What is a contingency speaker and how do I promote myself as one?
A contingency speaker is a “backup” for an event by the planner or other hiring party in case a speaker is a no-show, or cancels due to an emergency or sickness.
If the planner is empty-handed for an important speaking slot, it can ruin an event. This is where you come in, because you have positioned yourself as a contingency speaker — they can be comfortable calling you and saying “Help! Can you fill in last minute?” And you say, “Of course am happy to do so.” (if your schedule isn’t already full)
Some pointers in promoting yourself as a contingency speaker:
- You sent your proposal: If you receive a rejection notification, immediately send a letter or email letting them know you are available as a contingency speaker.
- Frequency: Send at least one reminder closer to the event date, just so they remember you if the need arises.
- Research: Create a spreadsheet of “Contingency Events” matching your expertise that have completed their lineup of speakers.
- Create a unique postcard: …specifically for contingency speaking engagements. Postcards are inexpensive to get printed, and they can stand out. Be creative and make yourself stand out to help you get hired. Take the time to do this right. Then have them on-hand as you network, too.
- Send it off: Send off a postcard to the event organizers from your Contingency Event spreadsheet. Try twice — once more than 2 months out from the event, and once about a month before the event.
- The special link: Have a link on your website that says Available as a Contingency Speaker. On the target page, have a brief bulleted list of your topics, your onesheet download, under that explain your contingency service, notification requirements, etc. and have a short form for them to fill out so you can add them to your list.
- Countless ways of contact: Give them every way of getting hold of you. When they see many ways to contact you this sets the planner’s mind at ease. All your phone numbers, email addresses, skype, mobile number (and whether you take text messages), social sites, virtual assistant phone numbers, and so forth. The easier it is for them to get hold of you in an emergency, the more likely a win-win for everyone.
So, what are you waiting for? This is an excellent way to get your foot in the door, to get found, and open more doors of opportunity. Start writing, emailing, calling, designing – whatever it takes to put yourself out there as a contingency speaker.
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