How to Pitch Yourself for Speaking Opportunities
Pitching yourself as a speaker or expert educator can be intimidating- but it doesn’t have to be! Whether you are reaching out to a podcast host (a great place to start speaking), an event organizer or coordinator, or considering starting a business as a professional public speaker there are some best practices that most experts would agree on.
Disclaimer: as an Educator for Creative Educators I see one common mistake repeatedly. That mistake is giving up too soon. I want to share this to remind you of how long it took you to become truly great at something; allow yourself that same amount of time to grow into a great speaker. Prepare yourself to hear a few “no’s” along the way, and celebrate all the “yes’s” as well!
Let’s start by talking through four things you can do to better prepare yourself for pitching speaking opportunities. And because I believe that we can’t prepare without knowing potential pitfalls, we will also address a few things to avoid when pitching.
Four things you SHOULD do when pitching:
Of course there are so many factors that go into getting started pitching, but these four tips will hopefully give you a solid starting point.
You don’t want to put any more work on the host or their team. Showing that you have clear and well thought out areas of expertise helps make it easy for them to say yes.
I know it seems safer to cast a wide net and try to get as many opportunities as possible (and that’s true to an extent), but if you haven’t done any research you could end up in a conversation that just doesn’t make sense for you, for the host, or for their audience. At that point, that is just a waste of everyone’s time. So take the time to do some research and make sure it’s a good fit before telling them in your pitch that it’s a great fit!
Now let’s talk about two things not to do when pitching yourself as a speaker
Again, while every host, event founder, and booking coordinator is different these two points are pretty well agreed upon as do-nots:
Hear me out; this does not mean don’t ask about the process, or try to build a relationship in person or via messenger. This means don’t just jump into an ask right off the bat and in an inappropriate setting. Whoever you are pitching to is a human who will likely feel cornered and is also likely not thinking about booking speakers in that moment. By catching them off-guard you’re not exactly creating a great impression.
Do your research first. Look on their website for a speaker application. If there isn’t one, you could consider sending a friendly email asking if they have an application process; and again be clear on your topic or the value you feel you can bring their platform. Sometimes in the creative industry our lines of professionalism can feel a little blurred- don’t let that happen when you pitch!
I hope this gives you a great foundation to start your pitching journey as a speaker! For more advice on becoming a Creative Educator (from speaking to mentoring and everything in between) you can subscribe to The Creative Educator Academy email newsletter here!