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How to Get Speaking Gigs: Advice From Experts

Are you a big fan of TED Talks? Yeah, me too. And the more I watch TED Talks, the more curious I am about what it takes to get speaking gigs. Obviously you need a pretty high level of expertise, but I knew there was more to it than that.

So, I reached out to my network to gather some information. Here’s advice from experts on how to get speaking gigs:

Be prepared for opportunities

Stay on the lookout for opportunities – and be prepared to seize them! That’s what Joanne Sonenshine does (her company provides partnership and collaboration strategy to organizations around the world).

“Generally I share my model of collaboration with clients (it’s an infographic I have on paper and on my website),” she said in an email. “I also make sure to have copies to distribute in discussions at conferences or when networking in general. When I sense there is an opportunity to test out the model in a group setting I offer to speak to it at a conference, meeting, etc.”

Bring something unique to the event

Sharon Greenspan, a health and wellness coach who speaks regularly for the North American Vegetarian Society, told me that the key to getting speaking gigs is simple:

“Study the events. Be clear on your audience and message. I determined how my topics bring something unique to an event, and then I wrote a well-crafted letter. That’s really all there was to it!”


Rachel Rosenthal is a professional organizer who has spoken at conferences and events, and she had this to say: “Networking and speaking with those who put on the conference has been beneficial. I have also been asked to speak at law firms, moms’ groups, etc.”

I really like the idea of being open to speaking to different groups rather than limiting yourself to more high-profile events. Lawyers with their paperwork are prime candidates for an organizer. Moms who fight a constant uphill battle to keep their homes organized are super duper prime candidates for an organizer.

Follow these 5 tips

Finally I turned to my friend Tassey Russo who teaches small business owners how to strategically grow their businesses, and funny enough, she’s about to launch a new product that will teach you exactly how to turn speaking gigs into a lucrative stream of income. Of course, she just blew me away with her multi-pronged response:

1. Understand your audience

What will bring people into those seats? Where will you find those people?

2. Do your homework

What are other people speaking about and how are they marketing themselves? Reach out to meeting planners and conference coordinators to get information on events, agendas, the application process, etc.

3. Identify conferences and events likely to be interested in your topic

Conduct a Google search to find events. Scour past agendas and speaker listings, sponsor listings, etc. to understand topics that are of interest to event attendees.

4. Gain visibility

Are you known to be an expert with good information to share? Work to position yourself as such through social media, local networking events, national conferences, writing articles, joining and participating in special groups or organizations with key influencers, etc.

5. Be prepared to speak for nothing or very little

It’s OK to speak for free as you develop yourself into a known and highly regarded speaker (you can negotiate for accommodations and travel expenses, though!).

You can pre-register for Tassey’s “From Podiums to Profits: How to Turn Public Speaking Into 5-Figure Paydays” here.

What other tips do you have to share about landing speaking gigs?