7 Ways To Find Speaking Gigs With The Speaker Intel Engine

Cece Payne

Cece Payne

Content & Graphic Design Manager - Follow us on social media to stay in the flow!
Cece Payne

Cece Payne

Content & Graphic Design Manager - Follow us on social media to stay in the flow!
Featured Image for 7 Ways To Find Speaking Gigs With The Speaker Intel Engine - SpeakerFlow

Among speaking professionals, one of the biggest ongoing challenges – and one of the most vital parts of managing a speaking business – is finding speaking gigs. If you’re a new speaker, you may be in the building stage, fostering relationships with clients in order to generate repeat business or referrals. If you’re an experienced speaker, you may be expanding and diversifying your lead sources to build steady income. 

Either way, from conferences to corporate events, identifying speaking opportunities takes sales skills. But it also takes time and energy to find reliable lead sources and hone those skills. After all, with lead generation services like Hoovers or Association Exces sharing their lists with hundreds (if not thousands) of speakers, knowledge is power. If you want to stand out from other speakers, you have to know more so you can be better prepared for sales conversations so you can “wow” event organizers. 

To do this, speaker and sales expert Sam Richter created the Speaker Intel Engine. As a Google search overlay, this tool allows you to pinpoint highly qualified speaking gigs in minutes, and in the following guide, we’ll cover how for seven different types of speaking clients including non-profit organizations, educational institutions, even TED events. 

Please note that this guide is most useful if you have access to the Intel Engine already.. That way, you can refer to the tool as you read this and – more importantly – be on your way to a bigger lead list in no time. 👌

1. Finding Virtual Speaking Gigs

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First, let’s tackle how to find virtual speaking gigs. Although they’ve been around for many years, the rise in virtual speaking truly started with the appearance of COVID-19 when many speakers were forced to shift in response to live event cancellations. Now, even with the decline of the pandemic, many organizations are continuing to favor virtual events. Not only are they cheaper to host, but they can also be more accessible for audience members, as anyone can participate without the usual travel cost. 

The latter of these benefits also applies to speakers who, because they don’t have to travel, can deliver more virtual events than they normally would in person. They’re also able to develop a better work-life balance, as they’re on the road far less. If this sounds like your cup of tea, and you’re looking for more virtual speaking gigs, just follow the steps below. 

Identifying Virtual Speaking Gigs With The Intel Engine

  1. Open the Intel Engine and navigate to the “Speaker Opps” section.
  2. In the “Topic or Industry or Type” field, enter a keyword or phrase describing the types of events you’d like to prospect. If you’re looking for virtual events hosted by technology companies, for instance, you’d enter “technology” in this field.
  3. (Optional) In the “Year” field, enter the year of the events you’d like to research.
  4. (Important) Leave the “Location” field blank. This field refers to the location of an event, not the organization hosting it. So, if you enter something here, you’ll automatically corrupt your end result list of virtual opportunities.
  5. When you’ve finished filling in the aforementioned field(s), click the “Future Virtual Events” button. This will produce, in a new tab, a list of Google search results for every virtual event or conference within your preselected industry.

When following these steps, look for listings that include the name of the conference in the URL. For example, a listing for the ​​Technology & Services Industry Association’s (TSIA) virtual conference would have “tsia.com” in the URL. Another example is the New Jersey Education Association’s virtual conference, which is listed under the link “njea.org/event/njea-higher-education-conference/”.

Finding Contact Information With The Intel Engine

Once you’ve identified a virtual event at which you’d like to speak, the next step is to find the contact information for the person organizing the event. In some cases, this information will be readily available on the event page, but, when it’s not, just follow these steps: 

  1. In the “Speaker Opps” section, find the “Word in the Company/Association Name” box under the “Decision Makers” header. 
  2. Enter the name of the organization you found when looking for virtual events. 
  3. Click the “Find a Planner” or “Find an Executive” or “Association Contact Info” button (whichever applies, based on the organization you’re researching. If it’s an association, for example, you’d click the “Association Contact Info” button.
  4. This will produce, in a new tab, a list of people that are part of your organization. In most cases, this includes event organizers, managers, or executives appropriate to contact regarding a speaking event. 

Once you’ve found a person to contact, all that’s left to do is jump back into the Intel Engine’s “Contact Information” section to verify their email address. Then, after that’s confirmed, you’re ready to enter their contact information in your CRM and begin sales outreach. Easy, right? 

Note: The above process for finding contact information should be carried out for each of the types of speaking clients we’ll cover in this guide. After finding corporate events, for example, you can use these steps to find decision-makers. The same goes for education, non-profit, association events – you name it. 

Tips For Booking Virtual Speaking Gigs

  • Be prepared for price-related objections. Many event organizers opt for virtual events to reduce costs, producing a smaller budget for speakers. This isn’t always true, but it can produce an expectation that you charge less for virtual than live events.
  • Be flexible with price. As long as the client is a good fit and has justifiable reasons to request a lower fee, be understanding and adapt.
  • Demonstrate your studio know-how. Speakers with technical experience (i.e. have good microphones, cameras, lights, etc. and know how to use them well) are the candidates that stand out.
  • Collect virtual-specific testimonials (the more, the better). This showcases your experience with virtual events and validates the impact you provide. 
  • Provide add-on value when possible. Speaking events are great, but offering a workbook or course post-event shows your dedication to the event’s long-term impact, again, making you a better candidate. 

2. Finding Association Speaking Gigs

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Next, let’s talk speaking gigs for associations. If you’re not part of any yourself, associations are generally centered around a specific industry or career. For example, within the speaking industry, two of the largest associations in North America are the National Speakers Association (NSA) in the United States and the Canadian Association of Professional Speakers (CAPS) in Canada. 

In short, people generally found associations in order to serve members of a professional group. Although they can have a charitable purpose, too – The NSA, for instance, has the NSA Foundation – their main goal is providing resources, education, and other forms of professional support and value for their members. This makes them a fantastic source of speaking opportunity if you’re looking for a chance to network within your focus industry or prefer working with smaller organizations, as most associations have small teams responsible for event planning.

Identifying Qualified Associations With The Intel Engine

  1. Open the Intel Engine and navigate to the “Company Search” section.
  2. In the “Industry or Department” field, enter a keyword or phrase related to the topics on which you speak. If you speak about technology, for instance, and want to look for associations hiring technology experts to speak, you would enter “technology” here. When you’re unsure what to enter, input a broad topic to start. If after searching, that’s not specific enough to yield high-quality leads, you can always go back, enter a new, more specific term, and search again.
  3. (Optional) In the “Location” field, enter the location of the events you’d like to research.
  4. Click the “Associations” button. This will produce, in a new tab, a list of Google search results for every organization that both has “association” in its name and mentions your “Industry or Department” search term from Step #2.

Note: Once you’ve found an association for which you’d like to speak, remember to jump back up to the “Virtual Gigs” section above. Then, follow the instructions for finding decision-maker contact information. 

Tips For Booking Association Speaking Gigs

  • Tailor your outreach to their goals. Most association event organizers are hyper-focused on the needs and education of their members. So, if your messaging speaks to those needs, you’ll immediately get their attention.
  • Ask about any keynote requirements. Many associations look for keynotes that meet predetermined educational requirements (so their members can earn certifications). When that’s the case, you need to know well ahead of time. 
  • Invest in certifications when appropriate. If you’re regularly speaking for associations in a single industry, earning certifications pertaining to that industry can boost your credibility and hireability.
  • Remember that each association is unique. The process one association uses to select speakers may be night and day compared to another. Adjust your approach to each one. 
  • Point them to past associations that can vouch for you. This is especially important if you’re speaking for associations within a specific industry.

3. Finding Corporate Speaking Gigs

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Besides associations, another common source of business for professional speakers is corporate speaking gigs. It probably goes without saying that corporate engagements are some of the most popular among professional speakers for many reasons. For one thing, companies tend to have bigger budgets than other types of organizations in this list, such as educational institutions or non-profits. That means more money for their events and the speakers they hire.

On a similar note, corporate gigs are also some of the easiest to turn into spin-off business. Just delivered a keynote, for instance? Try pitching a follow-up workshop, group consulting, or executive coaching to ensure long-term impact. Just finished a workshop? Try offering an online course, monthly accountability “check-ins” with executive teams, or copies of your book. 

Long story short, corporate gigs generally come with a bigger price tag, making them both more lucrative and more competitive among corporate speakers. That said, if you’re prepared to battle it out, below are all the steps you need to find corporate speaking gigs and get your foot in the door early. 

Identifying Qualified Companies With The Intel Engine (Option #1)

  1. Open the Intel Engine and navigate to the “Speaker Opps” section.
  2. Under the “Recent Organizational Change” section in the “Industry Name” field, enter a keyword or phrase describing the industry on which you want to focus.
  3. (Optional) In the “Location” field, pinpoint where you’d like to look for speaking opportunities.
  4. Click the appropriate button beneath these fields to produce a list of results related to the corresponding change. Below are each of these buttons, described in more detail.
    1. Leadership Change – New executives or leadership team members have been hired or long-time members have been fired. 
    2. Purchase/Merger – Two organizations are rebranding or joining under a single brand or one organization has been “bought out” by another. 
    3. Relocation/Expansion – The company is moving, transitioning to virtual, or establishing a new branch.
    4. Funding Activity – The company (usually a startup) is growing rapidly and, consequently, gaining attention and funding.

Identifying Qualified Companies With The Intel Engine (Option #2)

  1. Open the Intel Engine and navigate to the “Company Search” section.
  2. In the “Industry or Department” field, enter a keyword or phrase to specify within which industries you’d like to speak. If you want to speak for automotive companies, for example, you could enter “automotive” or “car” in this field. Remember, if you don’t know what to enter here, choose a term to start. You can always rerun the search if you want to look in a different industry or if your original term was too vague. 
  3. (Optional) In the “Location” field, enter the location of the events you’d like to research.
  4. Click the “Companies” button. This will produce, in a new tab, a list of Google search results for every higher company that mentions your “Industry or Department” search term from Step #2.

Note: After you’ve narrowed down a potential corporate speaking client, go back to the “Virtual Gigs” section above, and follow the instructions for finding decision-maker contact information. Some companies may bury this information so it’s harder for less qualified speakers to spam them. But, with the Intel Engine, it’s easy for you to find it, find the details about said company to show that you did your homework, and impress them right out of the gate.

Tips For Booking Corporate Speaking Gigs

  • Focus on a specific industry or type of company. If you try to connect with too diverse a pool of potential clients, you’ll water down your pitch. Instead, focus on one audience and become the expert for them. 
  • Create free content for your ideal corporate client. It demonstrates your knowledge and experience, and it’s prime material for the top of a sales funnel.
  • Pitch in terms of outcomes. Corporate event organizers don’t just want to hear what your qualifications are. They want to know what your know-how can do for them
  • Don’t waste anyone’s time. Corporate speaking gigs tend to be some of the most lucrative. That means competition is fierce, but being timely, easy to communicate with, and to the point will make you stand out.
  • Advocate for your worth. Again, corporate gigs tend to have bigger budgets (compared to other kinds of gigs) so don’t undersell yourself. 

4. Finding Non-Profit Speaking Gigs

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Number four on our list of business sources can be less lucrative than those we covered above, but it’s nonetheless important. I’m talking about speaking gigs for non-profit organizations. In many ways, non-profits are similar to associations in that they focus on serving a specific group and can operate as a source of education and support. However, unlike associations, non-profits’ missions aren’t always professional and can range from support for underprivileged children to medical relief efforts post-natural disasters. They can also dramatically differ in size with some managing small teams and others boasting thousands of volunteer members.

In any case, from a speaking perspective, speaking for non-profit organizations is a great way to both make a living and make a difference. If you’re a relatively new speaker, depending on your focus industries, it can also be an avenue to make connections and demonstrate your dedication to the industry(ies) you serve. So, if that sounds like something up your alley, below are the steps to get started.

Identifying Non-Profits With The Intel Engine

  1. Open the Intel Engine and navigate to the “Company Search” section.
  2. In the “Industry or Department” field, enter a keyword or phrase to specify for which types of non-profits you’d like to speak. If your target non-profit audience is health-related non-profit organizations, for example, you would enter “health” in this field. If you’re unsure what to enter, enter a broad topic on which you’d like to focus. Then, if that doesn’t produce the results you want, you can reset the Intel Engine and start over with a different keyword instead.
  3. (Optional) In the “Location” field, enter where you’d like to speak.
  4. Click the “Non-Profits” button. This will produce, in a new tab, a list of Google search results for every non-profit organization that mentions your “Industry or Department” search term from Step #2.

Note: After pinpointing a non-profit – or list of non-profits – for which you’d like to speak, again, to the “Virtual Gigs” section above. Then, follow the instructions for finding decision-maker contact information. For small non-profits, you may be able to skip this step if their contact information is easily accessible. But, in the case that it’s hard to find, the Intel Engine will help.

Tips For Booking Non-Profit Speaking Gigs

  • Look for non-profit organizations that share your core values. This will make it easier to be authentic, and you can rest assured that you’re contributing to a good cause. 
  • Keep the event’s goal front and center. When you’re approaching a non-profit’s event organizer, you’ll be a better candidate if they can see you care about the success of their event. 
  • Be clear (and realistic) about what you hope to gain from the event. Not all non-profit events pay well, so if money’s an issue for you, consider non-profit work later when it’s not. Alternatively, brainstorm ways to boost your value so you can justify a higher fee.
  • Tie your presentation into the event theme or cause. It’ll make it more engaging for everyone there and keep you from looking overly self-promotional. 
  • Connect with audience members post-event. It’ll make your presentation more memorable and can even produce referrals.

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5. Finding Government Speaking Gigs

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Next – and perhaps the trickiest genre of business on this list – is speaking gigs for governmental agencies. For many speakers, government engagements aren’t particularly attractive. After all, compared to the other types of gigs in this list, government ones can come with more restrictive budgets, more protocol, and more “red tape” or required approval from a handful of decision-makers. 

That said, on the flip side, speaking for government agencies – local, state, national, and international – also comes with its fair share of perks. For instance, once you’ve spoken for a few governmental groups, you’ll know the routine, making it easy for you to prepare for future government opportunities and, in doing so, stand out from your competitors who may be less organized. In other words, having to follow a rigorous list of guidelines has its advantages once you know that list well enough! 

It’s also important to note that having government agencies in your list of previous clients – even with the extra work they required in the booking process – is an undeniable sign that you know what you’re talking about and that you’re trustworthy. If that’s worth the work for you and you’re ready to dive into government gigs, below are the steps to do so. 

Identifying Government Agencies With The Intel Engine

  1. Open the Intel Engine and navigate to the “Company Search” section.
  2. In the “Industry or Department” field, enter a keyword or phrase to specify in which areas of the government you’d like to focus your speaking efforts. If you speak about diversity and inclusion, for example, you would enter “diversity,” “inclusion,” or “diversity and inclusion” in this field. If you’re unsure what to enter here, enter a broad topic on which you speak. Then, if that doesn’t turn up the results you want, you can reset the Intel Engine and use a more narrow descriptor in this field the second time around.
  3. (Optional) In the “Location” field, enter the location of the events you’d like to research.
  4. Click the “Government” button. This will produce, in a new tab, a list of Google search results for every governmental organization that includes your “Industry or Department” search term from Step #2.

Note: Unlike the previous four types of gigs, the process for finding governmental organizations often produces contact information instead of event details. In this case, feel free to use that info to jump right into sales mode and reach out or submit an application. In other cases, when contact information is harder to find, simply jump back up to the “Virtual Gigs” section above and follow the instructions to find it with the Intel Engine. 

Tips For Booking Government Speaking Gigs

  • Prioritize communication with event organizers. Most event organizers – especially in the government – juggle a lot at once, so the easier you are to work with, the happier they’ll be (and the more likely they are to recommend you to other government agencies).
  • Ask about any requirements or guidelines. Do they need to run a background check? What devices are you allowed to bring? What rules do you need to follow while you’re in their building?
  • When in doubt, over-deliver. This is a good rule for all clients. But in government especially, if you’re not sure how much information or speaking materials to provide, too much is better than too little.
  • Highlight past work for government agencies. Proving your trustworthiness and value to past agencies will instantly boost your credibility with future ones. After all, they’ll know that you already know the “working with government agencies” drill.

6. Finding Education Speaking Gigs

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Moving on, the sixth area in which to find speaking gigs is within educational circles. This includes universities, colleges, elementary and middle schools – even conferences or events specifically for educators. In some cases, it also intersects with one of the past sections, non-profits, as many educational organizations include a department for giving back to students, alumni, and the surrounding community. 

In each of these cases, speaking for educational audiences is, for many speakers, extremely rewarding. Although educational event budgets can be smaller than those of corporate or association events, speaking for audiences that support young people – or speaking for young people themselves – allows speakers the chance to help create a better future and empower future generations to learn from others’ mistakes. Plus, educational institutions are almost always in constant communication with other organizations like them. This makes them a stellar source of referrals and testimonials if you plan on speaking for educational audiences long-term.

Identifying Educational Institutions With The Intel Engine

  1. Open the Intel Engine and navigate to the “Company Search” section.
  2. In the “Industry or Department” field, enter a keyword or phrase to specify on which areas of education you’d like to focus your speaking efforts. If you want to speak to university alumni, for example, you would enter “alumni” in this field. If you’re unsure what to enter, enter a broad group to whom you’d like to speak (students are another example). Then, if that doesn’t turn up the results you want, you can reset the Intel Engine and test different groups instead (fraternities, sororities, faculty and staff, etc.).
  3. (Optional) In the “Location” field, enter the location of the events you’d like to research.
  4. Click the “Education” button. This will produce, in a new tab, a list of Google search results for every higher education directory that mentions your “Industry or Department” search term from Step #2. 

Note: Like finding governmental speaking gigs, searching for educational ones with the Intel Engine generally produces a list of contact details right off the bat. When this happens, your next steps are to use the Intel Engine’s other sections – or any other resources at your disposal – to research the educational institution at hand to see how you can best serve them. On the other hand, if you’re not able to immediately find the necessary contact information, return to the “Virtual Gigs” section above and follow the instructions to do so with the Intel Engine. 

Tips For Booking Education Speaking Gigs

  • Avoid weird slang in your presentation. Saying “on fleek,” “yeet,” or “fam” never makes speakers relatable for students. It’s just uncomfortable. 
  • Vary your presentation styles. Lecture-style presentations can be boring, but live Q&A sessions, educational games, or other interactive styles can make even the most boring topics interesting for students.
  • Be empathetic, and take them seriously. If you’re projecting that you’re older and therefore wiser than your student audience, they’re going to tune you out. The best youth speakers do the opposite and aren’t afraid to talk to younger audiences like equals.
  • Don’t make assumptions about what students want. For insight into young people’s educational experiences, ask them. Then, reach out to event organizers. 
  • Watch for feedback. Elementary or middle school students tend to “mask” less than older students or adults. So, as you’re presenting, watch for their honest reactions and use that nonverbal feedback to improve. 

7. Finding TED and TEDx Event Applications

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Last but not least, there’s no better-known platform in the speaking industry than TED. As an organization, TED is responsible for some of the most widely shared speaking gigs worldwide. For starters, they host the annual TED Conference, sharing innovation related to technology, entertainment, and design (hence “TED”). They also fund more than 3,000 TEDx events each year, bringing the spirit of the annual conference to local communities and allowing local audience members to nominate their own speakers. 

As a speaker, both TED and TEDx events boost your perceived authority, since TED is known for its rigorous vetting process. Additionally, when you deliver a TED or TEDx talk, it appears on TED’s website, social media, podcast, and other marketing channels, getting your presentation in front of global audience members who didn’t have the chance to see you live. That’s hundreds of thousands – if not millions – of people, many of whom could be potential clients. Knowing these benefits, if you’re interested in pursuing a TED or TEDx event, below are the steps to get started. 

Identifying Upcoming TED Events With The Intel Engine

  1. Open the Intel Engine and navigate to the “Speaker Opps” section.
  2. In the “Topic or Industry or Type” field, enter “TED” or “TEDx”.
  3. (Optional) In the “Year” field, enter the year of the events you’d like to research.
  4. (Optional) In the “Location” field, enter the location of the events you’d like to research.
  5. When you’ve finished filling in the aforementioned field(s), click the “Speaker RFPs/Applications” button. This will produce, in a new tab, a list of Google search results for every single TED or TEDx speaker application that meets your search criteria. 

Note: Unlike the other events in this list, the vast majority of TED and TEDx events are organized through proposals. Because of this, after finding TED or TEDx applications, you won’t need to allocate additional time to finding contact information for the decision-maker. They’ll just reach out to you directly, post-application, with any questions or feedback.

Tips For Booking TED or TEDx Speaking Gigs

  • Work out your “big idea” in detail. This should either be a new idea, a new take to a common topic, or a new way of presenting on a common topic. These are the things that TED looks for when choosing presenters.
  • Build support on social media and in your community. That way, the next time one of your supporters – online or in-person – is part of a TEDx event, they think of you. 
  • Prepare your application well in advance. According to TED, “It’s best to get your suggestions to us as early as possible, so we can research them carefully and make the best decision on the speaker roster.”
  • Don’t be discouraged if they choose another speaker. TED and TEDx events are some of the hardest to book. So, you don’t get picked the first time you apply, try, try again.

Make The Most Of Your Intel Engine Leads

Ultimately, using the Speaker Intel Engine to book speaking gigs boils down to repetition. The more you use the Engine to find events, company details, and contact information, the more quickly you’ll be able to pinpoint qualified leads. You’ll also be able to prepare extensively before contacting event organizers, so, when you do pick up the phone, they can immediately see your preparedness and value. 

For more information about finding speaking gigs using the Speaker Intel Engine, contact Sam, the creator of the tool, for his personalized recommendations. As a speaker and salesman himself, he’s one of the best equipped experts in the speaking industry. In other words, he’s one of the most qualified speaker sales advisors you could ask for. 💪 

On the flip side, if you don’t have the Intel Engine but would like a look behind the scenes, sign up for the Engine’s 30-day free trial! Regardless of your speaking focus or time in the industry, you can test out Intel Engine searches specific to your business. That way, you can “test the waters” and be confident the Engine works for you long before you buy. 

Hopefully, with this guide in hand – or online, rather – you’ll be booking your next round of speaking gigs in no time. In the meantime, happy prospecting! 💰

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