How to Secure Speaking Engagements as a Small Business Owner: A Step-by-Step Guide

3d cartoon speaker of woman


As a small business owner, securing speaking engagements can significantly elevate your brand, expand your network, and position you as an expert in your field. While the process might seem daunting at first, with a structured approach and persistence, you can find and land valuable speaking opportunities. This comprehensive guide will walk you through the steps to successfully identify, pitch, and secure speaking engagements.

1. Define Your Expertise and Audience

Identify Your Niche

The first step in finding speaking engagements is to clearly define your area of expertise. What unique knowledge or skills do you possess that others can benefit from? This could range from industry-specific insights to broader topics like leadership, innovation, or entrepreneurship. Being specific about your niche helps you stand out and makes it easier for event organizers to see the value you bring.

Know Your Audience

Equally important is understanding who your target audience is. Are you looking to speak to potential clients, industry peers, or local business owners? Defining your audience will guide your search for relevant speaking opportunities and help tailor your content to meet their needs.

2. Create a Speaker Profile

Craft Your Bio

A compelling speaker bio is essential. Your bio should highlight your expertise, experience, and what makes you a credible and engaging speaker. Focus on your achievements, relevant background, and any unique perspectives you bring to your topic.

Prepare a Speaker One-Sheet

A speaker one-sheet is a one-page document that provides event organizers with all the essential information about you. It should include:

  • Your professional bio
  • A high-quality photo
  • A list of topics you speak on
  • Testimonials from past speaking engagements, if available
  • Contact information

Develop a Website or Page

Having a dedicated section on your business website for your speaking services can significantly boost your credibility. Include your bio, topics, testimonials, and videos of past talks if you have them. This serves as a central hub for organizers to learn more about you and your speaking capabilities.

3. Start Local

Local Chambers of Commerce

Your local chamber of commerce is a great starting point for finding speaking opportunities. Chambers often host events for business owners and professionals and are always looking for knowledgeable speakers. Reach out and offer your expertise for their upcoming events.

Networking Groups

Join local business networking groups such as BNI (Business Network International) or Rotary Club. These groups provide a platform to connect with other business owners, share your knowledge, and offer your services as a speaker.

Community Organizations

Look into local community organizations like libraries, community centers, or local clubs that align with your industry. Offering to speak at these venues can help you build a local presence and gain speaking experience.

4. Leverage Social Media and Online Platforms


LinkedIn is a powerful tool for finding speaking engagements. Use it to connect with event organizers, join industry-specific groups, and share content that showcases your expertise. Regularly posting insightful articles or updates can catch the attention of those looking for speakers.

Speaker Bureaus and Platforms

Registering with online speaker bureaus and platforms such as SpeakerHub, GigSalad, or eSpeakers can increase your visibility. These platforms connect speakers with event organizers looking for specific expertise. Ensure your profile is complete and showcases your best qualities.

5. Reach Out Directly to Event Organizers

Identify Relevant Events

Research conferences, trade shows, and industry events that align with your expertise. Make a list of events where your knowledge would be valuable to the audience.

Craft a Pitch

Once you’ve identified potential events, create a personalized pitch email. Highlight why you’re a good fit for their event, what you can offer, and how it will benefit their audience. Be concise, professional, and enthusiastic in your approach.

Follow Up

If you don’t hear back from organizers, don’t be discouraged. Follow up politely after a week or two. Persistence shows your genuine interest and commitment.

6. Network with Other Speakers

Attend Events

Attending events where you’d like to speak can be an excellent networking opportunity. Engage with other speakers and attendees, and express your interest in speaking at future events. Often, other speakers can provide introductions to event organizers or recommend you.

Join Professional Associations

Become a member of professional associations related to your industry. These associations frequently host events and conferences and often look for speakers from within their membership. Being an active member can open up numerous speaking opportunities.

7. Create Your Own Opportunities

Host Webinars and Workshops

If you’re finding it challenging to secure speaking engagements, start by hosting your own webinars or workshops. This not only builds your speaking experience but also provides content that you can showcase to potential event organizers. Promote these events through your network and social media channels to build an audience.

Collaborate with Other Businesses

Partner with other small businesses to co-host events. This can help you reach a broader audience and share the workload of organizing an event. Look for businesses that complement your own and have a similar target audience.

8. Utilize Testimonials and Referrals

Collect Feedback

After each speaking engagement, ask for feedback from the organizers and attendees. Positive testimonials can significantly enhance your credibility and make it easier to secure future engagements. Constructive feedback can help you improve and refine your presentation skills.

Ask for Referrals

Don’t hesitate to ask satisfied organizers for referrals. If they were happy with your performance, they might be willing to introduce you to other event planners or recommend you for future events. Referrals can be a powerful way to build your speaking portfolio.

9. Stay Updated and Adaptable

Keep Learning

The world of speaking engagements is dynamic, and staying informed about industry trends and best practices is crucial. Regularly update your knowledge and skills through reading, attending workshops, and learning from other experienced speakers.

Be Adaptable

Be open to various types of speaking engagements. While keynote speeches are highly coveted, panel discussions, workshops, and breakout sessions can also offer valuable opportunities to share your expertise and build your reputation. Being flexible and adaptable increases your chances of finding speaking engagements.


Securing speaking engagements as a small business owner requires a combination of strategy, persistence, and networking. By defining your expertise, creating a compelling speaker profile, leveraging local opportunities, and utilizing online platforms, you can effectively find and land speaking engagements. Remember to continually build your network, gather testimonials, and stay adaptable to maximize your success.

By following these steps, you can position yourself as an expert in your field, expand your business reach, and create meaningful connections through speaking engagements. Keep refining your approach, and over time, you’ll see the benefits of sharing your knowledge and passion with a broader audience.

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