Public speaking is a business and a marketing tool. It can provide you with an income and a way to sell books and services. It can also showcase your company to potential business prospects. Civic and business organizations usually want speakers for their meetings. Conferences look for speakers to cover important topics. Large companies hire motivational speakers. Speakers communicate, so if you are trying to sell yourself as a speaker, your first task is to demonstrate in your proposal how well you can communicate in an interesting and inspiring way to an audience and how your skill sets fulfill the topic needs of the speaking engagement.

Investigate the company, organization or conference where you want to speak. Read their websites, articles about them and, particularly in the case of conferences, lists of speakers and topics covered in previous events. In your research, identify the department or individual who handles hiring speakers or planning conferences.

Write a cover letter explaining why you would like to speak at their events, why you would be a good choice and a description of your experience with the subject matter to be covered.

Create a "one-sheet," which is similar to a speaker resume. Start with a picture and your contact information. Next, add a one or two sentence promotional statement, such as, "People are motivated to action when I speak because I spent 25 years as a drill Sergeant and have spent the last 15 years speaking professionally on motivational topics, such as conquering fear, keeping in mental shape and beating the competition at its own game."

List your speaking topics, next, with a short descriptive paragraph about what is covered and what benefit the audience will receive. Include a list of your recent speaking engagements and testimonials from audience members and employers.

Things You Will Need
  • Promotional photos

  • Recordings of previous speeches

  • Testimonials


Many speakers provide a full-color glossy picture of themselves -- either a head-shot or a picture of them speaking at a large gathering. On the back of your picture place a sticker with your contact information and your topics. Include a recording of a recent speech on a topic that would be appropriate for the event you are pitching. Match your proposals to the needs of your potential audience. You should write different one-sheets for different types of audiences, so use the information you learn in your prospect research to identify what the prospect wants to have as a topic. It is always helpful to call the person in charge of planning the event to introduce yourself and ask what she is looking for in a speaker.