How to get speaking engagements using 4Networking

Stefan Thomas Speaking at the Business Show

I get to speak at a load of places now. I’ve got three major gigs for me over three weeks – The Welsh Business Show last week, West Sussex Business Expo next Thursday and The Business Show at ExCeL the week after that. I also get some corporate stuff.

People often ask me in 121s how to use 4Networking to get speaking gigs, like I did. So I thought I’d write it down here, bit of a long post for me but hope it’s helpful.

  1. 4Sight. You need to be out there 4Sighting a lot. When I say a lot I mean make sure you have at least one a week.
  2. Take your 4Sight on the road. Dont expect people to come to you. If you want to get a name out there then be prepared to get up at 4.30 and drive, or stay in cheap Travelodges overnight. In 2010, as a member and at my own expense I did 4Sights all over the place. As far away as Edinburgh, Cardiff, London and literally all over the network. It is simple, yet requires a load of effort.
  3. Use 4Networking to refine your material. See what works and what doesn’t. Notice when people are taking notes. Allow people to give you feedback as to which bits of your material really landed with them and build on that.
  4. Get to the shows where they have speakers. We have loads of partners at 4N who have business shows all over the place – The Business Show in London, The Welsh Business Show, Expo Scotland, New Start Scotland, Business Growth Show, Business Scene, Memo Events and many more. Get stuck into the 4N stand or exhibit yourself and get to know the organisers (I couldn’t afford to exhibit, which is why I helped out on the 4N stand so often at loads of events). The organisers are busy, don’t expect them to come to you, get onto their turf at their shows.
  5. Use social media and engage with the people who come to your 4Sights, also engage with show organisers. Some of the people at your 4Sights will prefer Twitter, some Facebook, some LinkedIn, some Google+. You need to be on all of them (plus Pinterest, Instagram and anywhere else your crowd is likely to be). Move onto their turf again and engage where they want to be, once again, don’t expect people to come to you.
  6. Put on seminars after 4N events. And do it for free. Give people massive value, that will get them talking about you. Talk to the venue hosts, you might have to pay for tea and coffee, you might even have to pay for the room, but it will get your name out there.
  7. Some of this will be easier to achieve if you have a team role, but not impossible for any member at all.

Keep doing the above. Keep engaging with show organisers who use speakers. I can trace my speaking recently at Expo Scotland directly to the organiser seeing me 4Sight at 4N Newcastle Airport. I can trace my speaking at The Welsh Business Show every year for five years directly to going and passporting in 4N Wales early on in my 4N career (made my first trip to 4N Bridgend in Feb 2008, three months after I joined).

I speak at the Business Show in London directly as a result of helping on the 4N stand every year since I joined and getting to know the organisers. I can trace my recent gig at Google HQ directly to speaking at The Business Show in London and being spotted by 123-Reg who were looking for speakers, plus already having a relationship with them on Twitter.

Think about this. If you want to organise a mini speaking tour as a 4N member you simply call the Area Leader for the town or city you want to 4Sight in and they will be thrilled to have you. We even put their contact details on the relevent group page for you. Imagine trying to get speaking slots at networking events all over the UK if the 4N network wasn’t there.

You know the great thing? Most people won’t bother to do this so the opportunity is huge for the few who do. It is really hard work to get noticed but it ain’t difficult. Just takes effort and legwork. That’s why people were talking about me in 2010. That’s why I’m still getting paid speaking gigs as a result now.


I run The Networking Retreat in Oxfordshire – if you want to know how to really use networking to build every part of your business, quickly, you need to book on – http://thenetworkingretreat.co.uk/

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