You already know that speaking at conferences is great for branding, but how do you really get those great speaker spots? If you are famous or know someone who can just hand you a speaker spot, you probably don’t need to read this. However, if you have never spoken at a conference and want to, here is what you should do:
- Read the requirements – Each conference has different requirements for pitches. Before you try to convince someone to invite you as a speaker, you need to know what they want. Make sure you read, understand, and follow all the directions for speaker slots. If you have a strong brand, they won’t care what you put in there, but if you are new, it can make the difference between speaking or not.
- Pick a niche – It doesn’t matter if you are a jack of all trades or not, you need to pick a single topic that you want to pitch. Conference chairs choose experts, and the easiest way for you to position yourself as an expert is to pick a niche.
- Create a biography – When you apply for a speaking spot, you usually have to include a bio. If you already have a bio, do yourself a favor by not submitting it. Instead, create a new one that relates to the session you are planning to speak at and beef it up to match the topic. If you can’t create a sexy bio, lie to make it sound attractive. When I first applied to speak, I lied, and it worked. Just make sure you don’t get caught. (I hope you’ll have the real expertise to back up your claims)
- Create a pitch - Make sure you outline what you are going to talk about and why you would be a good fit for the session. Three things to note here:
- Other people are probably pitching to present at the same session, so you’ll have to present something unique if you want to be picked.
- The person reading your pitch will be reading hundreds of other pitches, so do them a favor by keeping it short and to the point.
- The most important part about pitching is the fact that it isn’t about you. It is about the audience and how you can help them.
- Double-check everything – This doesn’t mean you should only proofread your pitch. Get a second viewpoint. Ask other people for advice to see if there is anything you can do to make your pitch sexy.
- Submit your pitch – The last thing you need to do is submit your pitch. Hopefully, you’ll hear back from someone, saying that you got a speaking spot, but if you don’t hear anything back, don’t pester the organizers. Just move on, and try to get a speaking spot at other conferences.