When I first started speaking, I quickly exhausted my local conferences and needed to find other events that would accept my talk proposals. But finding conferences in need of speakers was a tiresome task, involving word of mouth, cold calling, and lots of “Oh, I wish I’d known they were looking for speakers!” Finally, someone cued me in on a very special page of Lanyrd.com, the “social conference directory” of upcoming and past conferences and their speakers.
Frustratingly, the page doesn’t show up on many Google searches, so it bears pointing out:
It’s a fire hose of leads, true, and you have to pick through them to find conferences that appeal to you, but it was because of this page that I ended up on a panel at BlogHer 2012.
You can filter calls by location and, to a lesser extent, by topic. It also lists calls for volunteers, papers, attendees, contest entries, and other kinds of participation, if that’s more your style. Unfortunately, what this page really needs is an RSS feed you can filter and pipe to your heart’s content!
Once you establish yourself as a reputable speaker, it’s likely that conferences will start seeking you out and you can take these training wheels off. But it’s still fun to dig around for those little gems from outside your circle of colleagues!