Where to Find Professional Speaking Opportunities
You’ve got your engine running and you’re ready to get out there and find some professional speaking engagements. The only problem is that you haven’t got a clue as to where you can find jobs!
One of the first steps as you launch your professional speaking career is to get good at what you do. You’ll find that you’ll need to speak for free. Gain experience and build your client database. In doing so, you’ll be able to go after higher paying jobs as you can demonstrate your professionalism, credibility as a speaker and your ability to draw large crowds.
– There are a number of places that hire professional speakers and many of them are in your neighborhoods. Places like universities, colleges, your local Toastmasters organization, speaker bureaus, non-profit organizations, businesses, and libraries are just a few of the places that have a need for professional speakers. Make contacts with people in these organizations and offer your services.
– You can also do an online search for the keyword term “calls for speakers” or “speakers wanted”. You’ll obtain a listing of organizations and meetings that are requesting professional speakers.
– Search speaker’s forums for paid jobs. While this place does not have a lot of paid jobs, you might be able to find one that suits your niche.
– Review conference schedules of various associations related to your topic. Many associations hold annual conferences and they will post a call for speakers. This call will be placed about 6 – 8 months in advance of the speaking engagement.
– Work as a trainer with training companies. Places like Fred Pryor hires contract speakers for many different topics. This is a paid job that requires travel and often times, a hectic schedule, but the flip side is that paid speakers can make over $75,000 annually.
– Research the NTPA (National Trade and Professional Associations) Directory. You can purchase it for about $150. Issued in February each year, it gives you the information you’ll need to begin making contacts in the association market.
– Research the meeting planner’s directory. The Directory of Association Meeting Planners costs $550 and is available every March in a CD format. There is another directory called the Directory of Corporate Meeting Planners. This second directory costs approximately $450 and is available every March in a hard copy format.
– Network with peers and potential clients in your industry. Word of mouth referrals are by far the most popular way that meeting planners find speakers for their events. With that in mind, it’ll definitely be worth your time to network!
These are places where you can find jobs, however, you will need to also put together a promotional kit. Start with a simple letter and build your promotional kit up. You’ll also have to develop a marketing strategy to build and maintain a potential client listing. Using this listing, you can use direct mail or make phone calls to promote yourself as a professional speaker for hire. Now that you know where to look, you’ll be able to start going after speaking engagements and gaining experience!
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