Hack: How to Find High-Profile Speaking Opportunities in 2022

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So you want to deliver a big stage presentation in 2022. The question is, where do you go to find one?

In the first couple of articles of this series, I've given you a lot of food for thought around creating the right public speaking strategy for you and how to come up with a talk concept that is suitable for a big stage presentation. So this week, rather than give you something to think about, I'm going to give you something to do.

If you don't have PR, finding high profile events that are actively looking for speakers can be a real time sapper. The good news is that it doesn't have to be. I was doing some work for a PR agency specialising in thought leadership a few years back. They were charging thought leaders obscene amounts of money to build their profile (speaking engagements were just one part of the package). There I learned a simple hack that can bring the speaking engagements to you... Google Alerts.

If you aren't using Google Alerts to help you find public speaking opportunities, you're missing out on an effortless quick win. For those that don't know, Google Alerts is a free service that will notify you when it finds new web pages, newspaper articles or blogs that match the user's search term.

Many high profile conferences use two avenues to fill their speaking rosters. They have an outbound strategy where members of the curation team actively approach people who they believe would be a perfect fit for their stage. Full disclosure, this is how most of the speaking slots will be filled. But they also have an inbound strategy where anyone can apply to speak by filling out a form on their website.

This means that setting up Google Alerts with the most common terms that conferences use to create inbound speaking applications will ensure you get notified when they launch their application process.

Here's how...

Step 1: Go to https://www.google.co.uk/alerts

Step 2: List the following search terms (n.b. include the quotation marks)

Alex Merry, public speaking coach, presentation skills, thought leadership, communication training, leadership development, TED talks, keynote speech

Step 3: Choose the frequency of alerts by clicking the cog, if you don't they will get a little annoying. I choose to receive these alerts in a weekly digest.


"Recommend a speaker" could bring up a blog on whether you should choose Apple or SONOS speakers as the perfect gift, but 10 seconds filtering through and you'll quickly see whether something is relevant or not.

The other thing to note here is that you will only be notified of new results rather than the speaking opportunities that are already live. If you want to see these results, just google the search terms above!

Finally, there are thousands of conferences across the world, so adjusting the settings of each search term to ensure that you're only getting results from webpages rather than blogs, from a particular region rather than globally etc. will help you to ensure the results you get are as filtered as possible. You could also add the names of specific conferences you'd like to speak at to your alert terms to stay up to date.

This isn't a perfect science, but it is a way of finding out about public speaking opportunities that you wouldn't have previously.

Then of course, you've got to nail your speaker application. There is a real art to this - you've got to do it in a way that positions you as a thought leader and makes your talk concept stand out amongst all the other applications. It's something that takes a bit of time to get this right too, to the extent where we spend a fortnight on this in my Thought Leadership Accelerator. The good news though is that every speaker application form asks very similar questions. Craft the perfect answers once (and a 2 minute video in some cases) and then it's about playing the numbers game.

Subscribe to my coaching email:
3 Public speaking tips a month to help you become a better leader