Are you one of the few who gets a little spark of excitement thinking about speaking in front of a live audience?
Many people feel their chests restrict and palms perspire just from thinking about stepping out on a stage, lights shining in their eyes, with the task of teaching and entertaining a group of strangers.
The more speaking engagements I tackle, the more questions I get from brave (or slightly crazy) creative entrepreneurs with similar dreams. And, the most common question I receive is: How do I get started with speaking and teaching?
That’s why I’m going to share my top five tips for landing your first speaking engagement (and hopefully many more).
1. Give away your best content for free.
Whenever I give this advice to a group of creatives, their faces turn into blank, dazed expressions. And, then the next question is always, “If I give away my best stuff for free, why would people pay for my products and services?”
If you’re giving away high-quality content, your target market will ache to devour more. They’ll pay, because they know they can trust you. If they’re already getting a lot out of your free content, they’ll assume they’ll get even more when they buy from you. It’s the best way to build trust with your readers and subscribers.
When you share your best content, it has a much better chance of getting in front of the right person, maybe the person who chooses the speakers at your favorite conference. And, when that person checks out your blog and sees that you’re indeed an expert, she might just reach out to you and invite you to speak at the conference of your dreams.
If your content is crap, what are the chances you’ll receive that invitation? I’m gonna go with zilch.
2. Use video to show that you can speak about your topic eloquently.
Something I’ve learned through working with people who are ones that invite entrepreneurs to speak at conferences or on online platforms is that they like to know that you can talk about your topic in a way that engages people.
If they come to your blog and find only written posts, they can tell that you can write about your topic but that’s very different than discovering that you can talk about your topic.
You can use video to show off your expertise in talking about your niche or you could use a platform like Periscope.
3. Get the dish from past speakers or instructors.
If you know that there’s a particular platform or conference that you want to speak at, you should connect with someone who’s already spoken with that company or at that conference.
Reach out on social media. Build up a relationship over the course of a few weeks. Then email the person, letting her know that you’ve been thinking about speaking at ‘xyz’ and you’d love to know a little bit about her experience.
Getting some of the inside scoop could help you know exactly what they’re looking for or who you should talk to or email about your interest. It never hurts.
4. Build your speaking resume by saying yes to smaller opportunities.
Don’t start by pitching your dream conference. If you don’t have any experience speaking in front of a live audience, they’ll be less likely to say yes. And, if they do say yes, you’ll be less likely to do a great job if it’s your very first time.
Instead of starting with speaking engagements, say yes to (or pitch) interview opportunities. Speak at an online summit. Once you’ve had the opportunity to talk about your topic a bunch of times, you’ll be much more successful when you’re teaching at your dream retreat or conference.
5. Send in your pitch.
Eventually, you’ve got to hold your breath and send in your pitch.
Many conferences and online platforms have submission guidelines. Follow them, highlighting your previous experiences (even if that means a handful of interviews) and pointing to examples of where they can see you speaking (which might be a page of videos on your blog).
They’re looking for speakers and you could be just what they’re looking for. You’ll never know until you try.
If you’re hoping to land some speaking engagements in the upcoming year, use these tips to get started.
Have other questions about speaking engagements? Ask them in the comments below and I’ll answer them in a Periscope sometime next week.
Have a tip that I didn’t include? Share it in the comments below!