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?

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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?

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?

Speaking Opps at Upcoming Conferences

We’ve started compiling a list of upcoming conferences where there are calls for speakers. Here are some fast-approaching deadlines if you are interested in submitting something.

April 9-10 Green Festival, San Francisco, CA
Link to Call for Speakers
Deadline: Not mentioned
Speakers at Green Festival® are articulate, powerful advocates for a just and sustainable world. From authors and filmmakers to politicians, musicians and scientists, these renowned individuals inspire packed audiences with their expertise—one of the most compelling draws to Green Festival® since 2002.

May 14&15 Green Festivals, Chicago, IL
Link to Call for Speakers
Deadline: Not specified

May 24-26 Blogworld Expo East, New York, NY – DETAILS TBA

June 21-23 mLearnCon, San Jose, CA
Link to Call for Speakers
Deadline: APRIL 15
mLearnCon 2011 is where every aspect of mobile learning will be explored in-depth. From the management strategies to the best practices to the technical details, you’ll find the answers you need here. Whether you are working in an academic, corporate, government, or military setting

June 23-25 Type-A Parent Conference (Formerly Type-A Mom Conference), Asheville Renaissance Asheville, NC
Link to Call for Speakers
Deadline: Not specified
For parents looking to take blogging/social media to the next level.

July 7-9 EVO Conference, The Canyons Resort Part City, Utah
Link to Call for Speakers
Deadline: Not specified
Join us for evo ’11—a conference that blends workshops, networking, parties and the wind-in-your-hair relaxation that can only be found by spending summertime in the mountains.

8/4/2011 Women Create Media 2011, Joan B. Croc Center For Peace Studies San Diego, CA
Link to Call for Speakers

Deadline: Not specified

OCT 12-14 IABC New Orleans – International Association of Business Communicators,  New Orleans, LA
Link to Call for Speakers
Deadline: APRIL15
Founded in 1970, The International Association of Business Communicators provides a professional network of about 15,000 business communication professionals in over 80 countries.Speakers from all over the world are welcome to submit their information to be considered for this event. Potential speakers need to submit the form by April 15, 2011. If you have any problems with the file, please email Courtney at clsnola75@gmail.com.

And if you’re looking for some advice for submitting, here are some Tips for Proposing a Panel for Blogworld 2011 from Deb Ng that can apply for most conferences where you can pitch panels.

Where are you speaking this year or where have you proposed to speak?

SheCon: The New MEdia Expo – Call for Speakers

Quick post to let you know about this speaking opp:

For the past year, SheBlogs.org has been connecting an amazingly diverse group of female bloggers with some the best-known and hidden gem brands in the country. After a successful year, we’re taking our community out of the digital world and taking over Ft. Lauderdale, FL for the first ever SheCon!

Call for speaking proposals is now open.

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…