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Speaker tips

How to write a winning session proposal (source)

  1. Think about your session title like you would the subject line of an email—it needs to grab the attendee quickly and persuade them to read more. Don’t be afraid to have fun with it but make sure it is clear, concise, and compelling.
  2. Be specific with your key takeaways. What exactly will someone leave your session knowing that they didn’t know before? These should be complete sentences and begin with words such as, “Gain insight into… learn… understand… discover…”
  3. Convey that your topic is best served as a conference session. If it can only work as a blog post, then the content committee likely won’t accept it. Provide details on how you will make this experience unique for attendees and encourage participation in the event.
  4. Have a friend outside of your industry review your content before you submit it. They might not understand the technical language but a fresh perspective is always a good idea. This is also helpful when it comes to practicing your talk prior to presenting.
  5. Help the committee think about how your content will live beyond the event. Will your session inspire an opportunity to connect with attendees a few months later? Are you willing to do a follow-up podcast episode or write a recap blog post with insights from the session? We love to build partnerships with speakers and keep the conversation going after the event. If you’re willing to continue that relationship, let the committee know that.
  6. Sessions are intended to be educational, not a sales pitch. Your content should be value-driven and prioritize solving a specific problem vs. featuring a product.
  7. Show your passion. It’s essential to show your passion for the topic you’re planning to speak about. Share your enthusiasm and motivation for the subject matter, and explain why it matters to you personally.
  8. Avoid “TBD” in your submission. The committee will have a hard time accepting an incomplete session. For example, if you’re submitting a panel, confirm all of your proposed panelists in advance and provide a sample of discussion questions. If you’re presenting findings from a survey, the survey should be done and you should have a general idea of what you’re going to share from it. Take the guesswork out of reviewing your submission and make it easy for the committee to understand what you’re proposing.
  9. And here are some other ways you can do your homework prior to submitting:
    1. Read through recaps of the previous year’s events so you can see which sessions were popular and draw inspiration from them
    2. Contact former speakers to understand how they approached the process and ask for feedback on your submission
    3. Make sure you are aware of the latest issues and talking points in the industry. Subscribe to well-known blogs and newsletters, look up trending conversations on Twitter and LinkedIn, and check out any popular podcasts. The more well-versed you are in the sector, the more credible you will be as a potential speaker.