Public Speaking Information

Getting on the Speakers List

How do you get your name on a speakers list?

Speaking experience is usually required before you will be placed on the speakers list. Groups often want to know where you have spoken and will want to have a referral from a couple of the groups you already spoke to. If you are just starting out, you will not have a list, but you must start somewhere. You can explain to the group that you have not given any talks to their organization but you have trained others in your expertise. You may get a chance to fill a spot that is empty when they have no other experienced person to fill in. Your topic, however, must fit their values; if it does not, you will not likely get on the list.

I have found that the list is somewhat sacred, and breaking into it is more difficult than it should be. A good way to circumvent this issue is to put on a couple of seminars with a small audience at your own expense. This will give you the practice required and also give you an audience that can provide you with some referrals for additional speeches in the community. You can be creative in how you gain your experience, but the important thing to remember is that the letter of reference is what will make an impression and give you the chance to speak and be placed on the list. You should not give up if you are not accepted at first. Make plans to fulfill the criteria and try again.

Even if you belong to an organization, you may not readily get on the speakers list. I have run into this problem many times but managed to get the experience they required and then went to other clubs within my organization to get on their list.

Bette Daoust, Ph.D. has been networking with others since leaving high school years ago. Realizing that no one really cared about what she did in life unless she had someone to tell and excite. She decided to find the best ways to get people's attention, be creative in how she presented herself and products, getting people to know who she was, and being visible all the time. Her friends and colleagues have often dubbed her the "Networking Queen". Blueprint for Networking Success: 150 ways to promote yourself is the first in this series. Blueprint for Branding Yourself: Another 150 ways to promote yourself is planned for release in 2005. For more information visit


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