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Building Thought Leadership? Nine Tips For Finding Speaking Engagements


Speaking at events can be a great way to build thought leadership and promote your brand. But when you’re new to the business game, or even just the thought leadership space, knowing how to find, narrow down and sign up for these events can seem a little overwhelming at first. The pressure of not knowing where to begin may even prevent you from getting started at all.

But finding the perfect speaking event for you doesn’t have to be an arduous task. Below, nine members of Young Entrepreneur Council each offer their best piece of advice for finding great speaking engagements and explain why these tips can set you up for success as a new thought leader.

1. Start With Your Local Chamber Of Commerce

The best way to find great speaking engagements is to start by looking within your local chamber of commerce. Chambers of commerce typically have a variety of events and programs that businesses can get involved in, and they are always looking for new speakers. By getting involved with your local chamber, you will not only be able to find great speaking opportunities, but you will also be able to connect with other business leaders in your community. – Sujay Pawar, CartFlows

2. Let The Engagements Come To You

One way to find speaking engagements is to let people come to you. If you’re interested in talking about a specific topic, include an option on your personal website to book you to speak. You may want to do traditional social media sharing and outreach to let people know this is an option. This option will also allow you to pick and choose where you want to speak, which can help you better connect with your intended audience. – John Turner, SeedProd LLC

3. Join Professional Groups On Social Media

Leveraging social media platforms like LinkedIn and other closed professional groups online is a good idea. There, you will get real-time updates about the upcoming speaking sessions corresponding to your respective niche and explore potential opportunities that may be in line with your skill set. These communities are also home to renowned speakers from around the globe, so you’d be able to reach out to speakers from diverse industries and take their guidance in finding the right opportunities for you. – Stephanie Wells, Formidable Forms

4. Outsource To A PR Agency

My best piece of advice for finding great speaking engagements is simple: outsource. With so many industry events to choose from, it can often be overwhelming and very time-consuming to research each one, reach out to the event organizers and wait for a response. The organizers will often require multiple calls and email touch points before they fully confirm your role too. By outsourcing to a PR agency, you can skip all of these steps completely. PR agencies usually have very good relationships with event organizers and can position you in high-profile thought leadership roles as well. Finally, PR agencies will help you prepare for your role and handle all the day-of logistics. – Greg Ashton, GROW

5. Find Where You Can Add Value

Apply for events in your industry where you can add value for the attendees. Talking about coaching baseball at a sewing convention may not earn you the interactions you want. However, teaching courses on how to sell your quilt patterns online to create passive income would be a grand slam at a sewing convention. As a speaker, you may have many different pitch decks to work from. Put yourself in the shoes of the attendees and choose a topic that they are most likely to interact with. This will pose you as the expert, earn you respect and turn that speaking engagement into a lucrative benefit if you offer a session-only special for courses or coaching to the class. – Mary Harcourt, CosmoGlo

6. Treat The Process Like A Sales Funnel

Think of the process of landing speaking events like a sales funnel. Start by listing your dream engagements to see what you are up against. Then, get to work. I suggest that you start by building out your personal brand. That way, you can create interest and a following around your thought leadership. Do this by starting a blog or publishing on third-party platforms. This will give you enough exposure to be noticed and vetted by event managers. Remember to never stop producing content, even if it’s just short snippets reacting to current events. This ensures that your exposure keeps growing. To maximize your chances of landing your dream event, engage in some outreach. Contacting your past partners, colleagues and employers is the best way to land your first speaking engagements. – Daria Gonzalez, Wunderdogs

7. Consider Your Target Audience

When it comes to finding great speaking engagements, my best piece of advice is to start by thinking about the kind of audience you want to reach. Once you know who your target audience is, you can begin to look for events that would be a good fit for you. Keep in mind that not all events will be a good match for your brand, so it’s important to be selective. When you’re considering speaking at an event, it’s also important to ask yourself whether you’re the right person to speak on the topic. If you’re not an expert on the subject, it’s probably not worth your time to try to become one just for the sake of speaking at an event. It’s much better to find an event where you can speak about something you’re passionate and knowledgeable about. – Abhijeet Kaldate, Astra WordPress Theme

8. Look To The Virtual World

Start with virtual summits. Speaking at virtual summits is a great way to quickly build authority in your industry, as speakers are almost always desperately needed for these events. These events can be an invaluable resource for making connections with potential clients and networking with industry experts. To start finding remote speaking opportunities, you will want to first do some research on reputable organizations that hold frequent virtual summits. From there, create a list of possible events that fit your niche and make sure you reach out early as they will often fill up fast. Once you have built your authority, it will be much easier to be invited to speak at in-person events. – Adam Preiser, WPCrafter

9. Try Good Old Outreach

There’s no doubt that speaking events can be a great way to build thought leadership and promote your brand, but sometimes you just don’t know how to find such events. One amazing way of finding events that help you achieve your goals is through good old outreach. Simply reach out to event managers and ask them if you can speak at their event. If you don’t know where to start, try making a list of events you would like to speak at. It’s a good way to get started and get the results you want. – Josh Kohlbach, Wholesale Suite

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