Can You Get Work From Speaking Engagements?

I subscribe to a smart enewsletter from “Your Marketing Mentor” Ilise Benum, and in this week’s, she made a provocative statement:

I’ve seen people present to a group and not make the most of it. They think, I’m going to talk, and they’re going to come rushing the stage before I’m done, brandishing contracts and checks. I’ve never seen that happen.

I’m not sure I agree with her although I do agree with her next statement:

Action needs to be taken, on your part, to make the most out of these situations and find your best prospects in the audience.

She goes on to give three solid tips for taking action to get more out of your presentations post-event and these are:

  • Offer to send your PPT.
  • Raffle something off.
  • Offer a free something.

Each action becomes a way of appropriately obtaining someone’s contact information and a good reason to follow up. All excellent tips.

But I’d also argue if you do a “knock-your-socks-off” presentation – not with bells and whistles but with clear, concise, thoughtful know-how, you can get immediate benefits bestowed upon you from members in your audience. I give each of my presentations everything I’ve got, prepare for them to make sure I’m providing tangible value, get psyched up for them, and then come away from them feeling like I’ve run a marathon.

And you know what? Treating presentations like an important job and privilege can pay off. Often after presenting, I’m offered new speaking opportunities – and this is where follow up is key. I’ve also received inquiries about consulting (it is not always obvious that I consult because I make a point not to promote my company or services when presenting) and have been all but hired on the spot. And in several cases, I received an inquiry about writing a book (neither turned out to be a fit, but it was exciting to get the queries).

I don’t think these kinds of results from speaking engagements are unusual if you work hard at what you doing. Presentations shouldn’t be after thoughts. The material you present should not be commercials for you or your company. The information needs to be easy to understand and digest with actionable items for the audience to take with them and deploy right away.

How are wowing your audiences with substance and getting not just the kudos but the offers you deserve?


Posting a Rejected Speaking Proposal

I’m going to start posting winning and rejected proposals on this blog to try to paint a clearer picture on what works and what doesn’t – although I’m not sure it will actually bring clarity but hopefully will bring some learning. Below is my most recent submission to Blogworld that was not accepted. I’m not going to make any commentary or assumptions at the moment about why it wasn’t. I just believe there is value in publishing all of the pieces to the equation of “getting more women speakers into biz/tech/venture conferences.”

Please note: I’m not picking on Blogworld in any way. I just have more immediate experience working with them – I spoke at Blogworld 2009 and have had ongoing conversations with Rick Calvert and Deb Ng – and they are willing to participate in addressing any real or perceived imbalances in thoughtful ways. I appreciate their candor and support.

I do have some theories on what works and doesn’t in terms of bringing more women to the fore at major biz/tech/venture conferences. I’ll be blogging about those thoughts later along with interviews of conference organizers; keynoters and other speakers, both male and female; and conference attendees to share all sides of this picture.

This proposal was based on two blog posts I wrote for Web Worker Daily:

How to Know a Good Fan on Facebook
How to Convert Your Facebook Superfans Into Brand Ambassadors

The Birth, Care and Feeding of Your Social Media Superfan

What is a Superfan in social media? And how can you tap into their power to enhance the value of your social media marketing efforts?

Superfans can provide us with Attention, Participation, Interaction, Loyalty, and Evangelism but how do we tap into those qualities in appropriate and effective ways?

Many of us are building our presences in social media channels, but we aren’t considering what we can provide to our Friends, Fans and Followers (FFFs) and what we’d like to get in return. We need to understand how to leverage the power of the Superfan.

Learn how to:

  • Recognize your Superfans;
  • Reward your Superfans;
  • Leverage the power of Superfans;
  • Avoid Fan backlash; and
  • Convert your Superfans into Brand Ambassadors.

You’ll hear examples of companies that have leveraged their Superfans with solid and positive impacts on their social media marketing efforts.

Learn how to develop your own Social Media Superfan and Brand Ambassador programs including:

  • What to monitor in Social Media to find your Superfans;
  • How to vet your Superfans before approaching them;
  • How to properly approach your Superfans;
  • What to offer Superfans and when to do it;
  • How to elevate Superfans to Brand Ambassadors.

Also learn best practices for avoiding backlash including how to engage transparently.

My proposal followed the guidelines of the Blogworld submission process and were written as components submitted into a submission form. There was also a section for biography which I submitted although I don’t have a copy. Chances are it was based on this bio.

Would you be willing to share your accepted and/or rejected speaker proposals and any learnings you’ve gained from the speaker submission process? Please feel free to share in the comments here or get in touch with me through this blog.

On GeekFeminism: Finding more women to speak at Ohio LinuxFest

Here’s a post outlining a clear process for getting more female speakers at a tech conference.

Given Terri’s recent post about the same few women always being speakers, I thought this would be a good place to write about how one conference I help out with, Ohio LinuxFest, has tried to expand their array of women speakers. For those interested in pretty graphs, I’ve been graphing women speaker proportions at various LinuxFests on the GeekFeminism Wiki. This post was co-authored with Moose J. Finklestein, the Content Chair.

Some conference organisers will say “we didn’t get any submissions from women” to explain the lack of women on their stages. As of two years ago, the Ohio LinuxFest was in that category. With a little outreach effort, and embracing diversity as a core value, the Ohio LinuxFest has successfully recruited more women to share their experience at OLF.

Read more…

on Smashmag: Upcoming Web Design and Development Conferences in 2010

Smashing Magazine has compiled a list of web design and development-related conferences and events that will be taking place in the next six to eight months.

Great list!

Are you speaking at any of them? Are there ones you are interested in speaking at but not sure where to begin? Let us know, and we’ll see what we can do to help.

Resource: WikiCFP – A Wiki for Calls for Papers

WikiCFP is a Semantic Wiki for Calls For Papers in various science and technology fields. There are more than 10,000 CFPs posted and tracked by about 15,000 registered users. Up to date, about 100,000 researchers use WikiCFP each month.

Categories include:

communications 527
artificial intelligence 555
image processing 200
data mining 316

I’ve never heard of 99% of these conferences, however, the list is extensive and international.

Let us know if you are speaking at any of the conferences listed or are going to submit something to speak.