Stepping onto the stage for the first time, the crowd hanging on your every word, the applause echoing in your ears…it’s an exhilarating experience that many aspire to. But as many budding speakers discover, landing that first speaking gig can be a steep mountain to climb.
You might feel like a small fish in a big pond, swimming in circles, searching for that breakthrough opportunity. But what if I told you there are some unconventional yet highly effective ways to snag that first speaking gig?
In today’s training episode, we’re going to ditch the traditional route and think outside the box. I’ll share five unusual strategies I’ve seen work for other emerging speakers that you might want to try in your quest to secure your first speaking gig.
So, are you ready to take the path less traveled? If so, great! Let’s begin.
5 Unconventional Ways to Find Your First Speaking Gig
Here are the minute marks that cover highlights in this episode:
#1: Host Your Own Event
(2:45) Why wait for a speaking gig to come to you when you can create your own? Take control and host your own event! It may sound daunting, but it’s an opportunity to tailor an experience that perfectly suits your style and topic.
Think of a subject you’re passionate about and plan an event around it. It could be anything from a workshop, seminar, or even a mini-conference.
Yes, it will require work. You’ll need to think about logistics like the venue, marketing, and maybe even refreshments. But remember, it doesn’t have to be a huge gathering. Even a small, intimate event can make an impact.
Hosting your own event not only gives you a platform to showcase your speaking skills but also positions you as a proactive leader in your field. And who knows, doing a great job might even catch the eye of someone looking for a speaker for their event.
#2: Partner with a Local Business or Startup to Get Your First Speaking Gig
(4:23) Local businesses and startups are often looking for ways to add value to their team or customers. So why not propose a win-win situation and offer your speaking skills?
Think of how your topic can benefit these businesses. Do you speak about productivity, mental health, motivation, or perhaps industry-specific knowledge? Align your expertise with their needs, and you’ve got a compelling pitch!
Reach out and propose a partnership where you provide a talk or workshop. This gives you a platform to share your insights AND helps you establish valuable connections within your local business community. Furthermore, it could lead to referrals and future engagements.
Keep in mind you’re not limited to in-person events. With the current prevalence of remote work, offering a virtual presentation could be just as appealing, if not more so.
#3: Take Part in an Event as a Panelist
(5:55) A solo speaking gig can be nerve-wracking when you’re just starting out. So, how about a middle ground? Let’s talk about event panels!
Being a panelist at an event can be a fantastic way to dip your toes into the speaking world. It offers the opportunity to share your insights, engage with others, and build your confidence, all while sharing the spotlight with fellow experts.
Start by researching events related to your field of expertise or interest. Look out for panel discussions and reach out to the organizers. Ensure you pitch yourself effectively, highlighting your unique perspectives and how you can add value to their event.
Remember, the goal here isn’t necessarily to immediately land your first speaking gig. It’s about gaining experience, building your network, and gradually moving into solo speaking roles.
#4: Reach Out to Podcast Hosts
(7:17) Podcasts are booming and becoming a regular part of many people’s daily routines. As a speaker just starting out, being a guest on a podcast can be an invaluable opportunity. Why, you ask? Let me tell you!
Podcasts allow you to reach a wide, often highly engaged audience without needing a physical stage. They provide a platform where you can share your ideas, tell your story, and connect with listeners on a personal level.
Many podcast hosts, including me, are always searching for interesting guests. Do some research to find podcasts that align with your area of expertise, and then craft a thoughtful pitch to the hosts. Highlight why you would be a valuable guest and what unique insights you can bring to their listeners.
Remember, this isn’t just about self-promotion. It’s also an excellent opportunity to practice articulating your ideas, honing your speaking skills, and refining your messaging. So grab your headphones, and start making those connections!
#5: Start Your Own Club or Group
(8:30) Finding the right platform to speak on can sometimes feel like searching for a needle in a haystack. But who says you need to find one? Why not create your own?
Starting a club or group based on your area of expertise is a clever way to gain speaking experience. It might seem like a big task, but it’s entirely achievable with a bit of planning.
Remember, it doesn’t have to be anything fancy. You can start with a Facebook Group and develop it from there.
Once you’ve developed a small following, you can begin organizing regular in-person meetups or webinars where you provide talks or lead discussions on topics you’re passionate about. This isn’t just a platform to practice and perfect your speaking skills. It’s also a vehicle that helps position you as a thought leader in your field.
And remember, as you’re viewed as an authority, your credibility soars, making you an attractive prospect for those seeking speakers for their events.
So don’t limit yourself to the stages already set. Instead, create your own platform and make your own rules to find your first speaking gig.
Your First Speaking Gig is Just Around the Corner
(9:46) That’s it, guys! You’ve just explored five unconventional ways to score your first speaking gig. By thinking outside the box, you’ve not only given yourself a head start, but you’ve also unlocked countless opportunities for growth and experience.
Remember, it’s not always about waiting for the perfect gig to land in your lap. Sometimes, you need to create your own opportunities, seize the day, and make your voice heard.
Whether reaching out to a local business or getting featured on a podcast, your first speaking gig is just around the corner. So don’t sit there; go out and start making it happen!
And, hey, don’t worry if it doesn’t go perfectly the first time. Every speaking opportunity is a chance to learn, grow, and refine your craft. Your journey to becoming a sought-after speaker starts now.
If you want to continue this journey with like-minded individuals, I invite you to join our Facebook group, Breakthrough Public Speakers. It’s a community of aspiring speakers where we share insights, ask questions, and support each other. I can’t wait to see you there!
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Recommended Resources & Links
The Charli Jane Speakers Club – If you are seeking to expand your presence on various stages, you have arrived at the ideal destination! We proudly offer our members an impressive range of 5,200 – 10,400 speaking opportunities annually. Yes, you read that correctly!
We cater to diverse interests and expertise, ensuring that there is something for everyone. Moreover, we have developed a comprehensive program known as The Booked Solid Success Path, meticulously designed to complement and enhance your speaking engagements.
Episode 159 – Virtual Presentations: How to Adapt Your Speaking Skills for the Digital Stage
Get Booked Speaking Gigs Course – This course is a proven and repeatable 4-step path. I teach you exactly how you can find speaking leads and convert them into speaking gigs.
The Ultimate Speaker Business Building Bundle – Includes all my course kits like: Find speaking gigs, recurring 60k from one gig, meeting planner page, price your speaking, create your own one-sheet course, marketing templates, find your niche course, speaking lead organizer, and so much more.
Get a professional onesheet designed – I have been designing one sheets, also known as a speaker sheet or one-pager, for over 18 years for speakers to use in their marketing mix.
The Breakthrough Public Speakers Community – My team and I are inside this community helping you, encouraging you, and supporting you through your speaking journey… along with 3,700+ speakers.
I hope you enjoyed this training episode!
I wanted to let you know that every training session is geared towards helping you launch and grow your speaking business.
Keep up the amazing work and keep inspiring others!
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Meet Wendi McNeill
As the Founder and Owner of Charli Jane Speaker Services®, Wendi has been “Opening Doors of Opportunity” for speakers since 2002.
Charli Jane Speakers provides speakers with support, exposure, tools, tips, speaking and media leads, coaching/learning programs, and much more to assist them in growing their speaking business. Learn more about Wendi