Getting started with public speaking: How to get more speaking opportunities

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In this episode Chris shares with you some ideas to help you get more speaking opportunities so you can get more practice, make a greater impact and grow your business.

You can view Chris’ speaking page here:

Full Transcription

Hi there. Welcome to the Content Marketing Academy Podcast Show. It’s really great to be here today.

In this episode, I want to share with you some ideas to help you. Get you thinking about how you can get more speaking opportunities and why it may be a good thing for you and your business.

How to get more speaking opportunities

So perhaps you’ve [00:00:30] been in business for a while, maybe you’re just getting started with business. But you’re looking to get in front of more people for loads of different reasons. For example, perhaps you want to maybe just even just get more practise speaking in front of people, create more content, maybe make a bigger impact on people. So you want to get in front of many people so you can get your message across to people. Create awareness of your business. And straight up want to do more marketing. Gonna get more sales, right?

There’s lot of reasons why you might want to get in front of more people. So whether you run your own business or perhaps you’re a marketer in a larger [00:01:00] organisation or an employee in a larger organisation, there’s loads of reasons why you want to hone this craft of speaking.

So I thought I would come in today and share with you, I don’t know, 8, 9, 10 ways maybe to get yourself in front of other audiences. Now I’ve been interviewing people for the last, I think, 4 or 5, maybe 6, weeks. I’ve had about 14 interviews with professional speakers. People who are very well, highly paid, professional speakers. And they’ve shared with me loads and loads of stuff. And I hope to bring some of those lessons [00:01:30] into the CMA podcast show for you.

Now just a little update before we get started. We have some new artwork and we have a new name and we created a new description over on iTunes. So go check that out. It would be good to hear what you think. And if you haven’t left a review yet, then please do leave a review on the iTunes as well. It’s really good to get them. Anyway, that’s the commercial part over of this.

So let’s get stuck in right. So one of the things I want to share with you first off is… [00:02:00] figuring out why you want to get in front of audiences. A lot of people just naturally want to it. But I think it’s good for you to think about how it could impact your business or your career to get in front of more people and why you would want to do that. Like what’s in it for you first of all? And then think to yourself …

I think it’s something I definitely learned along the way is that I think you really need to be specific about what you’re sharing. Like what your content is, what your message is. So basically, what are you going to speak about? And who is your ideal audience as well?

Before I get stuck into the ways in which you can get more opportunities for speaking, I think it’s more important to first of all figure out what you want to say, what you want to teach, what message you want to get out there, and what the audience is going to get from it, and who that audience are.

So you could waste a lot of your time going around doing lots and lots of events but never really make an impact you want to make because you’re not talking to the right people about the right thing. So I think that’s really important, to do that. If you’re a CMA member you can get stuck into the professional speakers interviews right now. [00:03:00] You have an advanced preview of that content and a lot of good stuff in there on that topic. Especially from Pamela Slim on exactly what to talk about and who to talk to. So there are definitely some of the principle stuff that you should be thinking about. So perhaps you want to come up with 2 or 3 main topics or 2 or 3 main presentations that you want to deliver. And then you can start to be very specific about who you reach out to. Not just audiences, the organisers of events and things like that as well.

Raise Your Hand

So one [00:03:30] of the things I did when I first started my business was basically, this was lesson 1 I guess, is raise your hand. And that could be done many different ways.

So just by simply letting people know that you’re available as a speaker to speak at events, that’s the first step, right. So when someone at a business event or someone that runs an expo or a seminar or a conference or whatever it might be, your local chamber perhaps, make sure they know that you want to speak at their event. Just raise your hand.

Networking [00:04:00] meeting is another good example. And loads of these happen in your local area. And they’re always looking for someone different to come and share a message or teach them about something specific. And they want to scale up. So raise your hand. That’s the first lesson. Business events, obviously, the most obvious one to reach out to. They’re very local and accessible and you’ll probably be able to get an opportunity to speak in there just by simply just telling people you’ve got something to speak about.

Online Events

The next one is [00:04:30] number 2, online events. So there’s lot’s … There’s just loads of online events happening all over the world. The great thing about it is obviously you can do it from your laptop in your office or in your home or from anywhere in the world really. And there’s also online summits, online conferences.

There’s opportunities to do webinars for different reasons as well. You can jump on do webinars with different communities and different membership organisations. Talk about that in a second. But online events. So don’t just think about … Don’t just think that you have to get in front of an audience [00:05:00] in person locally.

Also think a little bit wider. Online events are a great place for you to go. And it’ll force you to create content, articulate an idea, structure your content. You know, all of that kind of good stuff as well. It comes with just getting in front of an audience. So you can do that online.

Colleges and Universities

Colleges and universities are another way. So number 3. Colleges, universities in the local area or beyond are always looking for guests lecturers and business people and marketers, entrepreneurs to come and teach them about something from the real world. From business, [00:05:30] from enterprise, from professional services, or whatever organisation that you’re a part of.

I’m sure there’s something that you could share with Masters students or undergraduate students or skills students or anything, really. I’ve spoken at high schools and I’ve spoken at colleges and I’ve spoken at universities. So you can do that too. And you could actually get paid to do that work too, which is good.

So you can get paid to do all of this work I’m talking about here. I guess one of the sort of undercurrent messages is that if you want to get [00:06:00] as much opportunity as possible because you want to get as much practise in as possible and you want to make a big impact. And perhaps one way to do that is to do your speaking for free for a while and then build it up from there.

I did about 30 gigs last year and the bulk of them were free. It was just to try and get in front of more people. So you can do that too. There’s lots of ways to do this but you can … You know, free and paid. There’s pros and cons of both. And there’s reasons why you would do one or the other, depend on what kind of event you’re doing. So colleges and universities, number 3.

Public Speaking Organisations

Number 4 is [00:06:30] to get involved in some public speaking organisations. So the PSA, the Public Speaking Association I think is what it’s called. Or Toastmasters. Or some sort of local organisation.

Perhaps they meet up once a month and they do presentations and they give you feedback and all that kind of stuff. You can get involved in something like that. So those are accessible to pretty much anybody in any country in the world. So if you’re listening to this, there’s probably a Toastmasters or a PSA in your local area or near [00:07:00] the city that you can get involved in.

Videos and Podcasting

Now this one might be out of left field but I think it’s important too. Videos and podcasting.

So the great thing about having a video channel or a podcast series or show is that you have to turn up with your voice and speak about something. So it forces you to structure content so that there’s a start, a middle, and an end. There’s a point, a transition. And also it forces you to be able to articulate an idea and get a message out there to people as well. So you might find, [00:07:30] for example, I find the people that have podcast and have been running a podcast for a long time, so a couple of years, 5, 6, years generally speaking are good at presenting their ideas. Because they’ve had to do it through the microphone for a long, long time.

So I think having a video channel or a podcast channel is definitely one way to practise your speaking and practise your structure and to be able to articulate and get an idea across to an audience. So creating content. Just speaking generally is [00:08:00] a good practise. So video and podcasting can be a good way to create content for your business and marketing for your content. But there’s added benefits of the practise of speaking.

Clubs and Hobbies

If you’re part of a membership or a club, perhaps you’re part of a Rotary or your local sailing club or a football club or a running club or … I don’t know. Any club. Any sport or activity that you’re involved in as a hobby, then there might be an opportunity for you there to kind of raise a hand again [00:08:30] and say that you want to speak about something or show people how to do something. A technique, a skill. Or perhaps run the class for the day, for that evening, or whatever, or that month. And be at the front of the class for a change and do something, teach them something. So there’s an opportunity probably there for you as well if you’ve not thought about that before.

Speaker Page on Your Website

I don’t know what number I’m one. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. Number 7 is a page on your website.

So, again, this is about you getting more opportunities. And this kind of leads in from raising [00:09:00] a hand, the first point I made. Is to have a page on your website that simply says that you are available to be booked as a speaker for events. And you want to get some stuff in there like some pictures of you, we’ll talk about that in a sec.


In fact, number 8 is assets. So having pictures of yourself. Perhaps some video of yourself. Perhaps some testimonials and recommendations from the people who have booked you to speak. That’s perhaps one of the reasons why you should speak for free so you could collect up these assets. Pictures, videos, testimonials from the people that have booked [00:09:30] you.

Get them onto your website. Create a page that’s available … That showcases that you’re available for speaking. And just build up on that page. So you can just build the content on that page over a period of time. But make sure people know that you are available to speak at events. It’s up to you whether you choose to do those events, but at least people can see that you are available to speak and there’s social proof there like said videos and pictures, testimonials. Build up those assets. So that’s number 8.

Start Your Own Event

Number 9 is to start your own event. So create [00:10:00] your own opportunities.

I’ve done a lot of this in the past. So this might simply running your own workshops or running workshops for another organisation. Again that could be a page on your website.

And running some free or low-cost local meet-ups. So you can get maybe 5 or 10 or 15 or 20 people to come and meet you once a month or something like that around a specific topic. Gives you a chance to create a presentation or at least facilitate a room or a conversation.

You could create your own seminar or conferences or, like I said, workshops. [00:10:30] Or you could do something that involves … Like our first Content Marketing Academy event, our first CMA Live, was literally me and my friends coming together to do something in a room with people. And I think out of the 40 people that were in the room, I think 27 people were actually customers. And the other 13 were either speakers or table hosts that were helping me to pool all this content together.

In Summary

So there’s lots and lots of ways for you to get out there and do more. It’s more about, coming back to what I said at the start, is to think about the benefits to you for [00:11:00] putting yourself out there in front of an audience and then raising a hand and then finding all of those opportunities.

But maybe speaking doesn’t come natural to you. Maybe you’re more leaning towards I know I have to do it but it’s not natural for me and these ways I’ve shared with you today are a good opportunity for you to get out there and start to practise. You know, start to get better and prove … And I hope you find that useful. So you could use those ideas to get more gigs, get more opportunities, make a bigger impact, create [00:11:30] awareness of your business. But also practise and hone the craft of speaking in front of audiences.

If you’ve got any questions about anything like that or you want to add something to the list, e-mail me or you can tweet me @chrismarr101.

I’m always interested in hearing your ideas and your own stories and experiences as well. Around speaking especially. We’re going to cover this a lot going forwards.

I hope you’ve had a good day and you’re doing something that makes you happy. Don’t forget to be awesome.