5 Public Speaking Venues You Can Schedule Today

B efore we get to the article on speaking venues, I have a couple of quick announcements.

1. Chapter 2 of the serial release of The Samson Effect is out today. If you have not read Chapter 1 yet, you can click on the TOC link at the top of the serial release link and start from the beginning. The Samson Effect is soon to be a major motion picture and NY Times best selling author Clive Cussler called it a “first rate thriller brimming with intrigue and adventure.”

2. The new video tip for my newsletter subscribers is out today. In it, I show subscribers how I added the Twitter counter and Retweet button to my Blogger blog. If you are not a subscriber of my video tips newsletter yet, you can join for free to watch this tip in just minutes from now. In fact, I will give you instant access to over 45 minutes of free video tips just for joining this free newsletter.

Now, on to today’s tip on finding public speaking venues you can schedule today:

One of the best ways to market your book is to get out and press the flesh via a public speaking event. To many authors-and many other people for that fact-public speaking is a terrifying prospect. However, by taking advantage of opportunities to speak, the prospect will become less and less terrifying and more and more enjoyable. But more importantly, it will help you sell many books over time.

One group I would encourage you to consider joining if you have apprehensions about public speaking is ToastMasters. I belonged to a few ToastMasters groups in my life, serving as a president in one of them. Through that group, I also had the opportunity to serve as a Master of Ceremonies of a prestigious civic event in Mobile, AL. My point in saying this is that once you set your sites on speaking, you’ll find opportunities you never knew existed.

Consider these side effects of public speaking opportunities:

  • The audience is usually genuinely interested in what you have to say. The group you are speaking to probably works hard to find quality speakers.
  • An author is often seen as a celebrity of sorts, even if members in the audience have not heard of you or your book.
  • The more you speak, the better you will become. Honest! And more than likely, it will become more enjoyable.
  • The more memorable you make your speech, the more people will talk about you and your book.
  • The more you can teach your audience through your speech, the more you will be remembered, and maybe even asked back as a return speaker.
  • The more experience you get as a speaker, the less you have to find venues and the more you will be approached to be a guest speaker.
  • Many times, the organization you are speaking to will publicize your engagement in the local media or to their own membership.

At first, you may not make much money speaking to groups, but after cutting your teeth, polishing your delivery, and gaining a reputation as a first rate speaker, you may see the paid engagements start popping up more and more. Until then, here are some ideas on what groups you can contact today about setting up speaking opportunities.

  1. Lion’s Club- Civic organizations like the Lion’s Club are great places to gain speaking experience. They usually schedule speakers in advance and are always on the look out for interesting speakers, especially ones in their own community. As with most of the groups on this list, I would strongly encourage you not to deliver a commercial for your book as your speech; rather deliver something of value that they can take away and use, as a group or individually. If you do that well, you will actually be delivering the best commercial for your book because you will be memorable, and people want to read a memorable author.
  2. Kiwanis- As with the Lion’s Club, Kiwanis is a deeply active and committed community organization. One of the likely benefits of speaking to groups like this is that they are often made up of community and business leaders which can have a domino effect for more lucrative speaking opportunities.
  3. Libraries/Friends of Libraries- Depending on your local area, your libraries may have educational programs or programs on the Arts that they arrange for their patrons. A few calls may lead to you, as a local author and celebrity, securing a speaking opportunity.
  4. High Schools- One of my favorite speaking engagements was to the creative writing club of the high school I graduated from. These kids were more engaged than just about any other group I spoke to. While I am here, I will also mention that you shouldn’t limit yourself to high school students. My sixth grade nephew arranged for me to speak to his social science class. Not only did he become the “big man on campus” because his uncle was an author, but I was pleasantly surprised to see other teachers, staff, and even the principal make their way to the room to hear me address the kids and answer their questions. I made sure to bring plenty of bookmarks to pass out which led to quite a few sales coming from that middle school.
  5. Chamber of Commerce- You may have to join yourself to a chamber in order to speak here, but if you join an active chamber, the exposure can be well worth the membership. And often, an individual membership is availabilities at a considerable discount of the business membership. That said, check with your area chambers. I have been the guest speaker at many chambers that I was not a member of, so it’s definitely worth checking out.

I hope this list at least gets you thinking about possible speaking venues. Remember, the more experience you get, the more opportunities you will find. But the biggest benefit for you is the viral exposure you and your book are getting. Oh, and you will probably be treated to a lot of free lunches as well!

 ——– Tony Eldridge is the author of The Samson Effect, an action/adventure novel that Clive Cussler calls a “first rate thriller brimming with intrigue and adventure.” He is also the author of the Twitter marketing book, Conducting Effective Twitter Contests.

16 Responses to “5 Public Speaking Venues You Can Schedule Today” Subscribe

  1. ShaneW May 25, 2009 at 11:07 am #

    Being aware of the grammar we use is important. Since there is a different layoff due to recession. Job loses is a primary problem where every country is facing. You ever thought about a career doing public speaking? Public speaking is a big industry, and some speakers make quite a living going around and delivering their message to groups like high school students, corporate events, and so on. Granted, some people would also give installment loans to never hear another word about personal bubbles, sensitivity, and one more pretentious and inane corporate culture seminar might incite them to riot. It isn’t easy to break into, so you’ll have to network, even with no fax machine, and you’ll have to have to start public speaking to practice, and have a hook. If you’re boring, you’ll need debt consolidation from being fired from public speaking.

  2. I agree a career in public speaking is massive business.

    The problem however is how do we overcome the fears that are are so prevalent when giving a public speech. How do we eliminate the anxiety that comes that so many speakers face. And are why we so anxious in the first place.

    The number 1 fear held by people is the fear of public speaking. It is actually quite incredible to think that public speaking is more feared than by death itself.

    Overcoming public speaking is easier than alot of people think. Alot of it can boil down to practice and experience. Being persistant and determined will no doubt help however I think it also has something to do with out belief system and what we think people think of us as we give the speech.

  3. I agree a career in public speaking is massive business.

    The problem however is how do we overcome the fears that are are so prevalent when giving a public speech. How do we eliminate the anxiety that comes that so many speakers face. And are why we so anxious in the first place.

    The number 1 fear held by people is the fear of public speaking. It is actually quite incredible to think that public speaking is more feared than by death itself.

    Overcoming public speaking is easier than alot of people think. Alot of it can boil down to practice and experience. Being persistant and determined will no doubt help however I think it also has something to do with out belief system and what we think people think of us as we give the speech.

  4. Tony Eldridge July 28, 2010 at 4:14 pm #

    Great comment. Practice can cure most public speaking fears. It’s comforting going into a speech knowing that you know your speech forward and back. I actually have a post called 10 Tips For Overcoming Stage Fright

    Thanks for your comment.

  5. Sheryl Roush, Motivational Speaker November 5, 2010 at 1:18 am #

    Thanks for the great post with some really useful suggestions. As a professional public speaker I completely agree with you on the value of joining Toastmasters, and I highly recommend it to anyone at any stage of their speaking career.

  6. Natalie Loopbaanadvies November 23, 2010 at 6:32 pm #

    I use to have a fear of speaking in public. I am afraid I might be able to enunciate my words clearly or have the correct grammar. I have been consistently reading books and articles about public speaking for the past two years. I also joined events where I was part of the audience. These helped me in my career now. I gained self confidence and learned the tricks in this speaking career. One thing I can advice though, we have to be comfortable with our piece so we’d be able to deliver them confidently and catch audience interest.

    Just want to share,
    Natalie Loopbaanadvies

  7. wizardofwords January 19, 2011 at 1:18 pm #

    Great tips, Tony, and I love Toastmasters, too! You can never get too good at public speaking and it is a skill every author should have. (I’ve been a member for 10 years now and have no intention of quitting!)

    You can also add the Rotary Clubs to your list of places to speak. I’m speaking to the Rotarians in my area next month and they are part of a global network.

  8. Tony Eldridge January 19, 2011 at 4:38 pm #

    The Rotary Clubs are great places to speak. I’m not sure why that was left off the list; it wasn’t because they are a top-notch venue. Thanks for sharing!

  9. Tony Eldridge January 19, 2011 at 4:41 pm #

    Sheryl- TM has been great for me. Doing can help you overcome stage fright much more than reading. Toastmasters is a safe environment to actually speak in.

  10. Tony Eldridge January 19, 2011 at 4:42 pm #

    Natalie, thanks for sharing your experiences. You are in great company. Almost everyone has the kind of fear you described to one degree or another. You give some great insights. Thanks for sharing.

  11. John Beede - Motivational Speaker February 3, 2011 at 5:09 pm #

    These are definitely the best ways to get started as a motivational speaker. So many people want to get started by speaking to major audiences… this is the equivalent of going straight onto Oprah before your local TV station.

    Starting with these groups and refining your style and message is a wonderful way to get started.

    That, and if you can handle 6 sessions of high school students with ANY subject, you’re ready for any other audience!!

  12. Zane Carmichael April 4, 2011 at 3:11 am #

    Nice post, I recommend Joining Toastmasters too.
    I however; rank public speaking on how “Impromptu” it seems, for instance, an Impromptu Public Speech is automatically highly regarded, because of it seeming like the person didn’t need a script or what not. But truly, when preparing for a speech, you can write a script and still make it seem impromptu. That’s where when we hear “Good” Speeches.
    Anyhow, just my opinion.

    Thanks for sharing. :)

  13. Tony Eldridge April 4, 2011 at 3:39 pm #

    Thanks Zane- I agree, if you can deliver a prepared speech and make it conversational, like a well-delivered impromptu speech, you have a rare talent! Great comment.

    John, you are so right. Putting in the time to get experience before smaller crowds will pay dividends when it’s time for you to have a prime-time speaking engagement.

  14. Public Speaking Pub May 26, 2011 at 6:39 am #

    Toastmasters is definitely a great place for speaking. It’s safe, and the environment is friendly, as people are there to learn public speaking with you. Thanks for sharing the other avenues too!

  15. Tony Eldridge May 26, 2011 at 2:16 pm #

    Thanks for your comment. I am a huge fan of Toast Masters.

  16. Larry January 3, 2012 at 3:24 pm #

    May I suggest that you add Rotary Clubs to your list? Rotarians are the driving force for the eradication of polio. In many communities, the clubs are made up of civic-minded, concerned leaders.

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