If you are new to Public Speaking you might spend a lot of your time trying to answer the question: How do I get my first paid speaking engagement? While there isn’t a clear cut route that works for everyone, an often underestimated topic is how to get invited BACK to speak at a top tier event. I can hear your objections now, ‘why should I worry about getting invited back if I’m still struggling to get my first gig?’ The answer is simple, the strategies that will get you invited back to an event are the same strategies you will want to keep in mind to land your first paid speaking gig. Improving these areas will also put you on the radar of new event organizers looking for someone like you to speak at their events.
Here are 4 ways to help you stay on the radar of event organizers and get you invited back as a speaker again and again..
- Be Prepared
While it may sound cliche, being prepared can never be overestimated. Here are a few tips on how to arrive prepared as a speaker.
Know the Theme of the event
Your topic should somehow fit within the larger theme of the entire event. One of the ways to better the relevance of your topic is to study the list of other speakers at the event and make note of their topics. If you can create a thoughtful connection between your message and the other talks happening at the conference you will no doubt stand out as a higher calibre speaker. Make sure you know what the desired goals and outcomes of the event are and find insightful ways to deliver a message that brings value to the audience in a way that connects with the conference theme.
Practice, Practice, Practice
A famous musician once said that you lose 20% of your preparation when you get on stage therefore to perform at 100% you must prepare 20% more than you think is necessary. Performing at your peak involves being so prepared that you can handle anything that comes your way including memory slips and tech failures. The more you are prepared the more you will calm your nerves on stage and have the flexibility to improvise in the moment, if necessary.
Before you go on stage make sure you know the logistics of what will be required of you by the tech team. Knowing this information will give you a sense of how early you should arrive before your talk and will help you be mentally prepared for all the backstage logistics. If there isn’t a designated time to prep all of this with the crew beforehand make sure you seek out the tech team and ask about any details they feel you should know.
Know how you will handle glitches
Even the most meticulously planned events can and will have a few glitches. Thinking ahead about how you might handle yourself if anything goes wrong will give you an array of options regarding how you can respond rather than being caught off guard in the moment
- Network with Speakers and Event organizers
Speaking onstage is not only a relationship between the speaker and the audience but events are a collaboration between a larger community of people who you should consider getting to know better. When you are at an event, get to know the other speakers, the event organizers, the tech team, and the volunteers. Be yourself, show sincere interest, and ask questions that will help you get to know who you are talking to rather than basking in the spotlight of being the center of everyone’s attention. Consider going the extra mile and learning people’s names so you can address your colleagues by name. You won’t connect with everyone but through casual conversations it is possible to form authentic relationships.
Following up is the biggest missed opportunity in relationship building. Make a plan before you leave the event detailing how you will follow up with your new network. Investing in authentic relationships may be your greatest asset to getting you invited back to an event. Being yourself and caring about others will leave a lasting positive impression on those you meet at every event.
- Grow your Personal Brand
You may have the most electrifying talk in the world but if event organizers don’t believe that putting you on their roster of speakers will help THEM attract the audience you’ve already built, they may not consider you to keynote certain events. Building your personal brand is one effective way to convince event planners they need to have you return to speak at their event. Here are a few ways to build your personal brand
- Be active on social media
- Appear on podcasts
- Write an ebook or blog series
Building relationships with like minded colleagues while supporting THEIR work is also an authentic way to build your own brand. People want to work with and recommend people they know and trust rather than people they feel are simply looking out for themselves.
Decide on your vision and values and then find authentic ways to express those values in everything you do. Whether in the virtual or the real world building a personal brand is a long journey but it is one of the key assets that will keep you on the radar of Events where you’ve spoken. Event organizers want to know that you are consistently spending time building your reputation. Having a solid personal brand will give them that extra level of comfort they need to keep inviting you back.
- Be Professional
Here are some nuanced ways you can stand out in your professionalism as a Speaker.
- Make sure you look Gooood. Choose a style that is authentic to YOU
- Arrive with a good attitude and treat everyone involved in the event with respect
- If you have questions, ask them. Asking questions is an impressive sign of sincere interest and engagement
- Read the contract you are sent and be very clear with your own expectations
- Arrive at the event early and stay late if possible.
Lastly, here are some ways you can exceed the expectations of event organisers.
First, a personal story: During the pandemic when events were going virtual and travel bans prevented me from being able to host events in person, I created a studio in my bedroom and hired out a local studio in India to create incredibly complex and engaging virtual events. I went above and beyond what was expected of me to produce what are now considered some of the leading virtual events in the world. Going above and beyond what is expected of you will give you an edge when it comes to getting invited back to events.
There are also a few personal touches you can add that will give events a warmer experience with you. After most events I try to send a thank you email and sometimes a thank you gift and card to the organizers. Writing a thoughtful letter or sending a thoughtful gift shows your appreciation for the invitation and acknowledges all the work that was put into creating the event.
Promoting the event on your social media, if you are not asked for that service, is another way for you to go above and beyond what is required. Enthusiastically sharing the event with your audience giving them teasers, behind the scenes, and other highlights along the entire journey will show a level of investment from you that will keep you at the forefront of the minds of conference executives.
You can also stay on the radar of event organizers by sending another personal note later in the year. Being invited back is often about not being forgotten and a simple message later in the year before they plan their next event can do the trick.
Lastly, be the most helpful person in the room. Don’t just do what you’re expected to do or what everyone else is doing but be generous with your time and service toward others on the team and with your audience.
Leaving a lasting impression as a speaker involves paying attention to the little details that will set you apart. If you can implement personalized solutions to these 4 tips, event organizers will look to no one but you to be a recurring keynote speaker.
To read, hear or watch more of such tips, e my top tips for MCs. Check them out.
Dan Ram ignites the stage as an in-person event and virtual event EMCEE & Speaker at over 100 events a year. He has shared the stage with international luminaries including President Barack Obama, Sir Richard Branson, Reid Hoffman, Nico Rosberg, and Grammy-winning artists and celebrities. Level up your communication skills through his course and mastermind “Speaking Success”. If you want to make this the year that you master your personal brand, check out Dan’s Full Service Personal Branding Agency. His passion is to inspire people with his motto ‘Start Now Start Simple’ in building a future we all want to live in.