Looking for a Speaking Venue? It’s Easier than You Think

Don't be afraid of this little guy.
 If you’re an entrepreneur of any kind, especially in the entertainment industry, you’ll need to show your face and demonstrate your expertise to people – and not just mingling in the crowd at networking events, either. At some point, your hustle is going to put you before a microphone.

If you’re an introvert, don’t freak out – repetition is your best friend. If you’re extroverted, you’re already looking forward to the opportunity (if you haven’t gotten a few already). 

If you’ve got a booking agent, dial him up and get things started. However, if you’re broke like me or just getting started in the game, read on to find out how to get your first gig.

Without in-person visibility, your efforts are hampered.

Yes, it’s very important to build online demand, but don’t abandon your offline promotion - never underestimate the power of a local market. The economy’s rough, but the beauty of the entertainment industry is that it’s recession-proof: people are always looking for worthy ways to escape their trouble, and don’t mind spending money to do it.

Setting up speaking events or performances can be a powerful marketing tool, spreading the local word (and demand) for you.  

Here’s the poor man’s guide to making it happen.

1. Start with who you know.  You probably have a friend or relative that works at a venue or with a relevant organization, so start making calls to find out who’s connected and compile a list of handy liaisons.

2. Start by choosing appearance locations closest to you, then gradually spread out.  For example, my first four book tour appearances in July are in various parts of Orlando (I live northwest of Orlando, so it’s close enough); then in August I’ll be going down to Ft. Lauderdale (South Florida) to speak at a local non-profit organization (reserved through a family friend).

3. Check your calendar and pick dates you think work for you, then call those liaisons to start scheduling gigs according to the locations you’ve arranged in Step 2.  The venues most likely won’t match your desired dates, but be flexible.    

4. Once you’ve nailed some dates down, make sure you write them into your schedule.  You wouldn’t want to forget, right?

If Step 1 is entirely inapplicable to you, then start with Step 2, then research relevant organizations (i.e. the Kiwanis Club, niche networks in your area, or the local Chamber of Commerce, etc.) and start calling or emailing them. 

Once you have your dates set, get right to work on your presentation, whether it’s a video, demo reel, slideshow, performance, or speech; and practice, practice practice.

If you have the opportunity to coordinate your events as fundraisers or have products to sell at the event, then by all means take advantage. Monetize every possible opportunity (within reason, of course).  :)

Your Thoughts?

Have you booked your own speaking engagement before? Got some tips to add? Leave a comment below.

Flickr photo by tetradtx

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