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Six Straightforward Tips for Finding Places to Speak

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We provide business speakers to companies, non-profits, professional societies and other organizations, here in Central Indiana and beyond. How do we find places to speak? And if you want to do more speaking, where should you go?

The answer to this question is a little bit like what bank robber Willie Sutton is famously misquoted as saying:

“Why did I rob banks? Well, that’s where the money is.”

So where should you go to find places to speak? Where the audiences are.

Speakers Need to Find Audiences

© Flickr user garrettc

So while you shouldn’t think about the process of public speaking in your local community as akin to stealing money, it is valuable to consider where people gather as likely candidates for possible venues. Here are six straightforward tips for finding these places.

Go Where People Plan to Volunteer: Service Clubs

Your community is filled with civic-minded individuals who donate their time to worthy causes. They are called volunteers. While many people do so through a religious institution, millions of people are involved in service clubs.

The largest of these groups you have heard of before: Kiwanis, Rotary, Lions and Exchange. Chances are you’ve seen signs for theses clubs in your own community.

But there are countless more, including the Optimist Club, Altrusa International, Zonta, and Soroptimist. Visit your favorite search engine to learn more.

Go Where Business Begins: Chambers of Commerce

Your local Chamber of Commerce is an institution where business leaders meet to discuss ideas and forge new partnerships. It’s also an old tradition (dating back to the 18th century) and one you should leverage for speaking opportunities.

Most chambers organize recurring events for their members, such as monthly luncheons, quarterly breakfasts, or other networking programs. They are always looking for engaging speakers with distinct messages. And best of all, you’ll be in front of the local business community—which is almost certainly the people you want to meet.

Go Where the Pros Gather: Professional Societies

Every profession is vying for relevance and opportunity in today’s economy. That includes attorneys, accountants, dentists, fundraisers, therapists and even chimney sweeps. If it’s a profession, there is a professional society for it. Funeral directors have the National Funeral Directors Association. Independent insurance adjusters can become members of the National Association of Independent Insurance Adjusters. Every profession has a society.

That also means there are local affiliates of these groups, such as the Indianapolis chapter of the National Contract Management Association. And all of these groups have meetings, and therefore need speakers.

Speakers and Audiences

© Flickr user mdgovpics

Go Where People Eat: Lunch and Learns

If you work for a company you probably take a break from your workday to enjoy a meal. Many organizations have begun to host regular “lunch and learn” programs. Sometimes the company will bring in a catered meal or suggest a pot-luck. Other times, people are encouraged to pack a “brown bag” with food from home. Everyone gathers in a common space to hear a speaker share on a new topic.

A great way to find lunch and learn opportunities is to ask friends who work at local employers for connections. You can make them look good by suggesting it to their boss, and get on the radar with a company where you might want to do more work in the future.

Go Where People Network: Networking Groups

Business professionals sometimes get together for the purpose of getting together. They want to mingle, socialize, and see what opportunities are out there. Even in this age of modern technology, among the best ways to do this is to attend a networking event in person.

While we do have a list of Indianapolis networking groups, the best place to find them may be with a quick Google search or a scan of your own inbox. Chances are you’re being invited to them all the time. Check them out!

Go to The Archives: Ask People Who They’ve Heard

There’s one final tip for finding places to speak: follow in the footsteps of other speakers. Ask people you know who they’ve recently heard stand up in front of an audience. When they answer, you get two potential referrals. One is the organization where they spoke, and the other is that speaker—who may have some ideas for you!

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Robby Slaughter
Robby Slaughter is a workflow and productivity expert. He is a nationally known speaker on topics related to personal productivity, corporate efficiency and employee engagement. Robby is the founder of AccelaWork, a company which provides speakers and consultants to a wide variety of organizations, including Fortune 500 companies, regional non-profits, small businesses and individual entrepreneurs. Robby has written numerous articles for national magazines and has over one hundred published pieces. He is also the author of several books, including Failure: The Secret to Success. He has also been interviewed by international news outlets including the Wall Street Journal. Robby’s newest book is The Battle For Your Email Inbox.
Robby Slaughter


Troublemaker and productivity/workflow expert. Slightly more complex than 140 characters will permit.
What would happen if instead of repeating the claim, we all took 30s to search the web and get more context or even see if it’s true? - 6 hours ago
Robby Slaughter
Robby Slaughter

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