How to Get More Speaking Gigs in a “Mid-Way-Through” and Post-Pandemic World

Most speakers dislike using the word “gig” to identify their speaking opportunities, but it is the popular saying in the industry and what people search for when trying to find the latest and greatest shortcut to getting hired and booked as a professional speaker.

Speaking gig, opportunity, speaking engagement, it all means the same thing: speaking date booked on your calendar.

One of my favorite sayings is, “You can’t call yourself a speaker if you don’t have speaking dates on your calendar.”

Summer 2021 is the BEST Time in History to Be a Speaker!

In the Make Money Speaking club on Clubhouse each Monday, starting at 7pm (Eastern), Lois Creamer hosts a two-hour discussion where Here Next Year’s Marty Dickinson co-moderates along with R.J. Smith.

Return to this page each week as we will post notes from the Clubhouse sessions here, including the challenges, opportunities and real-world techniques for acquiring paid speaking gigs.

As Discussed on Make Money Speaking Clubhouse August 16, 2021

  • There is no reason to cancel an event, business has been successful virtually this whole time, you should recommend to event planners to do it virtually
  • Make sure your website says you enjoy virtual, hybrid, and in-person events
  • Contact your local event planners to check in on them and see what you’re audience needs right now, and if we can put something together for them, even if the place wasn’t planning on it
  • Have a spontaneous event! Present them your idea
  • “Keynote” is being morphed into places hiring keynotes with lots of engagement, that’s definition of “workshop”
  • Ask decision maker what percentage of engagement/entertainment are they looking for?
  • You need to deliver exactly what they need, make sure you have an understanding with the decision maker
  • “Meeting planner” is a euphemism for “decision maker”
  • Only time where you intersect with “meeting planner” is at the National Association level
  • Corporate-Level: The “Meeting Planner” is the person that decides venue, doesn’t typically choose speakers
  • Most likely suspect for a “decision maker” in Corporate is the VP of Sales or VP of Marketing, the executive level person tasked with that job. They are the ones challenged with coming up with budget, so the decision is in their lap
  • If VP of Sales/Marketing isn’t the right person, ask them to point you in the right direction
  • State-Level Associations: their decision maker is typically the “Association Executive Director”
  • Non-Profit Level: run similar to associations, the decision maker is “Executive Director” or “VP”
  • Education-Level: ask for the “Activity Director”, “Student Council Chair”, or “Vice Principal”, depends on what you want to speak about. Ask if they have worked with professional speakers before, will tell you if they might pay you or not
  • DO NOT SAY: “Can you put me in touch with the person that makes meeting decisions for your company?”
  • ASK INSTEAD: “I’d like to speak to your VP of Sales/Marketing, who might that be?” or find their email/phone number on corporate website
  • The Meeting Planner is integral to getting opportunities on the National Level. They collect information from anyone that would like to speak at an event, the committee asks the meeting planner to get information on those speakers…
  • Make a good relationship with them because the Meeting Planner is the go-to person to get your name on the table to be considered by the committee
  • Is it better to email or call?
    • You can send an email to warm up the person
    • My name is… Positioning statement… Why you are calling… I would love a few minutes of your time to see if you think I would be a good fit… I’ve attached a snapshot of my business… I will be calling you in a few days… I look forward to talking to you…
    • Add your One-Sheet as an attachment, call it “snapshot of my business”
    • Make sure you call in the next 2 days if you don’t hear back from them
    • In the phone call, say “I am following up with a promise to send you information, I wanted to make sure that you received it and answer any questions that you might have”

  • Never talk anyone into working with you, if you don’t fit their needs get out of there
  • Don’t contact 1,000 people in hopes of getting 1 gig, narrow it down and contact 100 people that are looking for what you provide
  • Don’t be afraid to reach out to the people you connect with! Start the conversation, you never know what opportunities are out there when you make connections with other speakers
  • Keep it simple, tell them what you do and what you are looking for
  • Only 18% of emails are opened, pick up the phone!
  • When doing an event, say you have an article outlining what you do and ask for attendee list/email list so you can send that out, could be other potential opportunities
  • When doing live streamed events, reach out and ask to have a meeting with the event planner. Tell them what types of engagement techniques you have done in the past, and based on that, what can you still do?
  • You need to have meetings with the event planner to show you care, and even do a run through of the event to make sure it runs smoothly!

As Discussed on Make Money Speaking Clubhouse August 9, 2021

  • Decision-makers think: “Motivation is a short term game”, feel good. People are looking for high-content speakers, use motivation as a tone or style. It shouldn’t be an outcome.
  • Motivation is like cotton candy, looks good at first but dissipates easily. Need to bring information that can be applied immediately and increase skill set of something (“MOVE THE NEEDLE”)
  • Everything is a negotiation until the documents are signed and agreement is made

As Discussed on July 26, 2021 at Make Money Speaking on Clubhouse

  • If you are a beginning speaker, take advantage of every opportunity. Hang around people that do what you want to do, join speaking practice groups, take any speaking opportunity you can get (even free), create speeches from blog posts, and showcase your expertise!
  • Call everything you do “programs.” Let the client who is hiring you outline what that “program” is going to look like or what they want to call it.
  • Keynote as lecture style is going to become a rarity… people want employees engaged, workshop style where employees are involved.
  • Use inclusive language to give yourself the most opportunities .
  • Give clients a “Pre-Program Questionnaire” – which goes into detail about what kind of program your client is looking for: Entertainment? Take questions from the audience? Polls?
  • Your audience is tuned in when they are involved in a program.
  • Speaker should ask client “what should I do” in case of a problem or change (COVID related or other), you can even put that into the questionnaire.
  • Make sure you are responsive to what is going on in the world around the time of your event just in case changes need to be made.
  • Speakers are turning into planning assistants! You have to always have back-up plans, and make your clients life as easy as possible.
  • When should you accept “pay to speak” opportunities, with no lodging or travel reimbursement?
    • Is this audience your target market? If yes, it might be worth it! Do you have a product you can promote and sell? That will make it worth it if it’s allowed.
    • Also depends on what you need and what is worth it for you. How does this event line up with your values and integrity? Would you rather pay for the opportunity or be a part of the opportunity?