Have you been searching high and low for your next speaking engagement? As you work to fill up your calendar as a speaker, you may be tempted to instantly start looking to land the"big stages".
I mean, who would not want to be a keynote speaker at a big national conference with thousands of people hanging on our every word. This was my mindset when I first started speaking and it is still what I often see from newer speakers in Black Speakers Network.
Why do we ignore the opportunities right in your own back yard? After all, the size of the stage does not determine your impact.
I quickly learned, smaller venues can potentially book you faster than larger conferences and have the capacity to bring you in more frequently. Plus, they tend to be much more open and flexible with selling products or services. I believe if we shift our mindset, we can stay booked more consistently, make more money and serve more people.
Here are 3 Ways To Track Down Speaking Engagements in Your Own Backyard
Eventbrite - Eventbrite is the holy grail of live events. Most of the time, this will be the default platform for anyone planning a public facing seminar, workshop, conference etc. The great thing about Eventbrite is that you can search by your location easily and most of the time the contact information for the event planners are right there on the site. Even if an event is already scheduled and selling tickets they may still have a need for speakers. In fact, even if they have the entire event planned, if you have ever hosted events, you know that they never go 100% according to plan. Speakers inevitably have scheduling conflicts or other issues that prevent them from completing the engagement and if that happens, don’t you want to be top of mind for the meeting planner to call. Lastly, if they are holding an event this year, it is super likely that they will be holding a seminar event next year so now is the time to start planting seeds.
Local Chamber of Commerce - If you are a speaker, you run your own business. It is to your advantage to seek out forums that serve the small business community like the chamber of commerce. Every major city and most countries will have some kind of chamber of commerce presence that meets regularly. Attend a meeting, get to know the leadership of your local chamber. Don’t try to pitch yourself, just go and learn what the needs of the organization are and see if you have solutions that can match their needs. Even if they cant book you, you are likely to meet other great connections that will lead to opportunity. Just go with a spirit of “how can I sever” vs a mindset of “what can I get” from these opportunities.
Meet Up - Meet Up groups are literally designed for people in a community to connect around topics of interest. With over 200,000 groups in 180 countries, no matter where you live, there are likely hundreds of Meet Up groups in your area with new ones being created all the time. Meet Up groups tend to be more informal in nature but if you find a group that has an interest specific to your topic has a good cross-section of your target audience then go for it. Who knows in addition to a speaking opportunity, you may find some great new friends as well.
Do you have any tips, resources or best practices for finding speaking engagements if your backyard? Feel free to drop a comment below.