How to get paid to speak at an international conference…
While I was in Japan recently, I told a friend that if they wanted to travel the world and have someone else pay for it, then she should start speaking at international conferences.
They followed up and asked me more about how I did that.
Here are my steps to becoming the person that gets paid to travel and impart knowledge while you do it…
#1 — Find your TOPIC
Come up with a few ideas your passionate about that could be a 20–30 min speech and could even become an interactive workshop.
Start writing up the goals and an outline, then 1 paragraph summary for each. Then write a blog post on each one and see what the response is.
Write more posts about that topic until you see what really resonates. Maybe event write a book…
#2-Find your AUDIENCE
Think of what audience would benefit from learning what you have to teach for each one.
Think about key words and look for conferences about those topics where people would congregate to learn ideas like what you are talking about.
Start applying to speak at those conferences.
#3-Improve your BRAND
At the same time…
Start contacting local Meetups who are looking for speakers about similar topics and make a name for yourself in the local speaker circuit. Network with other panelist and the organizers, often they run or participate in larger events where they screen the speaker applications.
Use other established brands to lift yours. Agree to guest blog or be on a podcast for a person/publication that already has a following of your audience.
Generally, at any conference there are four types of speakers:
1) Professional/well known speakers who are paid fees and recruited to be there
2) Speakers representing sponsors of the conference who pay to be there
3) Less known speakers who are personally recommended to the event organizers
4) Unconnected speakers who apply blindly and may get in based on interest of content
Group 4 is the hardest to get into because there are often very limited spots at that point and tons of applications. If you represent some sort of diversity initiative, you may have a leg up in this group, but that’s conference dependent. You don’t want to be in Group 4.
When you are starting out, you want to be in Group 3 with hopes of getting to Group 1 eventually. Often after you’ve spoken once at a conference, they will invite you back the following year, but that’s not the same as being paid to deliver the keynote address.
Many people stay in Group 3 forever. They get travel reimbursed and potentially a small fee. They get to travel the world speaking about topics they are passionate about.
That’s awesome. I’m still in Group 3 and hope to make it to Group 1 eventually.
Sometimes, if your active enough as a member of Group 3, then you can apply as a Group 4 speaker to conferences, provide clips of your speeches and rise to the top of the candidate list.