How to Land your First Paid Speaking Gig
The Power of Authority
Authority is the key to success for both freelancers and agencies. Authority makes people seek you out. It helps you stand out from a sea of competition. It raises your stature in the industry. An important way to gain this authority is by becoming a public speaker at events. It’s a way to get your name out there while fostering a following, showing off your value, and having an in with attendees.
Being a public speaker isn’t in everyone’s wheelhouse, but most people can teach themselves to get good at it. If you’re serious about your career and your business, you will want to improve this vital networking skill.
Here’s how you can prepare yourself to be a public speaker and land your first paid speaking gig.
Learn How To Speak In Public
Most people aren’t good at public speaking, which is one of the reasons public speakers are so sought out. People clam up, get awkward, start stuttering, or lose their train of thought. Like most things though, you can train yourself to get better at it. You just need to find the right inspiration.
Seek out other public speakers. Watch them and learn from their performances. You can even approach them at business events and ask for advice. If you build up a rapport with these professionals, they might even give you constructive criticism of your next planned talk.
Start practicing and work your way up. If you have little to no experience doing public speaking, the process might be more daunting than you’d expect. Practice in front of a mirror, then move on to family and friends. If you’re part of a community or a coworking space, it would be an ideal place to both test your material and get helpful pointers on how to improve. Don’t expect to get paid for these presentations either. Start small to get over the initial jitters before taking on a bigger stage.
Target A Venue
Because of your own unique set of skills, you probably already know what you want to talk about. So it’s important to find the venues compatible with your subject matter. Coworking spaces often host a variety of business events, making them a safe bet for floating your initial talk concept. But other more prestigious venues might be available to you as well.
Do your research. Find out what individual venues are looking for in a guest speaker and whether you comply with their needs. Do you need to sign-up somewhere? Do you need to drop off a resume to even be considered? You need to get to know the events if you want a chance to talk at them.
Network At Events
Once you’ve pinpointed the networking events you want to talk at, start familiarizing yourself with them. This means figuring out what they’re looking for and getting in contact with those running the show. It’s far more likely for an organizer to give you a chance after having met you instead of inferring who you are from a written letter or email.
Having contacts within these organizations will increase your chances of landing a paid speaking gig. It will also simplify the hurdles you’ll have to jump to get to the people with the authority to put you on their stage.
Sell Yourself (To The Right People)
When you meet someone with the power to land you a speaking gig, you’d better be prepared. Have your proposal ready to go when the time comes. A short, clear description of what your qualifications are for the topic and for speaking at their event. Consider it an elevator pitch for why they should pay you for your service.
What the organizers are looking to get out of their event and what you’re looking to get out of it often doesn’t sync up. This is important to remember when drafting up your proposal. Being knowledgeable or a good speaker isn’t enough. You have to fulfill the organizer’s requirements without ignoring what you want to gain from it. Being a public speaker is a balancing act, but the authority it can reward you with is an impressive impetus to make it work.
The Tenets of Public Speaking
There are some inalienable truths you must adhere to if you want to land a paid speaking gig:
1. You have to be good at public speaking.
2. You have to know the events and their requirements.
3. You have to know the people who can get you on stage.
If you play your cards right, your efforts can culminate in a new career opportunity and a host of business possibilities. But you have to learn to walk before you run.