So, you want to start speaking. But no one is inviting you, and your submissions keep getting turned down? Bummer. But don’t give up. Here are some quick and dirty tips to help get off the ground. Because once you get a few speaking gigs under your belt; more should start dripping, and then pouring!, in.
1) Start a Vlog. Not a blog, a vlog (Video Blog, for those out there not in the Web 2.0 lingo). Talk to your audience on the topics that interest you, that you consider yourself to be an “expert” on. This shows that you:
* Conduct yourself well when speaking.
* Construct clear, concise statements.
* Have good, unique information to share.
2) Interview others. While less important, this shows you are well connected, understand the field you are in and who the influencers are, know what the audience wants to hear, and can get the answers to questions you can’t answer yourself. Interviews on your Vlog will also get you great moderator gigs.
3) Know the Conferences. People still won’t come to you, you have to go to them. This means learning what conferences and meetups exist in your field, and sending out a LOT of speaking requests. BEFORE sending the speaking submissions, review the site: know who else is speaking, on what topics, and what the basic theme of the conference is. You wouldn’t believe how many talks on “successful cloud computing” and “hosting solutions” I received for FailCon…
4) Write a unique submission. This is a whole section by itself. I may write a post on this alone later, but here are some quick and dirty pointers. These pointers are also only for events without a submission process. If they have a form or instructions, read them and follow them. Otherwise, here’s my advice:
* Keep it Short. 1 – 3 lines. If it interests me, I will ask for more information.
* Have a Title. This tells me you have a goal in mind for this talk, a clear and relevant point to make.
* Be Unique. I have seen 100+ talks on “benefits of social media” and “growing your brand.” I have NOT seen “What social media can learn from ant colonies.” or “Web 2.0 Startups: The New Auto Industry”
* Be Relevant. Like my note above: know what my conference is on and who else I have speaking. Let me know what you will add to the agenda that isn’t already there. Answer my questions before I even ask them.
5) Play the numbers. Even if you follow this advice to a tee, I promise you will get 20+ rejections for every 1 hit. But this also means that, if you send 21 submissions, Im betting you’ll get one. And after that one gets up on your vlog and you can send others to it, the odds will be more like 17:1. Then 15:1. And so on. The more you speak, the more invitations you’ll get.
(Now of course, all of this advice rides on the fact you can be a GOOD speaker. So practice, ask friends for advice, and read up on tips and tricks.)