Get Hired for Speaking at Association Meetings, Conferences, TEDx and more
Summertime, for many businesses and business professionals, is a slower time of year as people take time off for vacation, the kids are out of school, and frankly, the hot weather seems to make some move at a slower pace. However, “there’s no time like the present,” as my mother would always say. And if you are looking to speak at association meetings, conferences, or at TEDx events, now is the time to think about filling your pipeline for next year and work on the speaker application process. Although conferences are held year-round, summer appears to be a good time for researching and submitting applications for events next spring. Many aspiring conference speakers don’t know that the call for conference submission generally occurs 10 – 12 months in advance of the event. So, if you are interested in speaking at an event next spring, the time to act is now!
Even though my chosen rate for speaking at conferences is not 100% (yet!), I have learned how to raise my chances for becoming a chosen speaker, and I hope you can benefit from these tips. Here is what I have learned:
1. Include local, regional, as well as national conferences on your list for potential speaking opportunities. Even though local opportunities are typically smaller in size, local opportunities offer local connections and business-building in your “backyard.”
2. Look for speaking opportunities that are indirectly related to the topics or industry in which you normally speak. For instance, I speak about effective communication, a topic that can work for many diverse industries and fields. I tweak my topic to fit the audience’s needs.
3. Be open to digital speaking opportunities such as webinars or summits. An advantage to these is you don’t have to travel, and they can be effective ways to grow your reach.
4. Utilize your network, colleagues and clients, and past speaking events to find speaking opportunities. If you spoke at a conference this year, be willing to pass along an opportunity to others and refer your colleagues to the conference planner. You get when you give!
5. Tailor your speech submission to meet the conference theme, or if there is no theme, tweak your topic to meet the needs of your potential audience. This may take more research on your part, however, it is well worth your time and investment if you want to be chosen to speak.
6. Invest in a high-quality video of yourself, if you have not already done so. The experience of you through a video will enable meeting planners to determine if you are a good fit for their audience. Check with your local university’s communication department. Oftentimes, there are student videographers who are looking to build their portfolios. This could be a “win-win” for both you and a lucky student.
7. Follow the submission application guidelines to a “T”. If the application requires your speech title be 9 words long, create a 9-word title, not a 10-word title. Also, your submission’s description will generally have a word count – follow that as well. Those applications which do not follow the explicit submission guidelines are tossed out without consideration.
8. Engage in the event’s social media before the event. This will help build rapport with your audience before you even get there. This will also build anticipation before your presentation, so you may get an even larger audience because they “know” you.
9. Deliver a top-notch presentation at the event. Nothing breeds success like success. Collect testimonials after your speech. Social proof also drives success.
10. Send a thank-you note to the conference organizer after the event. I’m accustomed to getting a thank-you note from the conference organizer. Don’t you think you would stand out if you were the one to send a thank-you to show your appreciation for putting you on the agenda? (Honestly, this is a new tactic for me. Thank-you’s go a l-o-n-g way!)
11. Repurpose your speech content: create a blog post, adapt it for a new speaking audience, or upload your slide deck to SlideShare for more visibility.
I hope these tips will help you get chosen for the conference and audience that needs your message. Good luck – I’ve got a few appointment slots available this month if you’d like to chat about submitting a speaker’s application, click here to schedule a call.