Getting picked to speak at a conference or workshop isn’t hard, but there are mistakes many people make when developing their speaker proposal that earn them dings rather than points with a selection committee. Avoiding these five stumbling blocks can go a long way toward improving your odds of landing on the agenda of the conference you have in your sights:
- Don’t assume the conference will allow you to make changes not addressed by their proposal rules. Ignoring the rules is a sure way to annoy the selection committee and earn you a rejection. Contact the conference in advance for guidance if you want to propose something unique.
- Don’t propose to speak on topics that are dated or are no longer relevant to your audience. Keep in mind, the “hotter” the topic and the more “buzz worthy” your proposal is, the better your chances are of standing out from the crowd.
- Don’t make your credentials, products, or services the focus of your proposal. Most conferences frown on outright selling by session presenters, so be sure to keep your description focused on how you will educate your audience and not on what you are trying to sell them. Don’t forget, your mission here is thought-leadership!
- Don’t make the mistake of failing to carefully proof your submission. Typos and grammatical errors will come across as a slight to the selection committee. It shows you didn’t care enough to take the extra time to ensure you proposal was perfect. This may seem like a very small thing, but small things can quickly add up to a rejection.
- Don’t neglect your bio. Make sure it’s well written and captures your work experience as well as your past speaking history. Remember, in addition to looking for a great topic, the selection committee is also looking for dynamic speakers who are true experts in their field. Your bio is a chance to seal the deal.
Avoid these five common mistakes and you’ll dramatically improve your chances of impressing the selection committee and getting on the conference agenda.