Top 5 ways to find PAID speaking gigs for FREE by @KerryHeaps

by Kerry Heaps  | Featured Contributor

Here is a list of resources that you can use when searching for speaking engagements online. Some of these resources have an upgraded option, however I find that the free versions work just fine. When utilizing these resources, it’s important that you put together your own database, you can use these resources to start building your own. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy, Excel spreadsheet is just fine or if you are a paper and pencil person, that will work just as well. Do what works best for you in this process.

Sign up for Google alerts.   One of the first things you should do is sign up for Google Alerts  using the phrases, “call for speakers”, and “call for papers”.  This way, you save time searching on a daily basis which shows have opened their call for speakers portal. Check out the call for papers because they often are accompanied by a call for oral presentations that don’t always show up in a call for speakers search.

If you want to speak at Colleges, search for the Director of Campus Activities.  You can do a simple search on Google just type in “Director of Campus Activities at *” then hit enter.  This will bring up certain contact pages on the Colleges site that will have the contact person listed. The *  search doesn’t always work with all titles, you have to play with the wording a little bit. For example, if you want to speak to the College staff, your best bet is to find the VP of HR. You can do a Google search for that title as well just to make sure you put  “at *” after the title.

If you want to speak or train at company engagements,your best bet is a list.   If you are a member of your local library, you can access databases online at no charge. Every library is different, however if you go to their website, click on the database link and see what’s listed under the Business section. A lot of libraries will have access to databases such as Reference USA, LexisNexis, etc. This way you can download a list a businesses in a targeted area, with titles. For example, if you want to speak to a company’s sales team, you will want to target the VP of Sales, if you want to do training for customer service or interoffice communications, you’ll want to target the VP of HR. It depends on the type a company, your topic and who it serves best within the organization.

Get a list of Associations and target their state chapters.   The library can also give you a great resource for Association lists. Each Library will have access to Gale Publications. There is one for associations and you can do a search to target specific associations, by location industry type, etc. These lists are downloadable at no cost. I also recommend for each Association to research their state chapters. They also booked speakers and can be an easy way to gain entrance to the National Convention.

Bookmark Events in America and Events Eye.    These two sites list upcoming events for the US and overseas. It’s a great resource to find out what is coming up in your area, or in areas that you’d like to target and you can easily go to the show’s website and find out if they are looking for speakers. Events in America also gives you the opportunity to list yourself as a speaker at no charge.

Stay tuned for my next column, I will be discussing best practices for reaching out to these organizations and how to create a solid follow-up system for each.


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