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  • Writer's pictureChristine Myers Certified VA

How to Get Speaking Engagements- Part 2

In the first part of this series, we answered some basic foundational questions on how to actually get booked to speak, as well as the basic marketing tools needed (website, video and testimonials). And now we are ready to answer the next biggest question…

What Are The Events And Conferences My People Go To?

When you’re first getting started, you could focus on marketing to existing conferences. Why? Because they already have booked speakers in the past. You don’t have to convince an organization who had never hired a speaker that they needed to spend money on you. It’s much easier to get someone to use your service if they’re already used to paying for that service in the first place.

So where do your people gather?

Spend some time on Google using related keywords to find conferences, associations, conventions or other gatherings of that audience. Pro Tip: Search by State as well. So for example, instead of just searching for “financial planners conference,” search for “ Florida financial planners conference” or “Tennessee financial planners conference.”

Here’s why that is so important…not only will you discover a whole plethora of options that exist, but often times, it’s much easier to get booked with State, Regional or Local Conferences than it is with bigger National Conferences. So start small in your search.

Ready to get booked AND paid to speak?

Once you’ve identified some possible events, then it’s time to find the meeting planner or conference organizer. This is usually on the “about page” or “contact page”. Depending on the size of the conference, there may be a bunch of people to choose from or it may be pretty clear who the decision maker is. That’s the key…we need to find the decision maker.

Here’s where a lot of speakers make a big mistake. We’ve discovered a conference we would LOVE to speak at. We did some searching and identified the decision maker. So what do most speakers do?

Send a ridiculously long email (that will never get read) about how great you are and why they should book you to speak. Please don’t do this! Think of this whole process like dating. You’ve identified someone that you’re interested in and think there might be

potential for a relationship. You don’t send them a cold email proposing marriage. That’s a horrible life decision.

But that’s exactly what we do when we send those ridiculously long email pitches to someone who has no idea who we are.

Instead, give this a try…

Start A Conversation.

Send them a SHORT email asking about the conference that they can answer with a short reply. Here’s an example…

Hey John!

I noticed your “Association of Beautiful Brewing Baristas” conference is coming up in a few months in Seattle. I have a presentation about helping your baristas go from Tall to Venti that I think would be a great fit for your conference!

I was curious if you have started taking proposals for workshop presenters yet?

Thanks, John!

(Your Name) (Your Website)

Notice what all happened in this email…

You did some basic homework to see when and where the conference is. Don’t email them asking when the conference is if the dates are listed all over their site.

You didn’t pitch why you would be the perfect speaker…you just offered an idea of what you might be able to speak about. But, how about if you don’t have a talk about helping barista’s go from Tall to Venti?” Well, they haven’t booked you yet, so you don’t need it. One of the best ways to sell a talk is to pre-sell it. If they reply that they want you to present on that topic, then you can get to work. Now of course, if you throw out a one line topic of a possible presentation, it should be something you can actually present on.

It was short and easy to reply to. No long rambling email with an unclear reason for why the email was sent in the first place.

You concluded with a clear question that could be answered with a simple yes or no. Easy for the recipient.

You included your speaking website at the bottom. You didn’t tell them to go to the site. If they’re interested, they’ll go anyway. When someone new follows you on Twitter, what

do you do? You read their short bio and if what they do sounds interesting, you’ll go to their link! You don’t need the bio to tell you to go to the link.

So at this point, all you’re trying to do is build a rapport with the decision maker. Another idea is to research last year’s conference. Who did they have speak? What did those presenters talk about? Do you know any of those speakers? If you’re already in that industry, then hopefully you’ll know a few speakers who have been there before.

If so, it’s a good idea to reach out to them and get some more context on the event. Is the person you emailed about the conference the actual decision maker? Depending on the relationship with your friend, could they give you an intro to the decision maker?

Again, let’s go back to the dating analogy. You see someone you’re kind of interested in, so what do you do? You start stalk researching them online! You want to discover who they’re connected to and if you have any mutual friends.

All of this is about building a relationship and establishing rapport with the decision maker. So we have given you the foundational tips and we have told you where you can find events to speak at.

Stay tuned for the final post in this series when we’ll give you some additional tips.

Taken from the Blog of Grant Baldwin

Grant Baldwin is a motivational speaker, podcaster, author and entrepreneur. He travels and speaks at conferences, corporations, colleges and other events. Plus, hosts The Speaker Lab Podcast and helps other speakers start, build and grow their business. Find out more about Grant at

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