When first starting out in your speaking career, it’s tempting to accept any and every speaking gig you can to get your business off the ground. But sometimes you can constantly be doing things that aren’t in your best interests.
While you’re busting your tail to speak at every opportunity, you could be missing out on other gigs that could put you on the path to building a successful speaking business much quicker.
There may even be some other speakers in your space doing half as many speaking gigs and achieving twice as much success.They’re picking and choosing the best speaking gig for them. And no, that doesn’t mean they’re all paid, either. In fact, many choose pro bono work, media appearances, or volunteer workshop opportunities over paid gigs because they’re less time-consuming yet more profitable in the long run.
So, with that in mind, let’s run through a quick checklist of seven ways you can evaluate a potential speaking gig to see if it’s worth your time.
7 Ways to Ensure Your Speaking Gigs Are a Good Fit
Here are the minute marks that cover highlights in this episode:
#1: Is the Speaking Gig Tightly Contained in Your Niche?
(3:16) The first evaluation criterion is to make sure the event is tightly contained in your niche. For example, if you specialize in social media strategies for C-level executives, don’t accept a gig where you speak about social media strategy to wedding planners.
Speaking at an event that is outside your niche means you’ll spend a ton of time prepping and researching just so you can talk about something you’re not an expert in.
As I’ve told my members repeatedly, you need to become the go-to expert within your very tight niche. Otherwise, you will end up competing on price instead of quality. So carefully assess each opportunity and ensure it’s very closely on-topic for you.
If you accept a gig even slightly outside your wheelhouse and you do poorly at it, you’ll ruin your reputation within your chosen area of expertise.
#2: Is the Audience Within Your Target Demographic?
(4:40) While a speaking opportunity might be a perfect fit in terms of your niche, it’s no good to you if the audience isn’t your target market. For example, if you only speak to female entrepreneurs ages 25-40, don’t accept a gig where you speak to a group of CEOs who are all men over the age of 50.
By speaking to an audience that isn’t suited to your expertise, you’re wasting both your time and theirs – which will reflect poorly on you in the long run. That’s why it’s essential to thoroughly research the audience of each potential gig before accepting it to make sure it’s a fit for you. And if you have doubts about the audience, pass it up!
#3: How is the Speaking Gig Event Marketed?
(5:48) As an up-and-coming speaker, you must get in front of as many people as possible (but not just anybody, as I’ve just explained). You need to be everywhere, all at once.
Now that’s a tough ask on your own. But if you get invited to an event that’s being marketed well and has a solid list of attendees – especially if you can get in front of other event organizers and planners – you’ve got yourself a deal!
Evaluate what the event could do for your profile (particularly online). Does the event have a worthwhile social media presence? Could you snag an appearance on their podcast? Could they give you an interview for their blog?
If so, consider taking the gig because they have a reach that extends far beyond the audience in the room with you.
#4: How Much Will the Event Cost YOU?
(7:01) That’s right, even paid speaking gigs will cost you in some form or another. Whether it’s a free gig that will cost you time, travel, and expenses or a paid event that comes with a significant opportunity cost (such as being tied up at a conference for three days rather than taking on client work), every speaking opportunity has some form of the cost associated with it.
Those that fit into the “busy fool” category often don’t analyze their opportunity costs before accepting a speaking gig. But you need to understand the ROI for each opportunity before jumping in headfirst. Otherwise, you’ll burn the candle at both ends and not see the return you deserve on your time investment.
#5: Is There an Opportunity to Build Valuable Relationships?
(8:02) Hey, guess what? Like every other industry on the planet, it’s not what you know but WHO you know. You could be the world’s leading expert on body language, but if no one knows you exist – who cares?
Therefore weigh up the gig’s potential networking value as well.
Even if the speaking gig is unpaid or very low-paying, there could be an opportunity to build a relationship with the event organizer that could lead a future speaking gig and other business opportunities down the road.
You might know that someone attending your speaking gig is very well-connected within the industry, so connecting them at the event could be worth a lot more than whatever money you could make from that audience alone.
#6: Can You Help the Event Grow?
(9:13) So many speakers make the mistake of dismissing opportunities because they feel an event is not “big enough” to achieve the exposure, influence, or credibility they crave. And while it might score poorly when evaluating the gig’s potential TODAY, what about two years from now? Or even a decade?
Do you have an opportunity to get in at ground zero before the event becomes the next TED Talk within your industry? Can you help the event grow to the point where those who speak at it are part of a very exclusive club? If so, that’s definitely worth considering – even if you don’t think you’ll get much out of this year’s edition.
Long-term thinking is so crucial in the speaker business because it will almost always outweigh the short-term gains of pursuing any one particular opportunity.
#7: Does the Speaking Gig Align with Your Goals?
(10:19) Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, does the event help you get closer to where you want to be?
Your goals will constantly shift in line with what stage of your speaking journey you’re in – so it’s vitally important to consider what stage you’re at right now and how this event can best help you meet your goals going forward.
For instance, if you’re making your first steps into the world of speaking, gaining some initial exposure might be your key focus. If you’re an established speaker with a solid following but want to gain influence within the market, your goal might shift to brand building and seeking larger audiences.
Whatever your goals are, ensure that the events you pursue align with them to help you achieve success faster.
Don’t Accept Anything and Everything – Be Smart About Your Speaking Gig
(11:27) It’s easy to get swept up at the moment and say yes to everything that comes your way – especially when you are part of speaking clubs such as Charli Jane that offer you hundreds of leads every month!
However, you must always remain focused if you want to succeed in this industry over the long term. Picking and choosing wisely when it comes to your speaking gig will help you become known in your industry faster than anything else. So take the advice above and use it to avoid wasting time on less-than-ideal opportunities.
If you have any more questions about how to ensure your next speaking gig is the right one for you, don’t hesitate to join our private Facebook group Breakthrough Public Speakers and ask away.
Alternatively, if you want to learn how to receive thousands of leads a year, sign up for the Charli Jane Speakers Club waitlist to be notified of when we open our membership doors again.
Can I Feature You?
Make sure to Subscribe and Rate & Review the Podcast show on your preferred Podcast platform.
I feature podcast listeners on every podcast (starting in 2023) and I’d love to feature YOU next! Simply leave a review and tag me on social media @charlijanespeakers to let me know. I look forward to connecting.
Again, don’t forget to learn more about The Charli Jane Speakers Club. If you are looking to get on more stages … this club will give you everything you need to accomplish this!
Resources & Links
The Charli Jane Speakers Club – Learn more.
If you’re ready to get on more stages you’re in the right place! We provide members with 5,200 – 10,400 speaking opportunities a year! Yep, you heard that right! There is something for everyone. I also created a program called The Booked Solid Success Path. It goes hand-in-hand with the speaking opportunities. Plus, an amazing community and more!
Episode 142: Above and Beyond the Speaker Demo
Book: Speak So Your Audience Will Listen – Learn More Here.
This is a great book! The techniques and exercises can be a great asset to your speaking business. It will engage and motivate you to be the best you can when in front of your audience.
Breakthrough Public Speakers Community – Join us here.
My team and I are inside this community helping you, encouraging you, and supporting you through your speaking journey… along with 3,000+ speakers!
I hope you enjoyed the training episode.
Every week I release a new training episode to help you launch and grow your speaking business.
Keep Inspiring! – Wendi xo
List Of Events That Need Speakers Now!
The Club That Gets You Booked!
It's All About The Gigs!
Join Our Community
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
How Does Imposter Syndrome Affect Speakers, and How Can You Overcome It?
(1:27) Have you ever felt like you don’t deserve your accomplishments, despite working hard to achieve them? Or perhaps you’ve had a nagging feeling that
11 Quickfire Tips for Staying Consistent on Social as a Speaker
While there are many aspects of a successful social media strategy as a speaker, there’s always one underlying principle: consistency is key. It doesn’t matter
6 Ways Speakers Can Make Money Without Charging a Speaking Fee
While building a speaking business is a great opportunity and career path, there’s an unavoidable time and work investment to make it a reality. Only
Are Podcast Appearances a Relevant Promotion Strategy for Speakers?
Add podcast appearances to your marketing mix. With so many ways to achieve my mantra of “being everywhere, all at once,” some of you might wonder
Unleash the Power of Your Story
Storytelling is an essential aspect of speaking as it allows you to connect with your audience on a deeper level. Additionally, it allows you to
Why Consistency is Everything As a Speaker
I often meet speakers that tell me they struggle to secure gigs. After doing a little more digging with them, the same issue always pops