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How I find Public Speaking Opportunities

So this past year, I have been finding a lot of Call for Proposals (CFPs) for speaking at events. I want to share how I find so many of these so that more people can find them by themselves.

I find speaking opportunities via multiple sources:

  • Aggregated newsletters
  • Follow specific conferences
  • Communities, meetups, and user groups
  • Speaking invitations

Aggregated newsletters

The main way I get to learn about conferences with open CFPs is through aggregated newsletters. I am subscribed to newsletters that are about public speaking or at least have sections about speaking opportunities.

The main sources of speaking opportunities I follow are:

Follow specific conferences

I follow some conferences’ Twitter accounts and also their newsletters. In this way, I get notified when these conferences announce their ongoing CFP.

Some of the conferences I am subscribed to are:

Communities, Meetups, and User groups

I am part of some meetup groups where they’re usually very welcoming to having people from the community share knowledge through talks. These are great opportunities to get into public speaking.

So if you think of meetups you are already a part of, they might have opportunities for your to speak. The first public talk I have done was at a meetup — Google Developer Group Lisboa, where the organizers encouraged me constantly to share my knowledge. When I had something to talk about I reached out to them and they set up a meetup for me to speak about Open Source.

Here are some communities I know that are usually open to having community members present and sharing their knowledge:

I usually love sharing knowledge in these environments, as I can have a closer relationship with the audience via these communities’ communication channels. But most importantly, I love how I can learn so much from these types of communities, through their events that community organizers work hard to prepare, and from people, I get to connect with through them. So I really enjoy giving back by sharing my knowledge there.

Also, in these groups, members sometimes also share speaking opportunities that I get to know of.

Speaking invitations

Some of the talks I do come from speaking invitations, whether it's conferences or meetups.

I think I get these invitations because I am visible on talking about Open Source and people have seen me presenting at meetups/conferences. Sometimes people who reach out to me, mention they saw me talking at an event and think I would be a good speaker for their event.

On my website, I have a specific page to showcase my talks, so that whoever visits them can see what kind of talks I’ve done before. It’s a way for me to make the talks accessible to everyone, but also a way to promote my speaking capabilities. I may even link this page when writing a CFP process, to show what previous speaking experience I have.

Also, very recently I got a speaking opportunity because I applied to a conference where I got rejected, but the organizers thought that the talk I proposed would be more suited to another event with a similar theme. So they eventually connected me with the other event’s organizers.

Hope this helps you find opportunities to speak!

I would love to see the public speaking ecosystem getting more people to talk and share their knowledge with the community and especially more diverse perspectives coming into the game!

You can find me on Twitter, LinkedIn, GitHub and my personal website.

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Isabel Costa

Isabel Costa

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Software Engineer from Portugal working in the UK • GitHub Star • Open Source advocate • https://isabelcosta.github.io