Speaking at conferences and events is a powerful step toward getting your ideas and expertise into the marketplace. And yet, most people have no idea how to get considered for the speaking roster. If you have a message you’d like to share, here’s a few keys to getting your name in the hat as a potential speaker:
1) Volunteer behind the scenes. My very first speaking opportunity was an event where I volunteered to work behind the scenes. When one of the workshop speakers missed his flight, they were desperate to fill the slot. To a great extent, just because I was there, I got the nod. Had I not been working the event, they would have never asked me, and who knows how long it would have been before my speaking career would have started?
2) Become an “expert.” Early in my career, I had the opportunity to travel to a number of Third World countries to film documentary footage. After those trips, I had enormous experience in the challenges of shooting internationally – particularly in difficult situations. So I started writing magazine articles and talks on what producers needed to consider before a production outside the United States. Before long, a media conference asked me to share on the subject and I was off and running.
3) Plan ahead. I get called from people a week before conferences asking if they can speak. But conference schedules and speakers are decided 6 months to a year out. Get in line early, and start talking to conference leaders way ahead of the date.
4) You don’t need an agent. There are some excellent agencies that represent public speakers, but many of the top speakers don’t use them. If you can get represented, then great. But it’s not a requirement. It’s more important that you be known in your area of expertise, and make contact with conference planners. When it comes to conferences, networking matters.
5) Finally – become a great speaker. If you can’t capture the audience’s attention, you won’t get a second shot. Here’s a few resources to help:
The Scorre Conference – This is Ken Davis and Michael Hyatt’s event, and it’s great training for public speaking.
Give Your Speech, Change the World – My friend Tim Sanders recommended this book and it’s fantastic.
Anything by Nancy Duarte – Nancy co-founded “Duarte” – an innovative agency designed to help their clients communicate ideas. She’s written some amazing books on how to give compelling presentations, and I’m a huge fan.
Step out there. Make some connections and start speaking. People need to hear your ideas.
Are there other good ways you’ve discovered to help get on the stage of conferences and workshops?