Guidelines for submitting a speaker proposal

Amanda Silva

January 19, 2023

    Do you have what it takes to be the speaker at an event? Do you have all the knowledge and ideas to share about a specific topic? There are so many people who have great ideas to share but no idea how to turn those great ideas into great session proposals.

    Becoming a speaker at a leading industry event requires a lot of planning. This is because some event agendas are solidified up to nine months prior to the actual date of the event. So as soon as you hear that an event is calling for speakers, it’s time to get right to work.

    With the right approach and these submission guidelines, you’ll be more than ready to take the podium!

    Know Your Audience

    When preparing a speaker proposal, you need to keep in mind the audience that you are trying to reach. It is easy to write in a tone that you find appealing, but don’t forget–the audience is who you’re trying to appeal to. Before you begin writing your proposal, consider the following questions:

    • Who will be attending the conference?
    • What are the demographics of the attendees?
    • Why are the attendees at the event/what problems are they looking to be solved?
    • What do the attendees care about?
    • What unique perspective are you providing to the attendees?

    Most of the questions can be answered by taking a quick trip to the conference’s website, as most will include this information for potential sponsors or in your case, speakers.

    It is crucial to consider the personal profiles of your audience, so you know exactly what to say and how to say it. Be sure to know your attendee demographics, priorities, and typical behaviors.

    Know The Conference

    Aside from understanding your audience, it is just as important to have knowledge of the conference where you are speaking. You want to make sure that your speech will fit in with the goals of the conference.

    As a conference organizer, you’re sure to receive hundreds, if not thousands of speaker proposals. (For help managing speaker submissions, check out our blog!) It is likely that many of them will greatly misunderstand the purpose of the event and the professional or educational goals of the attendees that will be there. They may even misunderstand their own duty as a speaker in the event. Don’t be one of those proposals!

    First, you’ll want to do a good amount of research. Check out the company website and get a feel for what will be going on at the event. You can also benefit from looking on Youtube, Speaker Deck and Slide Share for some speeches done in the past that could help give you an idea of what to expect at the event, along with what the attendees are expecting.

    Next, ask yourself the following questions:

    • What is the intention of the conference? Are you looking to inform and educate? Propose and sell? Build advocacy?
    • What is the content focused on?

    There are often many speaker proposals submitted for leading industry events. With that in mind, you need to make sure your content lines up with the larger goals and objectives of the conference if you want to stand out and have your proposal chosen over the rest.

    And if you’re the leader of an event or conference and you’re looking for tips on how to book the right speaker, we have some answers for you.

    Overcome your CE program nightmares January 26, 2023, at 1:00 pm EST with tips and tricks to help streamline your submission content and more!

    Craft Your Content

    Now that you have asked yourself a number of questions to prepare yourself in writing your proposal, you are ready to begin crafting your content.

    The most important thing is to make sure your proposal clearly defines what attendees will take away from the presentation and why the information you are delivering is important for the conference. Some other tips include:

    1. Hook the judges in with a great title and description. Since the selection panel and the judges will likely be going through many speaker proposals, it is crucial for you to grasp their attention from the start. However, make sure your title is reflective of what the piece is about. Nothing is worse for attendees than coming to a presentation that is about something entirely different than what they thought it was. In other words, avoid false advertising.
    2. In your proposal, explain the structure of your session. Will there be multiple speakers? If so, what will the format look like? Will the speakers take turns presenting? Will you include any hands-on activities to help with attendee understanding?
    3. Indicate if you will have any guest speakers and their credentials. This will suggest the value of your proposal so it is important to include.
    4. … and always end your proposal by connecting it back to how it all applies to the overall theme of the conference. If you do this effectively, the selection committee will have no choice but to choose your proposal to be part of their event agenda.
    Coming Up With a Catchy Title

    The best place to start when coming up with a title is all the elements that you have compiled together. You want your title to reflect what your speech will be about, but in a catchy and entertaining way. Remember that your title is the first part of your speech that a judge is going to read–make that first impression count!

    Tips For Writing Your Proposal

    There are a few steps to keep in mind when writing your proposal:

    1. Idea: most events will make it easy for you to have an idea already in mind but you’ll want to make it as compelling for the organizers as possible. Ask yourself…
      What will the attendees get out of my speech? Does it match with the goals and objectives of the event?
    2. Problem: speak about a problem that can be solved and how you plan to solve it
    3. Action: decide what tools you will use to develop a speech that meets your marketing and audience needs

    Now, in your actual proposal, you should do the following…

    Start with the problem and make sure it’s something relatable to the conference attendees. You want your message to connect with current and potential customers. Follow up with the action.

    After this, include a key idea or two.

    Finish your proposal with the outcome while also making note of your credentials. If you have years of experience and a title to prove it, share that!

    Important to Remember
    Event organizers likely won’t reach out to you first (at least not until you’ve spoken at one and done a great job!), you have to reach out to them.

    Almost all event organizers across the board will ask you for a description of your speech, so it is important to know how to write one–or at the very least where to start!

    Speaking at an event can be an extremely rewarding experience. Not only is it a great way to showcase your knowledge and skills within a specific niche, but it’s also an excellent way to build connections with others in the industry. A good speaker submission starts with these guidelines and tips.

    At Attendee Interactive, we empower event organizers to utilize better processes to create more manageable, appealing, and usable content. With more than 20 years of experience, Attendee Interactive continues to be a leader in providing cutting-edge conference management and CME accreditation software to clients worldwide.

    Enhance collaboration, efficiency, and productivity with solutions that streamline your speaker management process.

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