I truly enjoy public speaking. Yeah, that may make me a monster, but I know there are other monsters out there as well. If you want to expand your audience and build your platform, knowing how to find speaking gigs is a great way to do that.
Now, before we get too far into it, I want to note that this post won’t cover how to get high-paying speaking gigs. Those are great, but generally, unless you’ve been speaking for a while or have built a huge following, you won’t find those.
Also, it’s worth noting that TED, you know, of the Talks fame, doesn’t pay speakers. They are like THE NAME in the world of speaking, and they don’t pay.
That isn’t to say that a TED Talk wouldn’t pay off in other ways. But it is to say that a lot of the speaking work you do will either be for free, or in exchange for free entry to the event where you’ll be speaking. Sometimes you can even get pay, free entrance to the event, and a hotel room for the weekend.
Now, with that out of the way, let’s talk about how to find speaking gigs that may or may not pay.
How to Find Speaking Gigs
Not all speaking engagements are created equal, and if you’re looking for your ideal speaking gig, there are a few ways to find it. These are some of the ways I’ve been able to build my speaking portfolio.
001: Conference Websites
Typically, conferences are looking for speakers, and many of them want you to apply. It can be as simple as filling out an online form and adding some links to content you’ve created on the topic.
In some cases, they may want a formal pitch and an outline of your talk. I’ve even spoken at events that require a short video as an audition.
Regardless of your industry, conference websites usually have a specific link where you can apply to speak, as well as all the information you’ll need to submit your application. I recommend watching the social media of your favorite conferences. They’ll usually put out a call for applications and let you know the deadline. But make sure you’re thinking ahead! A lot of conferences want you to apply 3–6 months before the actual event so they can get their duckies in a row.