Startup traction channel: Speaking engagements

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This blog article is based on the 3 Things This Week’s edition dated 31st May 2018. The theme of this edition is “speaking engagements”, one of the easy traction channels for startups!

It’s relatively easy to get started in this channel – simply start by giving free talks to small groups of potential customers or partners. Speaking at small events can improve your speaking ability, give you some early traction, and spread your story or message. It’s also good for personal growth if you’ve never done it before.

Premier events are well regarded and attended national or international shows. Often, there will only be a few of these per year in an industry. These events will require much longer lead times to submit a proposal, often six to twelve months. Regional events bring together industry players within a day’s drive. Depending on the event, expect to land a speaking engagement roughly two to four months before the show. Local events draw city residents around a particular topic. Like regional shows, lead times can vary but are usually one to three months before the show.

There are several ways to leverage your talks. If you can record your best speech ever, you can post clips, thereby exposing your story to thousands of people who would never have seen it otherwise. You can use the opportunity to build relationships at speaker’s dinner or other occasions.

When it comes to the talk content, most successful talks tell a story on stage. Tell a story that tells what your startup is doing, why you’re doing it, and specifically how you got to where you are.


Here are the three things this week about tradeshows:

Thing #1:   17 Ways to Find Speaking Engagements to Further Your Brand

It’s not always the biggest events where you’ll find the right audience for you. Think of which events your target audience is most likely to be found in, and pitch those events for speaking opportunities. You may find that it will be a lot easier for you to get a speaking engagement at those events, and it will also be more productive for your purposes.  Read this article to know 17 ways of finding speaking opportunities relevant to you.


Defining the business value isn’t just good practice, it’s critical to evaluating opportunities and deciding where and how to place your thought leaders. The good news is that there are lots of opportunities to apply good research and evaluation practices before, during, and after a speaking opportunity. Typically the goal for going for a speaking opportunity is either: A sales opportunity to get in front of potential customers or business partners, or A chance for your CEO or another senior executive to showcase industry expertise and leadership, comment on industry issues, and drive corporate reputation. Read this article to get a feel of how you can go about evaluating how far the opportunity meets the goal, how to get the best out of an opportunity and how to measure the performance, post event.

Thing # 3:  Public Speaking: The Art of Selling Without Selling

Public speaking is an incredibly valuable sales tool. However, the main goals of public speaking are to: Enlighten and engage an audience, make your audience think, establish interest and credibility in your brand and build and nurture relationships that can later turn into sales. It may sound counterintuitive, but public speakers should avoid directly selling or pitching any product or service during their speaking sessions. The sales generated from public speaking engagements are more indirect. They are the result of heightened brand awareness and increased brand following. But you will only see a lift for your brand if you are giving your audience something that makes them trust you and want to learn more about you and your product. You should think of your speaking sessions as a way to initiate a new relationship.  Read this article to perfect your art of public speaking.

Are you using public speaking to sell a product or service? Is it working for you? Why or why not? Let us know more about it.