One of my goals this year is to do more speaking gigs. I’ve done a few, mostly about dinosaurs (but also about self-publishing). There are many articles out there about the benefits of public speaking. As an author, it can be a way to help sell more books, or vice-versa: you can publish a book in your niche to get more speaking gigs.
Additionally, getting more comfortable speaking in a public setting can really help boost your confidence. (As a side note, I’ve gotten a lot more comfortable speaking to people in a wide variety of settings through my podcast, though it’s still not the same, since I talk into a microphone.) From my own experience, I get a lot of energy if I’m talking about a subject I’m passionate about, especially if I’m talking to an interested audience.
With that in mind, I’ve come across some tips and resources for booking gigs and coming up with talks. TCK Publishing has a step-by-step guide on how to book speaking engagements. One way to do it is to book local venues, and do that a few times to build up your experience and get more comfortable. Then you can use that experience to book larger gigs, and later film your talks to make a demo reel. This will help you book even larger engagements.
Some bigger engagements may include SXSW, which uses a PanelPicker for talks, and TED and TEDx. Some tips I’ve heard for TEDx talks include watching a lot of talks to get a feel for what works, and keeping your talk short (in fact, TED talks must be under 18 minutes.)
In the process of booking a gig, you should at least have an outline of your topic. Also make sure to practice a lot, so you don’t get nervous and so you don’t need to refer to your notes.
Once you’ve prepared your talk, you’ll want to make sure you practice and keep some things in mind to make sure your audience is engaged. Nonfiction Authors Association shares a few tips, which include providing handouts, making your slides available for download, and repeating questions that the audience asks so everyone can hear.