use the search term “Call for Speakers”, pair it with keywords from your field and see what you find!

Join Innovation Women today and grow your speaking career!