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February 08, 2022

How to Find and Book Speaking Gigs

How to Find and Book Speaking Gigs

Google the phrase “How to book speaking gigs” and you’ll likely find a lot of articles and blog posts about connecting with your audience. Or discovering your niche. Or honing your speaking skills. 

These are  veryimportant steps if you want to become a great speaker, so of course, these types of search results are helpful! But let’s say you’ve already done the preliminary work. What’s next?

You’ve already crafted your message and defined your audience. You know what kinds of speaking gigs you want to land. Where do you even look to find these dream gigs? And what do you say in a pitch? We talk about the actual process of finding and booking speaking gigs below.

Research speaking gigs in your network

No matter what you’re speaking about — your new book, your new product, or your new business idea — we bet you have a network of contacts that you can tap into to find speaking gigs.

Make a list of people you can contact who may have an in with one of your dream speaking gigs. Jot down their contact info and any notes on how you know them, which will come in handy when you start reaching out to people.

Consider contacts like:

  • Connections you’ve made from previous speaking gigs
  • Past or current clients you’ve worked with
  • Colleagues, employees, or contractors you work with or have worked with
  • Mastermind group members
  • Other bloggers, podcasters, or vloggers
  • Email list subscribers
  • Raving fans or friends on your social media pages

Got your initial list? Awesome. Now, let’s switch gears and research some potential cold contacts. (“Cold” means you have no existing connection or relationship with this person, so you’re starting a conversation from scratch.)

You can find potential cold contacts or speaking opportunities in places like:

  • National or local organizations. If  you’re a coach, for example, there’s the International Coaching Federation and the Association for Coaching, but you can also find smaller groups local to where you live.
  • Conference directories. Online resources  Conference Monkey or  Events in America can be helpful.
  • Social media. Check popular hashtags like #speaker or #conference but also smaller hashtags like #speakinggigs or #speakingengagements. 
  • Local speaker groups. Meetup, Eventbrite, and Facebook may have lots of potential gigs and contacts!

Now your master list of possible speaking gigs is complete. You’re ready to start pitching your stuff!

Reach out and pitch your stuff

We’re not professional speakers or speaking coaches here at The Contract Shop®, so we can’t tell you exactly what to put in a speaking gig pitch to make you get accepted every time. But when it comes to writing clear, concise, thoughtful stuff that covers all your bases? We got you.

Clear, concise, and thoughtful. Those are three things you should strive for when writing a pitch email. We’re all busy busy busy and we’retiredof reading emails. So you need to grab your reader’s attention fastand make it worth their time. 

A few pointers on what to include in your pitch:

  • Explain who you are, what you want, and why they should care in the first few lines of your email.
  • Remember, it’s not all about you. You want to explain how your talk will also benefit their audience, event, or organization.
  • Give a brief description of what your talk would be about. Pique their interest; don’t give all the details away.
  • Link to any past talks you’ve given, your website, your social media, etc. Attach your press kit if you’ve got one.
  • Always include a call to action so that your reader knows what to do next, whether that’s schedule a call with you or email you back. 

Write your pitch like a human being, k? Don’t try to impress by using jargon or big fancy words. You wanna be friendly, warm, and approachable. Oh, and it’s totally fine to use a generic template to write several pitches at once, but  alwayscustomize your template to the sender. Read, reread, and reread again before you send your pitch off.

Email is usually the best way to send a pitch, but if an event or organization has explicit rules on pitching — like submitting a form — follow those rules.

Follow up with your point of contact

Your pitch will probably be read by an event planner or conference coordinator who, as you might imagine, hasa  loton their to-do list. Like we said before, we’re all busy. Keep that in mind when writing any follow-up emails.

When should you send a followup message? If you don’t get a response within 2 to 3 days, craft a quick follow-up email. Reiterate what you said in your initial email, but make your main point even more clear, if possible. 

Still no response? Try messaging on social media instead of email, or contacting a different person in the organization. You can even send one or two more follow-up emails after that (but then drop it if you still get no response). It’s easy for your email to get lost in the shuffle, and there’s no harm in persisting. 

Be prepared for your gig with a contract

You sold your talk to an event coordinator and booked a speaking gig! Woohoooo! Congratulations. Um…now what do you do?

Before you start practicing your presentation over and over again, make sure you protect yourself and your brand with a  conference speaker contract. A contract specifically made for speaking gigs will outline all the important stuff, like:

  • What happens if you have to cancel 
  • What happens if the event is canceled (Hello, pandemic anyone?)
  • What you’re responsible for, and what the event organizer is responsible for
  • How the event or organizer can  use your work
  • How pay is handled

And wouldn’t you know it? We at The Contract Shop® have a workshop/conference speaking contract just like that for your next conference, workshop, or event. Grab yours now!

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