10 Questions to Ask Before Booking Your Next Speaking Gig

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photo courtesy Neil Godding, Unsplash

If you are new to public speaking, or trying to ramp up the number of speaking engagements you book, it can be tempting to say “Yes!” to every opportunity.

There are thousands of speaking opportunities from conferences to corporate training to podcasts and livestreams. These events provide a platform for you to speak to a new audience, share your message and build your visibility.

Once you have a few talks under your belt, and you’ve establish your expertise on a topic or in an industry, you will no longer have to seek out speaking engagements. The invitations will come to you!

Invitations to be a guest on a podcast, speak to a networking group or association, or to present at a large scale conference.

When an invitation comes your way, how do you know if it’s an opportunity you want to go after?

There are a few things you should consider before confirming your next speaking event. Gathering details about the event, audience and presentation can help you decide which opportunities to accept and which to decline.


First and foremost, find out who will be in the audience. Learn as much as you can about the participants: Are they senior level executives or newbies? Are they from small businesses or Fortune 1000 brands? What is their knowledge level of the topic? Finally, how many attendees are expected?

Goal of the program

What is the mission the event organizers are trying to achieve? What are the attendees hoping to learn and how will the content meet those expectations?

Event history and program

If it is an annual program, learning more about the content and audience from previous events will provide insight into the upcoming event. If it is a new program you may want to review a draft of the agenda and find out which speakers have signed on at that point.

Speaker budget

Is this a paid speaking opportunity? Determine what type of fee or stipend will be provided and if that fee includes travel expenses.

Theme of presentation

Understand what topic the event organizers want you to discuss, and more importantly if there is a specific angle or example they would like you to share.

Format of the presentation

It’s important to understand how much time you will have to present, but also find out if you’ll be presenting alone or as part of a panel? If it is a large-scale event, ask if you will be speaking to the entire audience or to a smaller group in a break-out session.


Will the media be in attendance, and if so, which outlets will be represented? This is important for corporate executives as you may need to get permission from your organization to participate.

Will the program be recorded?

Having a copy of your talk can be a great resource to add to your website and speaker kit. If you work for a corporation you may need to get clearance to have your session filmed.

Networking opportunities

Large conferences and trade shows often include welcome receptions, speaker dinners and other networking events. Find out when they will be held and whether they are mandatory for speakers. This is important to consider as it may impact your travel schedule.

Vendor opportunities

If you are an author, there may be an opportunity to have a table or booth to sell your book during the program. Better yet, try to negotiate with the event organizers to buy copies of your book for all of the attendees.

Need support with booking your next gig? Begin by scheduling your complimentary session.