Another way to enter the public speaking arena with your solo show is through a booking agent. In general, public speaking booking agencies are separate and different from LA/NY-style talent agencies; they deal just with public speaking.
Start with research. A Google search of ‘public speakers’ will take you to a lot of agency sites, and you can see the type of speakers they represent, how the speakers are featured and sold, and how/where you might fit in. Use this information (and particularly their marketing language and priorities) to tweak your marketing materials so that you can most effectively pitch yourself to an agent.
Yep, go ahead and cold-approach them. I found the agencies to be pretty friendly and open to considering new artists. I started with a phone call/pitch, then followed up with written materials (see my blog about Marketing Materials for Your Solo Show), that included the helpful performance track record and client testimonials (see my blog about How to Launch Your Solo Show as Public Speaking).
In my experience, working with a booking agent did not free me from the need to find my own gigs. What the agency gave me was a page on their website, and a couple of times they called me with gigs. But mostly I still did my own marketing and found my own gigs. Make sure you clarify that your relationship with the agent is non-exclusive, so that you keep all the money when you get your own gigs. Or if it is exclusive, clarify how and how much they’re going to promote you and find you work. Booking agents take, on average, 20-30% of the booking fee, so you really want to make sure they’re going to work for you and get you gigs that you would not have been able to get yourself.
With great love,