So….How Do I Get Bookings?

If you want to be a speaker, this is the proverbial question.

You’ve honed up your speaking skills. You’ve carefully crafted a talk that inspires change. But now where do you give that talk?

Several organizations are often eager to have speakers, foremost among them Stonecroft Christian Women’s Clubs and MOPS groups. If you’re male, and you want to speak, I would personally start at men’s prayer breakfasts.

These organizations don’t really pay. You’re lucky if you get $50. But what you do get is exposure.

So I encourage you to seek out the MOPS groups (Mothers of Preschoolers) or the Christian Women’s Clubs in your area. MOPS are obviously looking for parenting & marriage topics; Christian Women’s Clubs are looking for testimonies with a salvation message. If you attend a few meetings you’ll get a feel for it, and then you can approach the organizer.

In some communities these clubs may not work. There could be barriers to entry, or they just may not be open to outside speakers as easily. But the idea is the same: locate some groups that meet regularly but don’t have a large budget for speakers. Churches or summer camps are also good for this sort of thing, especially around the holidays, when many host outreaches or special events.

What you don’t want to do, though, is to give an amazing talk, and then still have no bookings. So here is how to turn these smaller engagements into future larger engagements.

1. Make Sure They Know How To Contact You

This isn’t as hard as it sounds. Printing business cards is fairly inexpensive, and can often be done for about $50 with black and white cards. You can seek out local printers for this, or even online printers like vista. Have your email and your phone number, and a tagline that clearly states what you do: “Pointing Women to Christ”, “Speaking with Passion”, or whatever.

If you don’t want to invest the $50, another option is to have a draw during the event for some sort of prize. You can make up a beautiful gift basket that looks expensive but isn’t by buying a basket from a thrift store, and filling it with color coordinated bathroom items, or notebooks, pens, a tin of coffee, or whatever. Shop at your dollar store and see what you can come up with. Wrap with cellophane, tie a large bow, and it will look like it cost you $50, although you can easily fill a basket for $20. The key is color coordination!

Once you’ve done that, hand out paper for people to enter your draw. Ask for their name, their church (if they have one), and then have a line on there for “Do you know of other organizations looking for speakers?” And ask them to list them, with a contact name, if possible. Many women are happy to list their women’s ministry at their church. You may also get other leads.

Finally, ask them for their own email addresses if they want to hear about your future speaking engagements. DON’T SKIP THIS STEP! Sometimes someone may hear you speak, love you, but have no idea how to get in touch with you again. If you collect their email addresses and send out a newsletter once a month, with inspirational sayings and your itinerary, they can just reply to it. Now they have your contact information!

Fold the pieces of paper and pull one for the basket!

To distribute the ballots, the easiest thing is to lay them on chairs before the event begins. If the organizers are reluctant to have you do this, you can always ask for a table that you can stand behind with your basket and several of the papers across it, with pens. Certainly some will complete the ballots!

2. Record your talk

Now people can get a hold of you, and you have some leads. But you won’t be able to turn those leads into real, paying engagements unless people have a chance to hear you. So as you’re doing these early talks, record them. Often churches have this capability, but if not, a digital recorder is under $100 and is quite easy to use.

You can then edit your audio (more on that in a future blog post) to make yourself sound as professional and polished as possible.

If you have the chance to be videotaped, even better! You can post clips on YouTube of your talks, and then direct people there. You don’t even have to have your own website at this point!

Here, for instance, is how I put up a clip of a talk I gave, clearly telling people how to contact me. You can also just have an email address at the end if you don’t have a website yet. But blogs are free, so at least start one of those!

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ua2zqPN9E8s&hl=en&fs=1]

Learn more about how to generate more bookings with my audio download, How to Get Better Bookings!

Comments

  1. Susan says

    You mentioned Vista for printing, you can also do a really good brochure telling about yourself, short bio, skills/focus and a place on the fold in that can be torn off and given back to you with requested info. This is very inexpensive, and much more professional than a piece of paper, even if off the computer (LOL)

    That way they have something to take away with them to remind them of you, and in color.

  2. says

    Great idea, Susan! And I totally agree with a brochure-In fact I’ll talk about that later. But for those who really want to go cheap, even a piece of paper is better than nothing!

    Whatever you do, though, do it as a draw. People are much more willing to fill something out if they may win something. And the contacts are worth more to you than the $20 gift, especially initially.

  3. says

    We have a few speakers and dozens of writers over at The Internet Cafe.

    I love the new blog and thank you so much for doing this. Do you have a button or banner that we could display on our site?

  4. says

    Shelia:
    I’ve just happened over here from another person’s facebook page. Honestly, just what I need right now! I heard you do the “sex talk” thing on a Woman’s Inspired Online conference recently; you were hilariously and wonderfully refreshing all in the same breath!

    In particular I would love to see something on how to create a book trailer for Youtube. I noticed you’ve done a couple of these. I’m thinking of self-publishing at this point and will need to do something like this. I recently reviewed Alicia Chole’s new book “finding an unseen God” on my blog; she has an incredible trailer…

    Anyway, just glad I found you. Now to figure out how I follow this on facebook.

    peace~elaine

  5. Lucinda says

    I wanted to know how can I hear your blogtalk radio shows? I’ve registered with blogtalk radio but I don’t know what list your under. Lastly, I wanted to know how long should a woman prepare before speaking at her first engagement? I mean I know what I would like to do but, what are some pointers you could give to me to ask my self if I’m truly ready?

    Just need to know,
    Lucinda

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