“Organizing is what you do before you do something so that when you do it, it is not all mixed up.”
– A.A. Milne
I was once asked by a client to find conferences they could pitch their executives as speakers. They wanted to share their message, raise their profile and reach prospective customers. And they were in a BIG HURRY to get in front of audiences. Any and all audiences. And that was the problem.
They hadn’t taken time to define who their audience was and where they gather. And that made searching for conferences a disorganized mess.
When you look for conferences to pitch your speaking proposal, you need to organize your search around two key anchors or you will never find the right events to offer your topic. Skip this step and you’ll end up looking everywhere, finding little and being frustrated by the process.
Define Your Audience
Make a list of the people who would be interested in your topic. Your list might include:
- Your peers – People with jobs or interests just like yours. When you want to learn something new about your job, your hobby or other interest, you hang out with this group.
- Related fields – Are you an accountant? Non-profit administrators need to know what you know so they can manage their organization’s finances better. If you’re a teacher, Sunday school teachers would like to know what you know about classroom management.
- Unrelated fields – Certain topics or disciplines are nearly universal – social media, career development and leadership presentations can be made to fit almost any audience.
Determine Where They Meet Up
Once you’ve got your audience mapped out, search for events planned for these groups. You can do a straightforward Google search for conferences or try using a search engine like AllConferences.com, ListofConference.org, or Lanyrd.com. These resources aggregate national and international conferences with dates and locations. You’ll get a list of events and once you have that, you can research the process for submitting your topic to the conference for consideration.
Think Big and Small
Don’t limit yourself to national events. Your target audiences will have local, state and/or regional chapters of their associations. Find them with a Google search. Contact them to find out who books speakers for their gatherings. You’ll be able to sharpen your presentation for a larger audience and you’ll make valuable contacts and grow your network.
Once you’ve done your research and have a list of events, dates and deadlines for speaker submissions, capture it all in a document you can use to track the information so you stay organized. Use whatever works for you – a regular document, a spreadsheet, even a calendar — anything that will keep the information you’ve collected handy.
Finding the right event to pitch your knowledge or message to isn’t hard to find, but it does take some thoughtful work. Be organized in executing your search, define your target audiences and find out where they gather. Nail this information down and you’ll be on your way to getting in front of the right crowd.