How to get speaking engagements

Public speakers set the tone and establish the atmosphere of the entire event. They also add authenticity and authority, connecting with the audience in ways others can’t. Becoming a successful public speaker, however, starts with getting your first few speaking engagements.

A speaking engagement is when organizers ask you to formally discuss a specific topic. This could be a leadership or training seminar, a community or university class, webinars, a motivational speaker event, or any other type of gathering. As a potential speaker, you must know and hone your capabilities and market yourself well to land speaking gigs. In this article, we’ll learn how to get speaking engagements and gain recognition as a public speaker.

Benefits of becoming a paid speaker

Not everyone has what it takes to be a professional speaker. In fact, up to 75% of the population fears public speaking! The anxiety and fear of failing to connect with the audience and deliver a compelling message are real, and it takes a lot of practice and dedication to become comfortable speaking in front of people. However, becoming a paid speaker entails a variety of benefits, both career-wise and personally.

The demand for speakers is high. Those who take on this endeavor are often rewarded with a unique platform and new opportunities. Here are five of the most prominent benefits of becoming a paid speaker:


Speaking engagements are excellent career advancement opportunities, as they’re a tangible way of showing your expertise and credibility! Being a paid speaker requires professionalism and genuine knowledge of a given topic.

Every engagement you take on proves your abilities and strengthens your reputation. The more gigs you do, the more value you add to your resume as a professional. And the more value your resume has, the more you can earn.

Newbie speakers can earn $500 to $2,500 for a talk, and those establishing their brand can charge up to $10,000. Speakers with social proof can earn up to $20,000, while well-known personalities in a specific field can draw up to $35,000.

Networking opportunities

Becoming a paid speaker can be more than the money you make. It also allows you to meet and interact with other professionals in your field and build connections with event organizers. Your professional network can be an asset in your career, opening more opportunities and improving your chances of success.

Leadership skills

Public speaking requires more than just the ability to speak and be understood. It also requires strong leadership skills that involve listening and responding to questions, managing time, and inspiring the audience. Honing in on these leadership skills makes you a more confident and better-equipped speaker.

Entrepreneurial spirit

Speaking engagements also shape you into an entrepreneur. You gain the spirit and charisma to sell yourself, your ideas, and your products or services. You become capable of presenting unconventional approaches and making a difference in the lives of others. Simply put, becoming a paid speaker empowers you and the people you touch in more ways than one.

Personal development

Lastly, speaking engagements give you a chance to grow and develop personally. You are constantly pushed out of your comfort zone, so you learn more about yourself and your capabilities. The more vulnerable and open you become, the more your message resonates with the audience. You develop your communication skills, personal brand, and influence to improve yourself!

The challenges of landing speaking gigs

While the rewards of speaking are many, the challenges of landing gigs can also be tough to overcome. Every event has different requirements and qualifications, making it tough for novices to break into the industry. Moreover, there are countless platforms that you need to tap into and vast competition with other speakers.

On the one hand, event organizers focus on finding the right speaker. 56% include diversity goals in their hiring process; under that umbrella, they look for a speaker’s expertise and knowledge on the subject and more. On the other hand, speakers need to find their place in the industry and build their credibility. Here are the three biggest challenges speakers face:

Starting out and planning

If you’re wondering how to find speaking opportunities, you know that taking the first step can feel impossible because you don’t even know where to start. You need to evaluate your experience and skills and identify problems worth solving. It’s also impossible to start when you have no idea about your area of expertise, which leads you to the right audience.

Finding leads

Another challenge is finding relevant leads in the industry. You need to figure out who’s hosting events and what kind of topics they’re looking for, but it’s also vital to research the target audience and which topics they’re interested in. The world is too big for you to find leads on your own. It can feel like a never-ending journey!


Lastly, you must know others are also trying to get speaking engagements. There are millions of other potential speakers, which makes it difficult to stand out from the crowd. It’s a big challenge to market yourself and get your voice heard. While there are many ways to do so, the fact that you need to compete with others continuously makes marketing a tough game.

It’s difficult to get speaking opportunities, but it’s not impossible. Think of the process as a marathon, not a sprint. There are steps you can take, and you can use other successful speakers as inspiration. With, here are three crucial tips on how to get speaking engagements:

Develop your personal speaking brand

Always start with yourself. There are millions of speakers worldwide, but they all have something unique to offer; you are no exception. To make yourself stand out from the crowd, you must focus on branding your own speaking skills and background. Find your niche as a speaker and ensure you can articulate it in the best way possible.

It’s also crucial to know your target audience. Who are the people you know you can help? You must also explore other unique selling propositions and be willing to reinvent yourself as you go. Do you want to be motivational or technical? Get to know yourself and create a voice that resonates with your target audience.

This tip is crucial because your brand is the key to standing out. It’s your way of showing credibility; the more people recognize you as an expert in your field, the more they will trust you. Developing your personal speaking brand also narrows the process of researching leads and finding events. Remember: you can’t give what you don’t have. Once you know who you are as a speaker, finding suitable events for you becomes more possible.

Another good tip related to this is building your presence through social media or websites. There are over four billion people on social media and over five billion internet users globally. An online presence increases your visibility, which makes it easier for people to find you. Creating a speaker bio so people can check out your skills and experience is an excellent idea. An introduction video can also be a good start to building that connection with your potential audience.

Networking for speaking opportunities

The next step is to network for speaking opportunities. As mentioned earlier, your network is your lifeline in the speaking industry. The more people you know, the more speaking engagements you can find. To start networking, find an industry-specific platform that allows you to meet more people in your field. Here are some networking tips to consider:

Attend industry events and conferences

Industry events are perfect places to network because you can meet other professionals in the same field, learn more about upcoming events, and even inquire about potential engagements. For example, if you are in the business field, you can look up events related to your expertise. There, you can connect with other experts, discuss industry trends, and build relationships.

Join online speaker groups and communities

Face-to-face networking is always the best option, but exploring online communities and groups can also help you. There are numerous online communities on platforms like Facebook and LinkedIn where speakers, event organizers, and industry experts come together to discuss topics related to their field. Joining a few of these can give you more exposure and the chance to connect with more people who may need your expertise.

Connecting with event planners and organizers

It’s also vital to build relationships with event planners and organizers because they are the ones who decide who stands on stage. You can find them in the conferences you attend, online groups, or even on social media in general. Introduce yourself and let them know what you can contribute to their industry.

The most important thing to remember about networking is that it’s an endless journey. You must have the passion and the drive to meet more people and build relationships. Even when you finally become a sought-after speaker, networking should still be part of your routine.

Developing a pitch

Lastly, you must develop a great pitch to stand out and land more speaking engagements. Your pitch should showcase your skills and experience, tailored to the audience and event. Remember that every speaking engagement is unique, so highlight what sets you apart from other speakers in content and delivery.

You can use your pitch in emails, social media posts, and other venues. Basically, it’s your elevator speech that must be short but persuasive enough to convince people to hire you. Here are the parts of a compelling pitch:

Quick introduction

Always start with an introduction with your name and purpose for applying as a speaker. Keeping it short and straight to the point is crucial because event organizers and planners only have a little time to read long pitches. Imagine being given just 30 seconds to introduce yourself. What would you say?

Your introduction must be quick but powerful enough to capture the attention of your target audience. The following parts of your pitch will be even more pivotal, so make sure you get your readers past the introduction without forgetting your name. Here’s a good example:

Good morning, (name of recipient),

I’m (your name). It’s a pleasure to get in touch! I’d love to be a speaker at your upcoming event (name of the event). It’d be an honor to share my knowledge and experience with your audience about (topic). I’m a (qualification) with expertise in (subject) and (add an amazing fun fact or achievement that sets you apart).

Deep dive into relevant experience

Once you hook your target audience with the introduction, it’s time to dive into your relevant experience. This part should be informative yet persuasive enough to interest them in your potential. It should highlight your experience in the same field and how you can be helpful to their event or audience.

Stating your relevant experience will be like showcasing your credentials. Focus on how your knowledge and accomplishments can help the event or its audience and use your credibility as the foundation for your pitch. Here’s an example:

I’ve been in the (name of industry) for (number) years and have worked in (details of experience). I’ve (list accomplishments to back up your knowledge) in my career. With my background, I’m confident I can offer the audience valuable insight that they can apply to their businesses or lives.

You can make this part long enough to showcase your experience but ensure it won’t overwhelm the readers. Always tie your experiences to the event and the audience concisely yet comprehensively.

Breakdown of speaking topics

It’s also an excellent idea to pitch a few topics you can cover during the event. It’s best to have a ready list of topics so event organizers and planners can get an idea of what you can offer. Do your research first on the type of event and its target audience, then come up with topics that will interest them.

For example, if the event is about digital marketing, your speaking topics can include the following:

  • Growing Your Business With SEO
  • Crafting an Effective Social Media Strategy
  • The Power of Content Marketing

These topics should be related to your experience and expertise. Adding a catchy intro or conclusion for each topic is also a good idea, enough to make it attractive to event organizers. Three or four topics are enough, but you can add more if you feel it’s necessary.

List of reasons the audience would benefit

The next part of your pitch should answer, “Why should you book me as a speaker for your event?” Here, you can list reasons the audience would benefit from your speaking engagement. This part lets you elaborate on the mentioned topics and how you can help the event’s goals. This part should be persuasive enough that event planners can easily see why you’re the perfect speaker for the event. Keep it realistic but promising so you can fulfill the expectations.

Strong closing

Lastly, you should have a strong closing to wrap up your pitch. This part should be brief but leave a lasting impression on the recipient. Show enthusiasm, gratitude, and the best qualities to leave an unforgettable impression on the event planners.

Having a pitch ready is a huge asset when marketing yourself to speak at events. With the right strategy and approach, you can easily land speaking engagements that will help boost your career. Also, following up with event organizers after you submit your pitch is essential. With proper follow-up, you can increase the chance of getting a response and, consequently, get booked for speaking engagements.


The journey on how to become a speaker at events can be daunting. But with the right strategies, you can make a good impression on event organizers and eventually get booked for speaking engagements. The key is to start with yourself and develop a strong pitch highlighting your value as a speaker. The challenges will be tough, but you have what it takes to succeed.

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