October 23, 2014

What to do when you’ve been booked to speak: a 7-step checklist

Welcome to Famous in Your Field! Here’s your free weekly tip to boost your fame factor. (Be sure to sign up in the box on the right to get on the VIP list for free tips and training, delivered straight to your inbox.) 

Wahoo, you’ve landed the gig!

Now that you’ve done your victory dance, texted your mom and your BFF, what can you do to squeeze the most business building, career making, fame boosting juice from that sweet, sweet opportunity?

I’ve got you covered.

You should approach any speaking opportunity, whether it’s in your neighbor’s basement or on stage, as though you’re playing the Superbowl Halftime Show.

Of course, you’ll craft an inspiring and instructive talk! You‘ve got that part down.

But too many people ignore the business part of speaking. The result of this wing-it strategy? They don’t speak as often as they could.

EVERY audience deserves your very best effort. They’ve donated their valuable, non-renewable resource: time, so don’t waste the opportunity to wow. Audience members can hire you, buy your products and refer others to you.

Here’s your hit list:

1. Book it

Before you say, “yes”, check your calendar. Then, put the date and time in stone. No giddily accepting the opportunity and then realizing, oopsie, you’re facilitating your client’s retreat or heading to Jamaica that day.

2. Stalk your audience

  • Who’s invited? How many people?
  • How many typically attend the events?
  • What’s their demographic (male, female, occupation)?
  • Can you get the membership list or attendee list? Poke around on the organization’s website, too. Sometimes members are listed.
  • Research the group on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter to see if you can get to know more about the organization’s leadership and members. Having connections and common interests before you start speaking goes a long way in building rapport.

3. Logistics

  • What’s the venue? Get the address in advance, map it and check for any travel issues, like road construction.
  • Where will you be speaking? Conference room, board room, coffee house? Is it a breakfast or luncheon?
  • What’s the room configuration? Are attendees in rows of chairs (what’s known as “classroom style”? Or sitting at round tables?)
  • Are there speakers scheduled right before you or right after your session? When can you enter the room to set up your supplies and equipment?

4. Equipment

  • Do you need to bring your own laptop? Bring it, just in case.
  • Projector? Ask, don’t assume!
  • Cables and adaptors? Remote controls? (Even if the venue says they have them, bring your own, just in case!)
  • Bring batteries
  • Do you need speakers? If your talk depends on audio, then pack your own speakers, cables and power cord.
  • Microphone. Test thoroughly before using. (While I was presenting at a national conference, the microphone went out once every couple of minutes. It was distracting and annoying. Toward the end of the presentation, we found out that the problem was user error – I was unknowingly putting my hand over the on/off switch. Ouch!)
  • Flipchart, easel, markers? Can you stick flip chart paper to the walls of the room? If not, what’s your workaround?

If you’ll use slides

  • Have the presentation loaded on your laptop.
  • Bring a copy of the Powerpoint/Keynote/Prezi presentation on a jump drive.
  • Include a pdf copy of the presentation, as well. You never know.
  • Print and bring two copies for yourself, in case of technology disaster.

5. Your introduction

  • Do NOT leave this to your host organization to write. You must craft a great one and send it in advance. Everything in it should be compelling and build credibility. No time for modesty – brag on your accomplishments! (But don’t go on too long. Half a page is plenty, unless you’re keynoting a conference.)
  • Before you send the intro, practice reading it aloud a few times yourself. Do you stumble over any of the words or phrasing? Then rewrite, because the person introducing you is almost sure to butcher it.
  • Bring at least two printed copies of your introduction to the event, in large font, double spaced.

6. When you arrive at the event

  • Find the person or people in charge of the event. Connect with them, ask for a quick run through of the event. Are there any last minute changes?
  • Meet with the person who will be introducing you and go over the introduction.

7. Get to know your audience

  • Greet the people entering the room. Introduce yourself with your first and last name, look the person in the eye, say their name and give a firm handshake. Thank them for coming.
  • If you can, find out a little about some of the audience members. What’s their experience with your topic? What attracted them to your session? What do they hope to walk away with? Getting these insights lets you tailor your talk in the moment. Mentioning these people or situations during your talk makes your audience feel more connected to you and to the message that you’re delivering.

You’re ready to take the stage!

The equipment is set, your talk is locked and loaded and you’ve established rapport with the audience. Step into the spotlight and deliver the wow, superstar.

Your fame boosting assignment

This week’s assignment is a no-brainer:

Grab the free Booked to Speak checklist!

Use it the next time that you’re asked to give a presentation, talk or workshop. Stress-free, guaranteed.

Want to jump start your public speaking? Start here.

3 things you MUST do to get rave reviews as a speaker

Welcome to Famous in Your Field! Here’s your free weekly tip to boost your fame factor. (Be sure to sign up in the box on the right to get on the VIP list for free tips and training, delivered straight to your inbox.)

Famous in your field: 3 ways to get rave reviews as a speaker

Famous in your field: do these 3 things to get rave reviews as a speaker

If you build it… they will care

What is the number one thing that every presentation or speech needs? An AUDIENCE.

They are there for the experience. They want to be educated, entertained and they want to participate.

The whole point of a presentation or public speaking engagement is to engage the audience by sharing your knowledge, expertise, or experience, right? But an audience member only pays attention to things they care about.

This year a study pegged the average human attention span at eight seconds, which is down from 12 seconds ten years ago. To put that into perspective, the attention span of the average goldfish is nine seconds.

So how do you grab your audience’s attention in 8 seconds? Scream? Faint? Cartwheel? Nope. You need to build a relationship with them and here are a few ways you can do just that.

1.    BYOP!

Bring your own personality!

The best way to grab their attention and begin to build a relationship with them – so they care enough to listen – is to be your authentic self. If you aren’t your whole, true, authentic self, you don’t come across as interesting, likeable, or (gasp!) fun.

Some people believe that being “professional” means that you have to be serious and somber. It doesn’t.

Being someone other than yourself doesn’t make you more professional. Every job has different standards and everyone has a different definition of what it is to be professional but there is one thing that all professionals share. They’re human. (Ever heard of a professional fish?)

Sharing whatever it is that makes you interesting and human is your advantage in public speaking or pitches to your prospective clients.

  • Relate your personal experience to your topic. I heard a presentation given by a brand strategist who loves tennis and dreams of playing in the U.S. Open. She talked about her proposed strategy by relating it to playing tennis against Serena Williams. The roomful of pharmaceutical executives were laughing and nodding their heads. It was a grand slam!
  • Tell them something about who you are outside of work. Just got back from Paris? Wish you did? Share it with them. Want to meet Chuck Norris? Already did? Tell them about it! Share your human story. It helps your audience connect to you and your message.

2.    Research!

In addition to gathering information about the organization, find out to WHOM you are speaking. (Yes, I said whom. ‘Cause I’m fancy like that.)

That mass of faces staring at you is made up of individuals. Look them up on LinkedIn. Google them. Follow them on Twitter. The interwebs are your best friend, my friend.

When you know something about a person or organization you aren’t talking to a bunch of eyeballs, you are talking to people. Do they fish? Support a charity that you support? Live near you or someone you know? Find out and Viola! You’re all people in a room together relating to each other like…people!

3.    Mingle!

Instead of showing up five minutes before you’re scheduled to speak and disappearing as soon as you’re done, try hanging out and mingling.

  • Arrive early to shake a few hands and learn a little bit about two or three people. Don’t just ask them about business. Ask them about life outside of work and get to know them as people – not just clients. Also, if there are other speakers scheduled to present before or after you, then you can listen and maybe learn a few things from them.
  • Stay late to say thanks and meet people you didn’t meet before your presentation. Get to know a few more of your audience members on a personal level.

Your Fame Boosting Assignment:

The very next time you do a presentation or speak to a group: BYOP, research and mingle! If you don’t you’ll have to fish for their attention.

Want to jump start your public speaking? Start here.

The top 5 of ALL TIME

Welcome to Famous in Your Field! Here’s your free weekly tip to boost your fame factor. (Be sure to sign up in the box on the right to get on the VIP list for free tips and training, delivered straight to your inbox.)

Famous in your field top five blog posts

High five for the top 5 blog posts of ALL TIME

One hundred plus posts.

Whether you’re new to Famous in Your Field VIP List, or you’re just stopping by, here’s the Greatest Hits album, all wrapped up and ready to go, right here!

Get ready – it’s the Top 5 most popular blog posts of ALL TIME on Famous in Your Field:

1. 17 Ways to Find Speaking Opportunities

The National Speakers Association has thousands of members in its 39 chapters. But it isn’t only professional speakers who want to speak. Almost any professionals in a service-based industry know the value of taking the stage.

Whether you charge a fee for sharing your expertise or use it as a tool to move prospects closer to becoming clients, public speaking just works.

2. 5 Tactics to OWN the room

If you want to become even a little bit famous in your field, you’ve got to make an impression that sticks. How do you get attention, so that your audience wants to go on the journey with you? It’s built on confidence, creating rapport and a strong presence that commands attention.

3. Three Tips to Get More Speaking Engagements

Time to get your public speaking efforts off the ground and send it soaring to the stratosphere. Learn what you need to do to stack the odds in your favor, become a conference planner’s bestie for life, and the secret that leads to more speaking opportunities than any other tactic.

4. Be your own publicist with free media tools

Popular post features three absolutely free tools you can use to get featured in the media. Why would you want to devote potentially hours each week to this endeavor? Because publicity (being mentioned in the media) builds credibility and spreads your message to a much, much bigger audience than you could reach on your own.

5. Lessons from Lewis Howes, footballer turned million dollar entrepreneur

Lewis lives to inspire. Himself and others. Whether you want to achieve greatness on the athletic field, in business or live a sweet, globetrotting lifestyle, do what Lewis does. He’s a force to be reckoned with, but underneath all the hustle are basic principles that anyone can use – be of service to other people.

Your fame boosting assignment:

Pick one (just one!) action item from one of these posts and put it into practice NOW. Your breakout year starts today!

Want to jump start your public speaking? Start here.

Mythbusters: Avoid these two public speaking mistakes

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Famous in your field tip: avoid these two public speaking mistakes

Famous in your field tip: avoid these two public speaking mistakes

Today at Famous in Your Field, we’re going Mythbusters to debunk bad public speaking advice. These are the two tips that get passed out like leftover Halloween candy.

But they’re dead wrong.

Let’s jump into the bad advice and what you should do instead.

Speaking tip to ignore #1 – Look over their heads

When you were in junior high and had to give a speech in class, did your parents or a friend advise you to get over your nerves by looking just over your audience member’s heads at an invisible horizon?

Or to look at people, but focus on the space between their eyes.

No good. People can tell when you’re not looking directly at them and it’s weird.

Those techniques focus on helping you get over your nerves by breaking the connection between you and the audience members.

Speaking tip to ignore #2 – Constantly scan the room

Now, you’re in your high school or college speech class. Your teacher advises you to make eye contact with everyone in the audience. The idea is that you’re reaching everyone, leaving no one out.

Couldn’t. Be. More. Wrong.

When your eyes restlessly move through every person in the audience, they do not feel connected with you. What they feel is that you’re nervous, shifty and inauthentic. Connection killer.

Here’s what you do instead:

1. Speak to one person (at a time)

But, there’s a little bit of an art to this:

  • Scan the audience and pick one person. Speak directly to him or her.
  • Relate your story or make your point. At the next logical point, scan the room again and stop on another person. Ten to twenty seconds is a natural rhythm.

This is what we do when we’re having a conversation with someone, so it feels natural to you while speaking and it’s a natural behavior for your audience.

The funny thing is that even the people you are not looking at directly will feel connected to you, too.

2. Favor your favorites

Is there one person in the audience who’s giving you the fish-eyed stare? Or worse, a disapproving frown? Do not focus on that person!

(Yes, you do want to periodically check the energy of the room, to see if your audience is “with you,” not busy texting Walking Dead recaps to their friends.”OMG, if they kill off Glenn, I am soooo done with this show!”)

Looking at the person who’s giving you the “I already know that” smirk will steal your mojo. Instead of focusing on giving value to the audience value, your mind will race, imagining all the critical comments the person is thinking. It shuts down the love parade.

Keep your energy strong and your audience engaged by focusing most of your attention on your fans – the people in the audience who are smiling and nodding with you.

Your fame boosting assignment:

This week, practice scanning and pausing when you’re speaking to a group. Whether you’re speaking publicly or leading a meeting, you’ll create a feeling of engagement and connection with the other people in the room. Keep that love parade marching on!

Want to jump start your public speaking? Start here.

Get better speaking results by doing these 3 things

Welcome to Famous in Your Field! Here’s your free weekly tip to boost your fame factor. (Be sure to sign up in the box on the right to get on the VIP list for free tips and training, delivered straight to your inbox.)

Famous in your field speaking tips: close with these 3 things

Thunderous applause. A standing ovation. Being mobbed at the back of the room, people clamoring to buy your products and secure your services.

Who doesn’t dream of that reaction when they speak?

Most people focus on the opening of their presentation, talk or speech. They practice over and over, until they can recite those lines in their sleep. (For rehearsal help, check out some out-of-the-box rehearsal techniques that are guaranteed to up your awesome.)

But what about the close? Wayyyy too often, you leave your close to fend for itself, thinking that it’ll just naturally fall together when you’re finished.

Instead, here’s the more likely scenario:

Rather than the natural crescendo of excitement rising from the crowd, you get cut off by the room moderator, ’cause you’ve gone over the time limit. The audience rushes out the door to the next session. You mumble a harried “thanks so much for coming, send me an email if you have any questions….” while packing up your materials.

Cue the sound of an opportunity lost: wahh, wah, wahhhhh…

The close of your presentation is when you reinforce the importance of your message, inspire/motivate your audience and deliver a can’t-resist call to action. It’s your chance to leave them buzzing about you and your content.

Don’t leave it to chance! Instead, practice your close, making sure you hit these three things:

1. Repeat the big ideas.

You might think that you hit your big ideas hard during your presentation. Not hard enough from the audience’s perspective.

When you repeat the big ideas from your talk, you’re cementing them in your participants’ minds, effectively telling them what to remember and reminding them of the value you delivered.

Watch Steve Jobs unveiling the first iPod. Just how many times in this nine minute speech does he repeat the game changing Big Idea, the one that encapsulates his revolutionary product?

“One thousand songs. By the way, it fits in your pocket.”

“One thousand songs in your pocket.”

“One thousand songs. In your pocket.”

And at the end, “This amazing little device holds a thousand songs. And it goes right in my pocket.”

2. Inspire

Whether you’re delivering an educational presentation or a motivational speech, you want to change your audience in some way. Maybe it’s a new approach, a new attitude or new ideas.

Inspiration is a powerful force. It’s the fuel that can power us through challenges and propel us to achieve our big goals.

Be the spark for your audience, the one that sets them on fire to take that first step.

3. Move them to action.

Don’t leave ‘em hanging! Tell your audience exactly what to do next to put your information and ideas into action.

Should they book a free consultation? Download a PDF? Buy a book? Call their congressman? The audience has just devoted thirty, sixty, ninety minutes with you. They are looking for a return on their time investment, so make sure you provide purpose to your talk by creating an irresistible call to action.

Close out with your and the room’s energy high, not already on the next session or lunch break.

Your fame boosting assignment:

Test out your next talk on friends and colleagues. Ask them if you’ve hit these three elements in your close. Then give yourself a high five and get ready to command the spotlight!

Want to jump start your public speaking? Start here.

Speaking: amp up your impact with these two ingredients

Welcome to Famous in Your Field! Here’s your free weekly tip to boost your fame factor. (Be sure to sign up in the box on the right to get on the VIP list for free tips and training, delivered straight to your inbox.) 

Famous in your field tip: when speaking, (especially on a webinar, teleseminar or radio interview) talk to one specific person.

You have an amazing talent, service or product to share. (Holla! Cause it’s true.)

And to get that magic into the world, you need to serve up a message that grabs your audience and HOLDs them.

Of course, you want to reach everyone who needs what you’ve got.

But here’s the problem. Talking to everyone will resonate with no one.

When your speech or presentation isn’t delivered with one very specific person in mind then it will sound like the safety message that you hear every time you board an airplane. Do you tune into that? Nope, me neither. But it’s an important message.

Just like yours.

So how do you do you reach your would-be fans with your message? It’s simple: talk to the passenger next to you not the whole plane!

Party of 2

Think of your presentation, speech or webinar as a conversation between you and one specific person you know well. It’s counterintuitive, but it works!

When you try to speak to everyone, it actually makes your tone of voice sound automated and rehearsed. I call it “tour guide voice.”

Instead, think of one person you know and talk to that person. It could be your best friend, cousin or neighbor (the one you like).

Doing this will change the words you emphasize and your tone of voice will be personal and warm. Your audience – virtually everyone in your audience – will feel an emotional connection to you. Your speech to 100 or 1 million people morphs from a lecture to a conversation. And that’s when you’ve captured hearts and minds.

BONUS: This will help with those nutty nerves that pop up when you’re in front of an audience too. Talking to your friend doesn’t make you nervous, right?

Mix it up

While you’re talking, try adding pauses around specific words or sentences – you know the ones that are at the heart of your message. The ones that cause people to go “REALLY?” and “AHA!” Pausing before or after them will “shine the spotlight” on them.

However, use pauses sparingly! Don’t. pause. after. every. sentence. Examples of this bad habit? President Obama and Captain James T. Kirk. It’s not conversational. Your message gets chopped up, your point is pureed and your content? Crushed.

These two small ingredients blended with your amazing content will whip up an experience that whets your audience’s appetite for more!

Servings: Infinite

Your Fame Boosting Assignment:

This week, when you’re giving a presentation, speech, webinar or recording a podcast, think of one person and talk to him or her. And in any conversation where you want to make an impact, pause around your power phrases. That’s it! Now you’re shining like a spotlight.
Want to jump start your public speaking? Start here.

How to put more POW into your presentations

Welcome to Famous in Your Field! Here’s your free weekly tip to boost your fame factor. (Be sure to sign up in the box on the right to get on the VIP list for free tips and training, delivered straight to your inbox.) 

Become Famous in Your Field by speaking

Practice like a professional actor

Sick of hearing you should practice your speeches and presentations? You’re thinking, “Yeah I KNOW! I DO practice!”

Okay, so how do you usually practice?

Take a moment and review your Practice Best Practices:

  • Practice it as many times as possible. CHECK.
  • Practice standing up. CHECK.
  • Practice saying it in the mirror, in the car, in a BOX with a FOX. CHECK!

Well, my practice weary peeps, I’ve got some new tips will help you break out of your boring practice patterns and rocket your public speaking right Outa Heeeeere!

These are insider secrets, courtesy of my good friend Melinda Thomas, a professional New York actress and voice over artist.

Ready to put the fun back into practicing? Ha! I know that’s a tall order but I dare you try these:

End at the beginning.

Often we practice the beginning of a speech or presentation over and over again because we’re so focused on launching with a big bang. However that means the middle and the end get short shrift. You go out with a whimper, instead of a bang.

You figure they’ll magically fall into place once you nail the beginning. BAD plan.

Better plan? Start each practice session by reading the last paragraph first and move towards the beginning of your speech.

Sounds a little cray-cray, but I promise it will break you out of your rut and give you a new perspective on your speech. Plus you will find that your speech has consistent energy throughout and feels more cohesive when you run it from the top.

Actor secret: for a powerful performance, practice speaking in your “showtime shoes.”

O-Sole-o mio! 

Oh yes! Practice in your shoes! Heck, wear your entire ensemble if possible. What if one of your key moves is to point to the screen but your suit jacket only lets you point to the chair below the screen? Awkwaaaaard!
Back to your shoes – your mood, attitude and confidence are influenced by your comfort level. So those skis below your knees are key!

Here’s a Hollywood secret: stage, TV and film actors often wear their character’s shoes from the very first day of rehearsal. Those shoes are literally the foundation for the character. Once they slip those babies on, they become the part they’re playing. It’ll work for you, too.

Standing in your bare feet feels different than wearing shoes – whether they’re flip flops, stilettos, or wing tips. Your posture is different, the way you walk is different, and the way you feel is different. You want to be sure that you feel your most confident on the big day. If you practice your speech in your flip-flops and on the big day you put on a shoe that covers your foot completely or has a heel it could literally throw you off!

Try practicing in your bare feet. Then put on your shoes. I guarantee you’ll feel a big difference.

Throw these tips on your list of practice best practices and you’ll perform perfectly. Period.

Your Fame Boosting Assignment:

How easy were these? Try them out this week to give your presentation a little extra boom boom pow. Go on, I’ve got your spotlight ready!
Want to jump start your public speaking? Start here.


Who do you think you are? 3 steps to shoot down stage fright

Welcome to Famous in Your Field! Here’s your free weekly tip to boost your fame factor. (Be sure to sign up in the box on the right to get on the VIP list for free tips and training, delivered straight to your inbox.)

Businessman laying down on white background

Fame tip: 3 ways to conquer stage fright

Who do YOU think you are?

Have you ever heard that little voice inside your brain? It’s time to shut. it. down.

Becoming famous in your field requires putting yourself out there. But when you’re faced with a camera, a crowd or microphone what are you thinking about?

Is it, “I’m fat” “I’m not good in front of crowds” “I look old” Or, “Everybody already knows this”?

Well, think it and that’s what you’re audience will see. Negative energy is palpable, even from the stage.

Relax, fame friends. Your fears come down to the fact that you’re HUMAN! Very few people arrive on this earth as a born brand promoter, able to face the crowd or vacant stare of a camera lens without breaking a sweat. NO!

But here’s how you can face your nerves and say “Hasta La Vista Baby!” even when the sweat is trickling down your back.

1. Shift your thinking

You know that old saying: you can’t drive around hell, you have to go through it. The same is true for your nerves – you can’t ignore them. You can however SHIFT your perspective.

We experience waves of anxiety or nervousness all the time. So what’s the difference between “I’m so nervous I’m going to SUCK” and “I’m so excited I’m planning a big surprise party for my best friend?”


Same nerves, different feeling!  Remember, you’ve got a secret to share with your audience. Your unique expertise! They need what you’re giving them. They want what you’re giving them. So go out there and delight them!

2. Bring A Security Blanket

Remember that ratty blanket you carried around as a kid (maybe all the way through college)?

Or that lucky t-shirt you HAVE to wear every time your favorite team plays so you don’t jinx them?

Those are tangible things we can touch that instantly give us comfort and calm us when the stakes are high. Try choosing a grown up Blankie. A small common object to carry with you whenever you’re out there in the spotlight. A quarter, rock, key, paper clip. Put it on the podium, in your pocket or in your bra. It’s a physical reminder that you RULE and everything is going to be okay!

3. Focus on the first sentence

Don’t psych yourself out by reviewing the whole speech in your head 60 seconds before you go on. You prepared in advance (tell me you did) so you know it.

Think of it as a one sentence speech. Just the first one. Obviously you have to keep going and you will because the first sentence is over!

Try practicing these simple tips in situations that are unnerving or your next networking happy hour.

Your Fame Boosting Assignment: 

Pick one situation this week and practice these tips. Tune up your self talk, find your lucky charm and focus on the first sentence. Good-bye supporting cast, hello starring role!
Want to jump start your public speaking? Start here.


Three Tips to Get More Speaking Engagements

Welcome to Famous in Your Field! Enjoy your free weekly tip to boost your fame factor. (Be sure to sign up in the box on the right to get on The VIP List for free tips and training, delivered straight to your inbox.)

Famous in Your Field - 3 Tips to Get More Speaking Engagements

Want to increase your win rate for speaking engagements? Go pro.

No, I don’t mean that you have to hire your own PR rep or speaker marketer to pitch you as a speaker for groups or events. You can increase your chances of being selected  – and make it easier on yourself – by copying these techniques used by professional speakers’ bureaus.

1. Stack the odds in your favor.

Before you submit a proposal to an organization, do your homework. Read about the organization’s membership and mission. This will give you insight into the information its members would value and what the hot topics might be.

(Stumped at where to start? Here’s a list of 17 ways to find speaking engagements.)

2. Make the conference planner or education committee chairperson’s job as painless as possible.

Provide all the information the program chair or selection committee needs to choose you. Here’s what goes into your package:

  • Your contact information. This includes website, email, phone, cell phone, Facebook page,  Twitter handle, and Google + ID. (Bonus points for you if you’ve got a large social media following. Any conference organizer or group education director will love it  if you can help promote the event, too!)
  • Professional headshot.
  • Brief bio.
  • Clear statement about the topics you cover in your talks (i.e. productivity for entrepreneurs, money negotiations for women.)
  • List of topics (with catchy titles) and what attendees will learn with a short (2-4 sentence) abstract about each session.
  • Video demo of you, live and in action. YouTube or Vimeo is a perfect place to host this. Your speaker sheet should include a user friendly link to the video.
  • Testimonials and evaluations from organizations that the potential client can relate to.
  • List of companies/organization you’ve spoken to previously.

Because this is meant to be concise, all the content should fit on a single page.

3. Use The Secret

There is a secret to getting more presentation opportunities. (It’s one that few entrepreneurs and professionals practice. Not because they’re dumb – they just don’t know about it.)


Don’t wait for a Call for Speakers for that small handful of conferences in your industry. Take action to expand your reach and influence!

Research groups and organizations where your ideal clients hang out. (Most groups host regular meetings, lunch & learns, webinars and conferences. They are starving for valuable content for their members.)

Reach out and propose a presentation with a timely topic. Include three to five bullets of reasons that it is of interest to the audience and include your speaker sheet.

Speaking is powerful tool for positioning you as an authority and leveraging your valuable time. You can put it to work for you!

Your fame boosting assignment:

This week, create your own speaker sheet. Then, do a little research to find five organizations and use the secret – ASK!

Want to jump start your public speaking? Start here.


17 Ways to Find Speaking Opportunities

Welcome to Famous in Your Field! Enjoy your free weekly tip to boost your fame factor. (Be sure to sign up in the box on the right to get on The VIP List for free tips and training, delivered straight to your inbox.)
Become Famous in Your Field by speaking

The sure-fire way to accelerate your reputation as an expert and boost your business box office is to speak.

From short talks to panel discussions and auditorium-filled formal presentations, speaking catapaults you from relative unknown to business superstar.

Stumped as to where to find these business-building opportunities? Here are 17 ways to find speaking engagements.

I’ll get you warmed up with a few from the quick-and-easy list:

1. Local service clubs
Every city, big or small has organizations or clubs – think Kiwanis, Lions Club, Chamber of Commerce, and Rotary – that meet regularly. These members need content to fill their weekly or monthly meetings. Help them out by out by connecting with the programming chair and offering to speak on your specialty.

2. Colleges and universities
Look around you. Chances are, you live near a university, college, state school, technical school, or some other educational institution. Team up with a professor or department head to hold a forum a subject relevant to you and the educator’s interest group. Invite people from the community to attend as well.

3. Business networking groups
These lead exchange or facilitated networking groups are designed to be a tightly knit group of individuals from diverse businesses who meet regularly for the purpose of bringing business opportunities to the other members. Popular groups are Le Tip, Business Networking International (BNI), and Local Business Network (LBN). Join your preferred group and let the members know that you’re interested in speaking opportunities.

4. Special interest clubs
Photography fanatic? Mother of a preschooler? Coder with mad skills? No matter what your interest or circumstance, there’s a group for it. And if you can share information on a topic that’s relevant to its members, they’ll welcome you as a speaker.

5. Local business publications
Most metropolitan areas have a magazine or newspaper devoted to area business news. Here in southeast Michigan, we have the Business Review and Crain’s Detroit Business. Check out the periodical’s Events page (in print or online), then contact the organizations listing presentations and pitch them for speaking.

6. Your clients
No need to get all fancy and overlook one of your most highly qualified sources! Ask your clients what groups they belong to and whether they accept outside speakers.

Want more? You got it! You can also find speaking opportunities right from the comfort of your own laptop:

7. Meetup.com

8. Eventbrite.com

9. LinkedIn Events

10. Facebook Events

Each of these sites provides tools for like-minded people to organize gatherings around shared interests. Visit the online site and search for meetings or events by topic and geographic location. (With LinkedIn and Facebook, events might be in-person or virtual.) Attend one or two to see if it’s a good fit for your speaking topics.

11. InsideInfoMarketing.com
This site offers an “up-to-date listing of events, teleseminars & training being hosted by the most influential thought leaders in Information Marketing today.” If you sell online programs and information products, this is your site!

12. Online conference directories
Lanyrd, Plancast and Conferensum are online directories, just for conferences. Lanyrd.com, for example, suggests events for you based on those attended by people you follow on social media and keywords in your profiles.

13. Google
Just Google it! Search for events in your industry. Want to get more creative? Search your competitors and other service providers who target the same clients to find out where they’ve spoken.

14. Speaker Directories.
Speaker directories are matchmaking services that list speakers for a fee. Meeting planners sometimes go to these directories looking for a speaker on a certain topic.

Here are two to check out:

Speaker Services – speakerservices.com
Speaker Zone – speakerzone.com

15. Toastmasters International
A non-profit club, devoted to helping its members improve their public speaking skills in a supportive environment, Toastmasters also has its own speaking bureau.

Ready to go big with your message? Here are two ideas to reach potentially large audiences:

16. Trade associations.
Got a topic that an entire industry needs to hear? With more than 17,000 national, regional and state trade associations in the US, associations are fertile ground for speaking opportunities. Locate the educational or programming contact, send them an email with a link to a short demo video and then follow up. These associations are always looking for dynamic speakers to wow their members.

Columbia Books, Inc. (www.columbiabooks.com) is a great resource. It offers several directories, in print or electronic formats.

  • The National & Professional Trade Association Directory lists national conventions, meetings, and trade show dates for over 7,700 trade and professional associations with an annual report published each February.
  • The site also offers a Directory of Association Meeting Planners and Directory of Corporate Meeting Planners. Score!

17. Big companies.
Does your speaking topic have a commercial application? Become a corporate speaker! You may be able to get a corporate headquarters or local branch of a company to let you speak during lunch, after hours, or at a business meeting. Plus, being associated with a recognizable brand name adds to your business cred.

Bonus resource:

While you’re speaking, ask your audience for other suggestions. At the right time (usually at the end, after you’ve wowed the group with value), you can say something like, “As you can tell, I am really passionate about what I do. If you know of a group who could benefit please let me know about them and let the group know about me.”

Your fame boosting assignment:

Pick one or two of these ideas to get more speaking opportunities and go after them. Make contact, ask if the group accepts outside speakers and present your credentials and your proposed topic. There’s a whole world of people who need to hear what you’ve got to say!

How to get started as a speaker