Getting hired as a professional speaker requires hard work. After all, public speaking is a business. And as with any business, a career in public speaking requires networking for success. After deciding that you have what it takes to become a professional speaker, you must build great relationships to make money from public speaking. Here are our top 15 networking tips to help you succeed in your search for public speaking jobs.
Get started networking with local public speaking events.
- Contact friends, family and colleagues and convey your interest in public speaking. A cousin or aunt may have just the opportunity to help you get started. Managers and associates could have or develop a presentation they’d love to involve you in. Even if no immediate opportunity exists, they may remember you when one arises.
- Find your area of expertise. That may be business, finance or technology. Attend industry events, seminars and conferences related to your field at every opportunity. It’s a great way to learn from like-minded professionals while also allowing you to embrace the value of networking. These tactics could lead to speaking gigs among planners and potential clients or employers you meet.
- Whatever your profession, see if your company has opportunities to network at trade shows or expos. Find out your company schedule through human resources, the marketing department or even online. Then, express your willingness to attend and even to contribute to these events. A strong performance at a company booth can benefit both you and the company.
- Volunteer to speak at local events. Chambers of commerce, charitable fundraisers and community organizations such as Rotary International may provide opportunities for speaking engagements. You’ll find multiple benefits as a new or even seasoned speaker. Volunteer work provides the opportunity to develop your speaking brand and style and gain exposure while networking among peers.
- Offer to speak at colleges, universities and trade schools. Educational institutions provide excellent opportunities for speakers. At first glance, you may think of events such as commencements. But you may find even greater networking opportunities with individual colleges or departments. An alumni dinner for a business college, entrepreneurial institute or innovation program may provide great networking opportunities for business speakers.
Use digital tools to network and promote your speaking availability.
- Utilize the networking power of social media. With the rise of influencer culture, platforms such as Facebook, Instagram and TikTok provide opportunities to network with spokespeople and trendsetters. Just as importantly, use the opportunity to keep up with trending speaking topics. Follow talent agencies such as the SUCCESS Speakers Bureau on LinkedIn and Facebook to stay up to date.
- Consider joining professional speaking organizations. Entities such as Toastmasters International, the National Speakers Association and The Global Speakers Federation provide learning and networking opportunities. Yet many speakers simply join public speaking groups on LinkedIn. There, you will find public speaking groups across myriad industries, many with hundreds or thousands of members.
- Start your own professional blog or website. Doing so provides an excellent opportunity to showcase yourself as a motivator, thought-leader or industry expert. Study some of the best professional speaker websites for inspiration. Note that most promote themselves as leaders by offering thoughtful content for free. And don’t be intimidated by the intricacies of web-building. You can begin building your personal brand as a speaker with a simple WordPress blog and expand it into a full website later.
- Research trendsetters, business leaders and even other speakers in your field of expertise. As part of your networking goal, reach out to them. Offer to write a guest article or blog post for their website. Briefly outline a topic you could explore that both aligns with their existing content while providing a unique take. Sometimes, leaders will be happy to showcase you while providing your contact information or link to your blog.
- Start a podcast. This might sound intimidating at first. Maybe all you’ve seen are somewhat professional studio productions. But many of those top podcasters, YouTubers, Rumblers and others started simply with a phone. Top health and mindset speaker Trent Shelton began with short, inspirational clips in this way. The most important thing is to be yourself and remain authentic as a speaker.
Collaborate generously while you develop as a professional speaker.
- Conduct free workshops or webinars. This doesn’t mean “going it alone.” But if you work within a corporation, educational institution or nonprofit, your organization may have internal or external training events. Whether acting as an in-person or virtual speaker, carefully consider the event and what expertise you may add for greater success. Then, reach out to the organizer or relevant manager with your proposal.
- Similarly, your organization may attend a conference or host its own event. Even if there are no public speaking slots available, you may still have a public speaking opportunity. Consider providing your talents as a panelist or as a moderator with carefully prepared questions. This form of collaboration helps you gain visibility and showcase your speaking skills to a larger audience.
- Collaborate with other speakers at every opportunity. By now, you’ve likely begun meeting other professional speakers. Some may even be friends. Never neglect an opportunity to collaborate with them. Even if you simply offer to introduce them at an event or assist them in writing or editing their public addresses, you show yourself as a useful team player. More opportunities will come.
- Get to know event organizers. Reach out to event organizers directly and offer your expertise as a speaker. Even when it doesn’t work out, you may find other opportunities. Offering your services by registering guests or helping set up the event shows that you are a team player who believes in the cause.
- Connect with a trusted speaking talent agency. As you get more public speaking jobs, your time will get stretched thin. A trusted talent agency such as the SUCCESS Speakers Bureau lifts much of the burden by building vital relationships, assisting with your brand and handling logistics for you. Then, you can focus on what you do best: being the best public speaker possible. Visit our “Be a SUCCESS Speaker” page to learn more.