If you have decided that conference speaking opportunities are a good way to get your message out, how do you know which of the thousands of conferences out there are worth speaking at?
Work your way through our handy checklist and find the best speaking gigs for you and your team:
1. Define your brief
Narrow down your search by deciding on the sector you want to concentrate on, whether it be vertical (industry specific) or horizontal (job function specific). Also decide which geographical region you are looking at. Are you looking at London-specific events or any held in Western Europe? Be clear about what it is you’re looking for before starting your internet research.
2. Build a calander
Whether you work for a company that wishes to speak at 15 conferences a year or you’re an independent who would be happy to speak at two, it’s worth creating an at-a-glance calendar to see what conferences are in your space. Many conferences tend to run on an annual basis so this can also be a handy document for future reference in case you want to attend an event to network.
On your calendar make various columns such as: name of event, date, organising company, audience profile, theme, and a space for notes to write how the submission process works. List the events in date order with the more imminent at the top of the page so that you can see which are likely to need attention first.
4. Look in advance
Whether it be three months or one year ahead, conference companies tend to put their agendas together a long time before the event actually happens. This can make finding events online quite tricky as sometimes they don’t publicise the conference until the speakers are in place. For this reason it’s often worth calling up the conference company to find out what events they are putting together over the next year. Explain why you are getting contact – commercial conference companies often play their cards close to their chest in case of prying competition!
5. Speak to the right person
Make sure it’s the conference producer or researcher you ask for. If you speak to the sales person your cards will be marked – don’t be surprised if you start to be regularly courted by them. It’s also a very quick way to ensure that speaking slots cease to be of the free variety….
6. Put the time in
Sifting through the conferences in the market to seek out those that look the most appropriate – then qualifying them – takes time and effort. If it’s not time you have, pay a third party to put together that calendar. Happy speaking!
If you would like to help with planning your speaking opportunities programme, get in touch.