Talking at the conference is a great way to build yourself as an authority on a topic, to the network with your colleagues and to meet potential clients, but how are you invited to speak at the conference?
First, don’t wait to be invited. Identification of the area where you can add value as a speaker and then hunt down the conference organizers that specialize in these fields. Some conferences are advertised before the speaker line-up has been completed, so you can contact the organizer to offer yourself as a speaker. But because the organizing industry is very competitive conference today and conference producers are under a lot of pressure to be the first to become a market, many of them keep their new conference topics under wrap until they are ready to be marketed.
So how did you go on to the speaker panel at the conference before being marketed?
One way is to see the past conference. Call some speakers from the past conference and ask what the experience is. Find out how many delegates attended. If the conference is successful, there is a very good opportunity that the organizer will repeat the topic, or run a program with a similar theme. Also, some organizers specialize in certain topics, so save the list of organizers running conferences on your favorite subjects and keep in touch with them semi-regularly. It also pays to maintain the annual conference calendar and to contact the organizer during their production window.
What about responding to calls for papers?
Some organizers of the conference issued a letter for paper, but many were not. It pays to be proactive and finds commercial associations and organizers before they produce your ideal conference. But if you have missed the window and the program has been completed, you can still offer your service as a replacement speaker, even if you are an additional late for this program, you will skip the exposure that comes with a brochure sent to thousands of people. So, go ahead!
I was told that because I was a consultant and offered service to the industry that the delegates did not want to hear from me, and I had to sponsor the conference instead! What do I have to do?
This is a general-off-off technique of conference organizers. One way to get around it is offering to bring clients to be present beside you. Conference manufacturers often look for presentations from famous companies. Big names help sell delegation tickets. So, if you have a client that the conference organizer wants a program, then offer to run the tag team presentation where you and your client divide the time of speaking. That way everyone wins. The producer gets a “name” on this program, and you can also speak at the conference.
What other ways to proceed to the conference program?
Conference manufacturers usually seek speakers from various sources, so that they are seen in a number of fields increase your chances of being invited to speak. Join and activate in relevant professional associations. Write a book or article (or quoted in it), and become an effective networker.