How To Find Your First (Or Next)
So – you are finally ready to start giving talks!
You’ve gotten over your fear of speaking. You’ve come up with a compelling topic. And you’ve even started putting together your outline.
Now… you just need to figure out where to find speaking gigs.
If you’ve never done this before, you might be thinking “where the heck am I supposed to give my talk!?”
Don’t worry. Everyone has the same thought.
But the truth is, there are TONS of places where you can give talks.
There are communities and organizations all over that are looking for people to speak to their audience or staff. These groups want to provide valuable information to their community on a regular basis, but they can’t do it alone. This is where you come in!
In this post, I’m going to discuss some steps you can take to make a wish list list of places you’d like to get speaking gigs and find new clients.
This process is going to fun. It just requires a bit of research, so grab a cup of tea and settle in.
How To Find Speaking Gigs
First, I suggest you get organized and create a system to track all of the people and places you’re finding and reaching out to. I use a spreadsheet template, which you can copy right here. You can use any method you prefer whether it’s paper and pencil, a word document, or a spreadsheet.
When searching for places to speak, here’s the information you want to be sure to gather:
- The name of the space or studio
- The address
- The phone number
- The name of the person you will be contacting
- Their email
Now that you’re prepped, it’s time to start searching. You’ll need Google, Facebook, your address book and some imagination! Let’s get to it.
Ask colleagues & friends
Reach out to other health coaches that you know and ask where they have given talks in the past, and which venues were most successful for them. I recommend asking coaches who aren’t in your local area, as they might stir up an idea of the types of places you can pitch…and you won’t be competing with them.
Ask your referral partners
If you’ve already begun forming relationships with referral partners or other health-related practitioners in your local area, this can be a great resource for finding gigs. Send your referral partners an email asking if they 1) ever host talks in their space, or 2) if they have any connections they could introduce you to for a speaking opportunity.
Many wellness-related studios invite speakers to give presentations to their members/clients. This can be a great opportunity to get in front of your niche. When I first started giving talks, I focused on yoga and pilates studios in my town (and neighboring cities).
Create a list of wellness-related studios in your area. This could be:
- Yoga studios
- Pilates & Barre studios
- Crossfit centers & Orange Theory Fitness
- Holistic health centers
- Reiki, Body talk, acupuncture, and other healing centers
- Doctors offices
- Massage, physical therapy or chiropractor offices
- Organic markets
The list goes on! Do a Google search for each of the types of types of places you want to speak and use the maps function to find a list of places in your area:
Organizations and Work Spaces
Don’t write off the corporate crowd! Many companies invite experts in to give ‘lunch & learn’ talks to their employees on topics unrelated to their business. HR teams are always looking for ways to keep their staff happy and healthy, so getting in with them could open up doors for you.
Another idea is to look to co-working spaces in your area to speak to smaller teams and freelancers. Again, co-working space managers are looking for ways to engage their communities so they often host special events and presentations.
Another great option is groups or associations that attract your ideal clients. If you work with moms, you might want to speak at mother’s clubs. If you target athletes, you could speak at running groups or Team ‘N Training. If you target professional women, you can target professional associations for women in business. Groups like these can be the best places to speak, because they often have regular meetings with guest speakers. This means that you have a guaranteed audience!
Meetup.com is a great place to find your audience. There are meetup groups for every topic and niche under the sun! Do a search in Meetup related to your niche to see what comes up, then see if they have any upcoming events. Reach out to the organizer and ask if they ever have guest speakers, or pitch a creative event idea that would work with your talk. I also suggest asking how many people usually attend the meetups because many groups are very small. Speaking to small group when you’re doing your first 2-3 talks us a great way to gain experience, but soon after that you’ll want to be in front of groups that attract at least 15, 20, or more people.
Facebook groups are very popular right now, so chances are, there is a Facebook group out there full of your ideal clients. Do some creative searching in Facebook to find a few groups that your audience might be hanging out in and request to join. Check out the kinds of conversations going on in the group and see if they ever meet in person. You can also reach out to the group admin to see if there is any opportunity to give a webinar to share your knowledge.
Where Do You Want To Give Talks?
Now that you have this incredible list of places that you could talk, it’s time to narrow it down to where you want to talk. This way, you can start sending requests.
Focus on your niche
Some of the places on your list might be a better fit for your ideal clients than others. For example, if you work with women trying to get pregnant, a fertility clinic is a better fit than a meetup for a new mom’s walking group. Stick to where your core audience will find you.
Prioritize places that will attract a crowd
The more people you can get in front of the better, so I recommend starting with venues that have more members, clients, or foot traffic. The busy yoga studio on main street will likely be a better choice than a smaller studio that just opened. That said, as I mentioned earlier, it can be great to get your feet wet with speaking by choosing to speak to smaller groups.
Start with who you know
You’re likely to have a higher success rate when reaching out if your email isn’t completely cold. This is why beginning with friends and referral partners is a great idea.
You can also try to get introductions to the person you’re trying to get in touch with from a mutual acquaintance.
For example, if you’ve determined that you want to speak at OBGYN offices, post on Facebook and email your friends/contacts if they have an OBGYN they like who they could introduce you to.
Or maybe you’ve identified a specific CrossFit gym you’d like to speak at. Ask the people you know if they go there or know anyone who does. Don’t underestimate the power of your network of friends, family, co-workers, former co-workers, neighbors, etc.
Social media can also be a great resource. Once you identify places you’d like to speak, look up the owner on Facebook or LinkedIn and see if you have any mutual connections.
If you can find a connection, ask for an introduction. This can be done via email or in-person.
Reaching out to those you don’t know
For places where you haven’t found a connection, start by sending a “cold” email. Your pitch should be straightforward and to the point. Here’s the email I used to book several talks quickly back when I was a health coach.
My name is Amy Lippmann. I am a Certified Holistic Health Counselor offering Nutrition workshops. I specialize in helping busy, professional women lose weight naturally.
Do you accept outside speakers? My signature talk is called: “How to Conquer Your Sugar Cravings and Take Back Control of your Diet.”
If so, please let me know…
Super simple, right? Looking at it now, even I am amazed at how well it worked! I believe it worked because it was short, to the point, and I made a specific offer.
Once you reach out to places/groups, mark it in your spreadsheet so you can keep track. Record the date that you called or emailed. This way, you can easily look back and see when it’s time to send a follow up.
You can send another email if you don’t hear back within a week. People are busy, so don’t take it as a definite ‘No’ if they don’t reply immediately.
Make a goal for yourself to reach out to 5 potential venues each week until your calendar starts to fill up!
Now I’d love to hear from you!
If you’ve given talks, where have your most successful talks been? If you haven’t yet given talks, what’s one place/group you’d love to speak?