How Do I Book Paid Speaking Opportunities?

The key to getting paid as a speaker is to get visibility in front of people who book speakers for companies, conferences, and associations and build mutually beneficial relationships with them.
Discover how to book paid speaking opportunities in companies, at conferences, and for professional associations

Where can I find paid speaking opportunities?

Most people find speaking opportunities through a combination of online and face-to-face activities. Here are popular ways to search online.

Search Engines

Utilize search engines and search for terms like “call for speakers,” “speaking opportunities,” “speaking engagements,” or “submit a speaker proposal” along with the current or next year, and any area of specialization you are looking for.

Event Platforms

Start by identifying platforms that host or list speaking opportunities. These can include event websites, conferences, webinars, professional networks, and industry-specific forums.

Subscribe to Newsletters

Subscribe to newsletters of event organizers, industry associations, and networking groups. They often send out announcements about upcoming events and calls for speakers.

Utilize Social Media

Follow relevant hashtags and accounts on social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and X. Many organizers and speakers share speaking opportunities and event announcements on these platforms.

While few paid speaking opportunities are listed online, you can look for opportunities that are free, where decision-makers are likely to be in the audience. Then, if selected, it’s important to make a pitch or create an opt-in resource so people in your audience can connect with you further and you have a way to follow up with them.

Also, consider opportunities that allow for face-to-face relationship building.

Professional Networks

Join professional networks and communities such as LinkedIn, Eventbrite, Meetup, or industry-specific forums. These platforms often announce speaking opportunities, and you can also network there with event organizers and fellow speakers.

Mentorship Programs

Mentorship programs are often sponsored by professional associations and large companies that have conferences and events. Be sure to connect not only with your mentor but with other mentors at mentor-mentee events and with the leaders of the mentorship program who may select speakers for other opportunities.

Pitch Yourself Via Email, LinkedIn, or Face-to-Face

Once you find a speaking opportunity that interests you, craft a compelling pitch or proposal showcasing why you’re a suitable speaker for that event. Tailor your pitch to align with the event’s theme, audience, and goals, and be clear on the specific takeaways your audience members can expect.

After submitting a proposal or expressing interest in a speaking opportunity, follow up if you don’t hear back within a reasonable time frame. It’s not unusual to send half a dozen persuasive emails or LinkedIn messages to event organizers or organizational leaders. Persistence and professionalism can increase your chances of securing speaking engagements.

What experience do I need to go after paid speaking opportunities?

To pursue paid speaking opportunities successfully, it’s essential to have a combination of expertise, experience, and skills that demonstrate your value as a speaker.

Subject Matter Expertise

Deep knowledge in your field or area of specialization is a fundamental prerequisite for securing paid speaking opportunities. Your expertise should be relevant, current, and valuable to your target audience.

Unique Perspective or Approach

Offering a unique angle on your topic can differentiate you from other speakers and attract the interest of event organizers and audiences. If you have published articles, books, blog posts, or other thought leadership content related to your topic or angle, this can establish you as an authority and increase your visibility as a speaker.

Proven Track Record

Having a portfolio of past speaking engagements—including workshops, seminars, or corporate events—demonstrates your experience and ability to engage and deliver value to audiences. Even if you are just getting started, it’s helpful to showcase your experience presenting to a live audience so you demonstrate that you have skills such as clear communication, storytelling, and audience engagement that are essential for ongoing public speaking success.

What speaking topics are popular with companies?

While the scope of speaking subject matter is vast, there are certain timely, in-demand topics that companies need coaches, consultants, and trainers to lead.

With each of these timely sample topics for paid speaking opportunities, you have a pathway for not only providing tremendous value and adding meaningful revenue to your business. You also have a way to increase the impact of your work, amplify your visibility as a thought leader, and live into the fullest expression of the legacy you were born to create.

1. Daring Conversations

For most of us, finding and using our voice to have a daring conversation feels wildly uncomfortable. However, possessing the mindset and skills to advocate for one’s self and ideas, especially during potentially uncomfortable situations, is critical to long-term professional success. Employees who routinely have daring conversations enjoy better relationships, create more trust, and position themselves for career advancement. For engaging in daring conversations to be a company-wide, default behavior rather than a long-term organizational aspiration, employees must develop the self-awareness and tools to avoid getting stuck in their discomfort. They must also develop a flexible structure to prepare for and ultimately deliver necessary communication in high-stakes situations.

2. Workplace Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility (DEIA)

Since the racial uprisings of 2020, many organizations have created or revisited their diversity, equity, and inclusion plans, and explored how to make their workplace more accessible. Yet too many employees still struggle to show up as allies for fellow employees with marginalized identities. Allyship is the key to creating safety, belonging, and dignity for all employees. Companies are looking for training programs where employees clarify specific ways to engage in allyship. It’s most helpful if training in this area is centered around specific strategies to increase allyship for particular groups of employees or on allyship practices that can transfer to many underrepresented employee groups.

3. Presentation Skills Mastery

Whether employees are running meetings and providing feedback in-person or virtually, experiential training where they’ll be set up to succeed is extremely valuable for companies. Such training explores the dos and don’ts of presentation success and enables participants to learn how to sculpt their messages for live or virtual delivery. Spend ample time ensuring employees possess the confidence, presence, and delivery skills to connect with and hold the attention of those they speak to and that they have techniques to amplify their verbal and nonverbal speaking presence. In addition, speaking programs on this topic can cover virtual technical logistics like the pros and cons of using slides, and camera and microphone placement.

4. Sales Conversations That Convert Prospects to Clients

Irrespective of industry, product, or service, over the last few years, sales professionals have likely needed to adjust their strategy, messaging, and speaking presence to avoid coming across as tone-deaf to the myriad struggles individuals and B2B companies are confronting. Whether a company’s sales have declined or held steady, employees are likely second-guessing their ability to secure new clients or maintain existing ones. A program that combines training, role-playing, and masterminding empowers employees to cultivate the confidence, strategy, communication, and templates to increase their sales conversation success.

5. Cultivating Employee Well-Being and Resilience

Employee stress is one of the greatest financial and human capital costs that companies face, and it’s also one of the most preventable. When employees possess the mindset, confidence, and communication skills to advocate for their well-being, they not only feel better, but statistically, they also perform better. They are also more flexible and resilient when confronted with change and crisis. Plus, they are better poised to spot opportunities that propel their teams and companies forward. In this type of training, participants can explore real and self-imposed barriers to employee well-being and devise simple and effective ways to individually and, in partnership with colleagues, culturally, make employee wellness a priority and ongoing practice.

What are the different formats for corporate speaking opportunities?

Corporate speaking opportunities are one of the most common ways that speakers get paid. Sometimes, these opportunities come from complimentary speaking opportunities at conferences. Other times, these opportunities come from referrals from other speakers who have worked with a company, from an employee in a leadership role who has a connection with a speaker, or from an organizational leader finding a video or article online from somebody who resonates with them.

The most popular formats for corporate paid speaking opportunities are:


Keynotes are speeches or presentations that are usually delivered at the outset or conclusion of a significant event. In a corporate setting, this may be an event for new employees, an all-hands meeting, an event at a regional office, or a presentation at a Women’s History Month or Black History Month celebration.

Keynotes are typically 30 to 45 minutes in length and are delivered by more experienced speakers who are considered experts, thought leaders, or prominent figures in their respective fields. Keynote speakers are selected for their ability to captivate and engage audiences, as well as to provide valuable insights, perspectives, and inspiration related to the theme or purpose of the event.

Employee Resource Groups (ERGs), Business Resource Groups (BRGs), Employee Events, and Client Events

Corporations bring speakers in as keynote speakers for big events for their employees and customers. Internal groups also book speakers to come in for smaller opportunities that create valuable learning throughout the year, foster a sense of community and belonging, strengthen relationships, and contribute to the corporation’s overall success and growth.

Corporations typically select speakers who align with their values, goals, and their audience’s interests to ensure maximum impact and engagement.

Corporate Training

Organizations frequently bring in outside speakers to lead experiential training programs that not only inspire but also develop important mindsets, behaviors, and skills. Half-day training sessions are typically between 2 to 4 hours. Full-day training sessions are typically 5 to 7 hours and provide a more comprehensive learning experience for corporate leaders and/or staff. Multi-day training programs can be 2 days, 3 days, or recur once a month, once a quarter, or semi-annually.

Multi-day training offers an immersive learning environment that allows participants to deepen their knowledge and build meaningful connections. They provide an opportunity for ongoing learning and personal and professional growth that can have a lasting impact on participants and organizations alike.

How much do speakers get paid for corporate speaking engagements?

The amount you can expect to earn for paid speaking opportunities varies by the length of the opportunity, the type of engagement, the industry, and the experience of the speaker.

If your paid speaking opportunity is a keynote, which is usually the most coveted because of its visibility, fees for a non-celebrity speaker are typically between $5,000 and $10,000 USD.

For training, corporate and nonprofit speakers typically charge between $2,500 and $5,000 USD for a half-day training, or between $5,000 to $10,000 USD for a full-day training. Naturally, nonprofit speaking opportunities are usually on the lower side of that spectrum.

Another option for paid speaking opportunities is a 60 to 90-minute Lunch-and-Learn. With these kinds of offerings, it is best to offer multiple sessions to a company, otherwise, decision-makers will likely only offer between $500 to $1,500 USD for a single one.

Beginning speakers will often also self-produce workshops and market them to individuals in their network. Fees for those workshops range from $147 to $497 USD per person for half-day workshops, $297 to $997 USD a person for a full day, and $497 to $1997 USD a person for two-day workshops.

Who books speakers and trainers for companies?

In companies, there are numerous people in roles where they can hire external speakers and trainers. Here are the most common organizational decision-makers.

HR Leaders

In many companies, the human resources department is responsible for organizing training and development programs for employees. This includes sourcing speakers and trainers for workshops, seminars, and other learning events aimed at enhancing employees’ skills and knowledge.

HR leaders also work closely with department heads or managers to identify training needs and objectives, and they select appropriate speakers/trainers, negotiate contracts, and coordinate logistics for the events.

Talent Development Leaders

Organizations often have a dedicated talent development department tasked with designing, implementing, and managing training initiatives. Professionals in these departments are responsible for assessing organizational training needs, designing training programs, evaluating training effectiveness, and ensuring alignment with business goals and objectives. As part of this, they may hire external speakers to come in and lead training programs or specific days/modules for their existing training programs.

ERG/BRG Leaders

These internal affinity groups within companies that bring together employees with shared identities, backgrounds, or interests often host events, workshops, and activities aimed at fostering diversity, inclusion, and professional development within the organization. The leaders of ERGs/BRGs may book speakers for various events and initiatives throughout the year, depending on the group’s objectives, focus areas, and budget.

C-suite Leaders

In certain cases, especially for corporation-wide training needs or executive talent development, executives who hold high-level positions within a company may take the lead in sourcing speakers/trainers relevant to their organizations’ skill development or industry expertise.

How do I network and build relationships with corporate decision-makers?

Networking and building relationships with corporate decision-makers can open doors to a variety of paid speaking opportunities.

Speaking at professional associations and groups that serve executive leaders provides a platform to showcase your expertise, build credibility, and connect with decision-makers in your target audience. Remember to be proactive in introducing yourself to audience members, engage in conversations, and make sure to exchange contact information.

A few organizations that specifically serve CEOs and executive leaders include:

Vistage International
Vistage is the world’s largest CEO coaching and peer advisory organization for small and midsize business leaders. Vistage groups throughout the United States host monthly meetings, and Vistage pays a modest honorarium to speakers who apply and are approved to speak.

Women Presidents Organization (WPO)
WPO empowers women presidents, CEOs, and managing directors of privately-held, multimillion-dollar companies by providing a forum for them to connect with each other, share experiences, and access resources to grow their businesses. Individual WPO groups frequently hire speakers to deliver programs to their members.

Young Presidents’ Organization (YPO)
YPO is a global leadership community of chief executives who have built thriving multimillion-dollar companies and achieved extraordinary success at a young age. Individual YPO groups often hire speakers to come in and educate their members on being a successful, young executive.

Another great way to garner face-time with executive-level decision-makers for paid speaking opportunities is to host executive roundtables.

An executive roundtable is a structured forum or gathering that brings together a small number of senior-level executives to discuss specific topics, share insights, and exchange ideas in a collaborative and intimate setting.

These discussions are typically organized around a central theme, industry trend, strategic challenge, or emerging opportunity relevant to the participants. They typically last 90 minutes and include an opportunity for you, as a speaker, to connect your work to the issue up for discussion, demonstrate your facilitation skills, and share your relevant speaking and training offerings.

What materials do I need to start booking paid speaking opportunities?

To start booking paid speaking opportunities, you’ll want to develop several key materials to effectively market yourself as a speaker and showcase your expertise and value to audiences.

The most important materials are:

Speaker One-Sheet

This promotional flyer provides a snapshot of your speaking services. It should include your bio, headshot, speaking topics, testimonials, contact information, and any other relevant details about your speaking offerings. It should also show you in action as a speaker.

Website Speaking Page

Establish this dedicated page on your website to showcase your speaking services. This page should include speaking topics, past speaking engagements, client testimonials, booking information, and a contact form to make it easy for event organizers or corporate leaders to reach out to you.

Strong Speaker Bio

Craft a compelling speaker profile that highlights your expertise, background, and unique point of view. It can include information about your professional experience, qualifications, speaking style, and any relevant achievements or credentials.

Speaker Reel

This promotional video features previous speaking engagements and showcases your expertise as a speaker as well as your presentation style. It serves as a visual portfolio that gives event organizers, conference planners, and potential clients a glimpse of a speaker’s capabilities and what they can expect from their presentations.

While a speaker reel is not an immediate need, it’s a good idea to keep this material in mind as you start to book paid speaking opportunities.

What are common mistakes I should avoid if I want to book paid speaking opportunities in companies?

It’s important to navigate the process of booking paid speaking opportunities carefully so you can increase your chances of securing and delivering successful paid speaking opportunities—and have companies continue to hire you in the future.

One common mistake is not understanding your audience. Failing to research and understand the needs, interests, and demographics of one’s target audience can result in mismatched content and, ultimately, a lack of engagement during the presentation.

In a similar vein, if you neglect to customize your presentation to the specific needs and objectives of the company, you can diminish the perceived value and relevance of your content.

Another common mistake is to underestimate your preparation time. Not allocating sufficient time for pre-event preparation—including understanding the audience, customizing content, and coordinating logistics—can lead to a rushed or subpar presentation.

Making unrealistic promises or commitments—in other words, overpromising and underdelivering—can also damage credibility and trust with a client. Instead, be transparent about the outcomes you know you can deliver.

Once you’ve successfully completed your presentation, remember to follow up and request feedback from your client. Neglecting follow-up and feedback can limit opportunities for future paid speaking opportunities.

What if I don’t have a lot of speaking and training experience or content? What resources or training programs are available to me?

If you don’t have a lot of speaking and training experience or content, consider investing in a training program to help you develop the necessary skills and expertise to pursue paid speaking opportunities.

For example, Step into Your Moxie® Certification is designed for coaches, trainers, HR professionals, helping practitioners, and business and community leaders who want to develop the mindset, skillset, and experiential curriculum to help people find their voice and develop the confidence to use it.

Step into Your Moxie® Certification gives emerging and established speakers a proven system, rooted in role-play, plus the facilitation mastery, to show the people they speak to and work with how to grow their voices by using their voices.

Speakers who complete Step into Your Moxie® Certification are empowered to lead their own Step into Your Moxie® experiences that show people how to speak up for themselves, their important ideas, and call people to take action—and also have the ability to take individual components of this training and, with attribution, incorporate it into their paid speaking opportunities.

Delivered as a comprehensive, 3-day live training institute (with half-day virtual workshops bookending the in-person training experience) through the Step into Your Moxie® Certification experience, you can:

  • Up-level your public speaking, role play, facilitation, persuasive communication, and sales skills

  • Master the experiential, trauma-sensitive Step into Your Moxie® vocal empowerment system

  • Gain access to Certification resources so you can market, sell, and deliver Step into Your Moxie® speaking and training programs

Learn more about Step into Your Moxie® Certification
so you grow your visibility and impact, and uncover success with paid speaking opportunities.

If you are looking for a more immediate, complimentary resource, you can also check out Step into Your Moxie’s FREE digital guide on in-demand professional development topics companies need coaches, consultants, and trainers to lead.

In this robust guide, you’ll receive:

  • Sample program titles, short marketing descriptions, pricing recommendations, and activities you can lead with corporate clients (and in your own self-produced workshops)

  • Tools for how to successfully pitch companies even if you are new(ish) to your business or have only worked with private clients

  • PLUS, offers to sell to companies AFTER you get in the door with the training in the guide.