Speaking opportunities are an inexpensive and targeted way to get a strong ROI from trade shows and conferences. It's always possible that attendees who hear you speak will become your clients. Here are ten techniques to get these opportunities.
Join a special interest group
Groups dedicated to the industry you serve are plentiful. The local chamber of commerce, groups of financial planners, IT VARs, and manufacturers are common. Build your speaking resume by starting small.
Nurture the person responsible for choosing speakers
Choose your venue, find out who is responsible for selecting speakers, and create a plan to keep your name and qualifications in front of that person.
Develop a catchy title
A catchy title will attract the attention of the conference organizers and increase the likelihood of getting chosen as a speaker. Remember that it's important to both inform and entertain.
Choose a client pain point for your proposal
Conference organizers use your topics in their ads to attract people to attend. Design your speech to supply solutions for typical pain points of your clients and prospects.
Look at the event website 9 to 12 months in advance
It's not unusual for next year's conference planning to start at the current year's conference. Look at the conference website and get your speaking proposal in early. Consider multiple topics.
Target events that your clients attend
Ask your clients what magazines they read, what associations they belong to, and what conferences they attend. Organizers are very interested in speakers who can draw attendees.
When exhibiting, take advantage of product showcases and sponsorships that give you the opportunity to get in front of an audience, even if it costs some money.
Offer to speak at a regional event
Many conferences have local regional events throughout the year. Offer to speak at one of these events and it can lead to a speaking opportunity at the main event.
Offer to speak with a named client
Ask one of your clients to join you on the podium and present a joint case study or white paper solution. Conference organizers are more likely to choose a named client presenting a real life situation than a vendor/consultant alone.
Join the association that sponsors the event and become active
Joining an association isn't enough -- become active by volunteering to be on a committee. As an insider, you'll know about speaking opportunities and be given an advantage compared to the people that the association doesn't know.