If you’re passionate about your industry, you want to talk about it. Perhaps you see yourself as a thought leader and want to share your insight, or align your business with an industry trend. Speaker events are a great way to do so; they give you a place of precedence on which to talk to people who want to listen and learn. As a very large example in the public eye, the success of TED talks very much demonstrates the power of talking.
This may all be common knowledge to you, but you might be wondering where to begin. It will take some work, but there are useful and productive ways to look for speaking opportunities for your business.
Follow The Leaders
When you want to become a speaker in your industry, start out by looking at who the main leaders are currently. Look for people who are consistently being spoken about, and identify these big influencers; it could be CEOs or entrepreneurs who are being referenced as the people to listen to. Social media is a great place to start. Consider what your favorite companies are in the industry and see who leads them; do they regular attend speaker events? When you have the names of a dozen or so speakers, do your research to find out where they are speaking. It might be somewhere close to you, or in a city in the next state. Enquire to the event manager as to whether there are spots available to speak, and sell yourself and what you can bring to the table. It is worth following anywhere holding events as well as the speakers on their respective social media channels to look out for any future events you can take advantage of.
When you have something to say and want your industry to know about it, why not guarantee your speaking gig and create it yourself? This is especially practical if you have a strong social following as a thought leader and know that people would be interested in attending a local event. Find a venue, choose a date and get advertising; it pays to have a strong campaign for it, tell everyone and place it everywhere. You could even invite speakers from your industry to have their own slot too; this increases advertising, as they will subsequently advertise the event to their own following, and so on. Have a landing page on your website for the event, tell local media about it and share the news to your newsletter and social media followers. A targeted Facebook advert could be a worthy cause for a local event and could generate a real buzz.
Attend And Network
It can be quite daunting to start from scratch in the speaking world, knowing that many leaders in your industry are bringing in the big figures and raking in the crowds. You might wonder how they got started and if the level they have got to is achievable for you. Try not to be intimidated though; use your position as a place to introduce yourself to the speaking community and ask their advice. Do so by attending some of their events and seek out an opportunity to chat to them after their gig is over. Many will make the time to chat and if they can’t, ask if they’d be willing to meet for coffee or dinner. Not everyone will be game, but if you get even one or two who provide you with some snippets of good advice, you’ve gained some valuable information to get going. In addition, it is a great opportunity to network at such events; you may even meet someone you can work or collaborate with at a later date.
Clients & Publications
Talk to your clients and ask what they attend during the year; this will give you a good starting point and help generate some ideas to get you moving. In addition, ensure that you’re reading anything and everything from your trade; magazines, journals, blogs, trade publications…the list will be extensive. Some might be out of your reach as a starting point, but smaller ones will act as a nice beginner; reach out and see what opportunities are available. It pays to start out small and work your way up. The bigger and more expensive events will come as your reputation grows.
Are you a speaker in your industry? Where did you start out from? Tell us over on Twitter.