Find Your Voice: Presentation from Blogworld NY

Jill Foster of Live Your Talk and I presented at Blogworld NY last month, and the topic was a bit different for Blogworld fare. Our session title was Speak Up: Empowering Women to Find Their Voices.

This session was the culmination of a brainstorm with Deb Ng and Rick Calvert of Blogworld after I shared with them the vision for Chain of Daisies: To empower more women to pitch to speak at major tech, business and venture conferences and be a pipeline for conferences looking to diversify their speaker lineups.

The session was packed with mostly women (one or two men did attend), and the interactions were high energy and dynamic.

Here are the slides we started out with to get the dialogue rolling:

The rest of the workshop was very interactive with Jill presenting on how to develop your speaking and presenting “practice” followed by working with the women in the room to develop a list of their speaking topics, titles for proposed presentations and the key takeaways for those sessions.

The overall goal? Submit a proposal to Blogworld West or a conference of their choice. Just. Do. It. And some of the women are doing just that.

You can read a brief writeup of the#BWEVoice session in a post on Huffington Post by Marcia G. Yerman. Stay tuned for details about a West Coast version of the #BWEVoice session. Yes, we hope to be in LA. Will we see you there?

What conferences will you be speaking at this year, and how can we support you in your efforts to speak at more?

A Conference With a Diversity Statement: Web 2.0 Summit

Wow, just saw this (brought to my attention by Lucretia Pruitt). The Web 2.0 Summit has a very explicit statement about diversity on it’s website:

Federated Media, O’Reilly Media and UBM TechWeb believe in spreading the knowledge of innovators. We believe that innovation is enhanced by a variety of perspectives, and our goal is to create an inclusive, respectful conference environment that invites participation from people of all races, ethnicities, genders, ages, abilities, religions, and sexual orientations.

We’re actively seeking to increase the diversity of our attendees, speakers, and sponsors through our calls for proposals, other open submission processes, and through dialogue with the larger communities we serve.

This is an ongoing process. We are talking to our program chairs, program committees, and various innovators, experts, and organizations about this goal and about ways they can help us achieve it.

Check out the actual steps they suggest to achieve this aim.

This is phenomenal.

I know that there was a verbally spoken diversity statement last year (I believe Shireen Mitchell was part of that conversation) made by O’Reilly and rumor had it, the directive came from Tim O’Reilly himself. Yet when I had a heated discussion with someone from Web 2.0 Expo, I was given the usual excuse of “we just couldn’t find any women qualified to speak” when I pointed out the continued lack of diversity at Web 2.0 Expo (even as I was totally grateful to be given my first opportunity to speak there).

It is amazing to watch the folks at Blogworld take actions toward diversity and then see O’Reilly put it into words. What next? Actual diversity in the presenters at these influential tech conferences and other conferences following suit?

Wow! What a concept.

What other conferences are you aware of that are actively paying attention to their speaker diversity?

Nice to See Gender Diversity in a Speaker List

Am really pleased to see the mix of speakers coming to Blogworld East in New York City. Men…AND women. It just feels balanced and representative of the population at large.

Not to diminish this incredible progress – AND a very active effort on the part of the folks at Blogworld – but there is another next step to take:

More diversity of color.

Keep on keeping on.

Do you feel represented when you look at speaker lists at top business, technology and venture conferences? If not, what are you doing about it?

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.