Organizations find speakers through trusted sources, according to the infographic "High Voltage Highlights About Speakers at Meetings (see below)" published by VelvetChainSaw.com and based on the 2013 Speaker report (published by Tagoras and Velvet Chain Saw Consulting.)
The bottom line for speakers is:
Get connected to get booked!
So, how do you get connected?
(1) Start by writing out a clear statement of who you speak to (your audience), the difference you make through your presentations and what extra value you deliver that stands you out from other speakers in your field. Be authentic to be credible. This exercise will help you get clear about your message and value. Make it short and crisp. No need for high-sounding words, unless you don't plan on being understood!
(2) Arrange to meet up with everyone in your network
(or as many as you can) in-person, on the phone, via Skype, hangouts or whatever suits you. Preferably not by email.
Get to know them; find out how you can help them; tell them how you will help them (and do it) and ask them to help connect you to anyone who might need a speaker, to please pass around your details and to please send you any speaker openings. You must first give, give, give before you ask.
Make it easy to pass around your details by creating your speaker materials: speaker sheet, business card, speaker web page (even a one-pager or an About.me page is a good start) and complete social media profiles. Put all your links on your marketing materials. Have printed copies for offline distribution and digital copies for online sharing. This way, it is easy to send someone a link, a card or a flyer at a moment's notice.
(3) Be in the habit of supporting others.
Connect people to opportunities and people that suit them. Pass along their details to possible prospects. Become a giver because it is good to give, not because you expect something in return. Good things gravitate towards givers, including speaking opportunities!
(4) Be active in groups relevant to speakers, thought leaders and event organizers in your industry. Sorry, lurking and just enjoying other people's contributions won't get you anywhere. Connect with people in the group and practise (3). Add value to the group. Become someone whose contributions are valued.
(5) Follow up on all the new leads and new connections you make. What is the good in making contacts if you won't stay in touch? Your more proactive colleagues will be the ones they remember! Send cards on birthdays, anniversaries and other special occasions. Meet up socially now and then. "Like," "share" and retweet your prospects' content on social media. Attend industry events so you can meet them there. Some of this can be automated with a good CRM system. And a good old diary will come in handy!
(6) Speaking involves visibility. Get used to being seen. And in a good light too. Attending industry events is a good way to get seen and remembered. Active social media participation is another. Put dates and activities in your diary and automate reminders.
All the best with getting connected and booked to speak!