Tips for submitting Call for Speakers and RFPs 🔥
First off, Call For Programs = Call for Speakers = RFPs. They are the same.
Second, I've served on the planning committees for dozens of conferences AND submitted a few hundred Call for Speakers forms. This is how I got started speaking to college audiences over 20 years ago.
I've made lots of mistakes so I know what it takes to get selected to speak at conferences where meeting planners and organizers HIRE speakers.
The best and only way to START earning PAID speaking engagements is to first develop an outstanding presentation. The speech itself is what matters because it's the product, not the speaker delivering it. The speaker is only the messenger.
Speech development is the focus for Module 2 inside PAID to $PEAK where I walk you through my process for how to develop, outline and deliver presentations.
Once you outline the program, then you practice, get feedback, refine, practice, get feedback, refine and polish further until you feel ready to outreach. Presenting at Toastmasters clubs and other 'free' local networking groups is a great way to find practice and feedback opportunities.
This is why I'm honored to be part of Speaking Professionally Toastmasters. I've also been involved with numerous other Toastmasters groups in the past and highly encourage ALL speakers to continually practice to refine, improve and grow.
How do you know when you're ready to present that program to other audiences outside of Toastmasters and other smaller networking clubs? Because people tell you it's good enough. You feel it too. You just know when you're ready.
This is also why coaching is so important. You want to be sure you're getting the right feedback from people (or someone) who knows what it takes to get booked and find PAID speaking engagements.
Once a speaker has a great program and feels ready, the key is presenting that program to the right target audience and associations it is most relevant for.
And if have read and are familiar with my PAID to $PEAK process, then you know Module 3 inside PAID to $PEAK is all about selecting the right, premier association within a target industry.
Module 4 outlines how I verify a premier association so I know it provides the structure and events where speakers are not only needed, but hired!
Click here to view a recent blog I wrote outlining the exact process for identifying the right target audience!
So once you feel confident about your speech, are ready to deliver it AND have identified your premier target association, now it's time to submit to present that speech as a presentation during one of their upcoming conferences.
Friends, one of the best ways to GROW your speaking business is to present your program at conferences for a premier association within your target industry.
Why? ... because those conference planners and organizers are ALWAYS seeking speakers!
This is why submitting a Call for Speakers or an RFP (Request For Proposal) is so crucial.
But if you don't have a target association that is verified, you're going to struggle finding speaking opportunities whether PAID or not. So it might behoove you for us to chat OR for you to learn more inside my book or online course, PAID to $PEAK.
Below are some tips for submitting RFPs and Call for Speakers ...
Know this is not a One Size Fits All approach. Each event is unique but many of the same principles apply.
Study their conference website first to determine if they have a theme. Write down buzzwords as well. If so, align your presentation title and description gently so it seems like the perfect fit. Not sure how to tailor your program for their theme? read Module 2 and/or schedule a chat with me.
It's very likely that 150+ speakers will be applying for 15-20 speaking slots. Most of them won't align with theme which is why you should.
Know that a planning team will likely be selecting all speakers.
Expect to submit a title, description, learning outcomes and bio at minimum. These are basics. Again, see Module 2 inside PAID to $PEAK where I walk you through how to do this very effectively.
Your program description should be no longer than 100 words. Usually they will limit your submission on a website so have a version <100 words ready! I recommend a longer version < 150 words as well if they provide more space. Not sure how to write a program description? See Module 2!
Learning outcomes are also called learning objectives. These are what participants will learn, discover and be apply to apply by attending your session. Again, see Module 2!
Don't just submit one program, submit 3-4. That way they folks selecting speakers see that you have multiple presentations. When they ask you to present multiple presentations, your fee goes UP and you have a much better chance of being selected.
Other elements in a submission could include them asking for your website, sample demo video, social media links (I recommend LinkedIn), testimonials and other groups you have spoken. If you don't have these items, it's OK but you want to speak pro bono in order to get them! Read this blog which outlines why you speak for free in order to get the fee later!
Once you submit, notify the meeting planner or person listed for selecting speakers. Simply thank them for their service and let them know you are excited to be involved with their event.
Keep a file of your submission. For other conferences, you can replicate what you just did! Work smarter not harder friends.
What if you never hear back?
At conferences, you should hear back. Most planning teams are fairly organized and they have a schedule listed on their website when they will inform selected speakers. If you have not heard back, reach out to them 1-2 weeks after that date.
What if you get denied?
It's OK. Learn from it. Sometimes you get feedback and sometimes you don't. Ask for it. Even if they tell you that you won't get feedback, ask for it. It'll show them you care.
Also, send me a copy of your submission and I'll be able to provide feedback for you from both a meeting planner perspective and a speaker.
I've served on the planning committees for dozens of conferences AND submitted a few hundred myself! This is how I got started speaking!
For me to review your submission, you'll just need to schedule a 1:1 coaching session - click here - OR let me dive deeper with you in my Call for Speakers coaching which is a 3 different 45-minute sessions to help you develop the right program that you can mirror for several different events!
If we do not ever speak 1:1, I encourage you let my PAID to $PEAK book and new Online Course be your guide and resource. I share everything I know about speaking inside of it.
Do they pay?
It depends; remember this is not a one-size fits all approach. Another reason why it's important to submit multiple presentations (see #8 above) AND follow up with them.
On numerous occasions, probably 10+ over the past 5 years in my own speaking, where I submit multiple programs and follow up, via email with a link to my demo video, they have replied back that they'd like for me to submit my presentation AND do the keynote speech! This is why following up is crucial.
I keep getting denied though?
Work through the local chapter level. See Module 3 inside PAID to $PEAK where I walk you through how to do this.
Improve your speech submission. Something needs work. Again, reach out to me. If your car wasn't running properly, wouldn't you take it to a mechanic who has expertise knowing what to do?
Additional value I can personally provide for you is a coaching sounding board as well. If you don't have someone helping you and you are serious and committed to learning what it takes, reach out to explore how I can help.
Download my 1:1 Speaker Coaching program details
Earn greatness today! Onward and upward!
Want to speak professionally, part-time or full-time?
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I've been honored to present for over 1,000,000 people through 1,150+ audiences in all 50 states and several countries. Whether I'm on a stage or in a training room with professionals or students, I absolutely LOVE motivating and inspiring people for higher performance. And in addition to my own speaking business, I have a passion for helping and coaching speakers learn how to catapult their speaking whether part-time or full-time. My book, PAID to SPEAK, outlines a proven model for speakers and is now an online course as well! Click here for online course info!
If you are serious about becoming a professional speaker, explore my coaching and mentorship options. I don't want you to flounder like I did and be frustrated.