(and this is from the Planners themselves!)
Old school thinking was: ‘if I do a ‘million’ free speeches, those planners would spread the word about me’. Think again. (It amazes me how many of our Emerging Speakers do not get referrals OR testimonials from those free speeches, but that’s another post for another day, but I digress.)
Today, to get more speaking engagements, it’s all about networking and relationships. I’ve spent the last several months talking to the planners, and speaker bookers, for various events held around Philly. From Technical.ly Philly, TEDx, Women’s Conference, AMA, 99U, Various Chambers, Social Media Week, and various other events, the answer is the same: it’s who you know. In one form or another.
Almost all speakers, even some keynotes (except for the really big name speakers), were invited to speak because of their involvement with the particular group, the existing connections and relationships with people in or associated with the group, the referrals. AKA – who you know, the relationship you have with them, and what they know about you. Let’s be clear – it wasn’t about skill or expertise or big name. Many of these ‘speakers’ had no skill or training for speaking; they were asked because they were the ‘known’ expert at something (not well known, just known to the planner).
So you want to get (paid) speaking? Network your way in and start building relationships. Make sure to start ‘seeding’ your name in places. Teach a workshop, do a webinar, get to specific events and get to know the people that put them together, comment on group questions in Linkedin, reach out to Non Profits and get involved (they have plenty of opportunities for you to speak and present), so many options! And all of that previous information was strictly offline. So many ways to start building relationships online! Comment on other’s blogs, guest posting, partnering, linking, interviewing, and the obvious following / liking / sharing etc.
And don’t forget! Coming to an Emerging Speakers Bureau, talking to the folks there, and using the platform to perfect your craft.
Get out there, get known. You’ve got knowledge and insight to share!