Get Selected To Be A Tech Conference Speaker

Do you want to speak at tech conferences? Have you submitted your talk to tech conferences and did not get selected? What is it that conference organizers look for when selecting the conference speakers?

This article is a list of tips that may help you get selected as a speaker for a tech conference. These tips are based on my personal experience as an organizer, adviser to other tech conferences, and also as a speaker.

Last year alone, I spoke at four large conferences, and several user groups and other small conferences, in both the USA and India.
 
 

As a good speaker, you also have think from the other side. When a conference puts an unknown speaker on the stage, it takes a major risk and puts the conference’s credibility on the line. So, make sure you’re ready. You’re creditable. You have experience. You’ve practiced.

Here is a list of tips, not in any particular order.

Build Credibility

If you’re not an established speaker, the first thing you need to do is start building credibility as a speaker. The best way to start getting your feet wet is to start small and start local. Find smaller local user group events and try to speak there. If you’re just starting, you may not get a chance right away. Go attend the event first, or try to help with organizing the event. Meet and become friends with the organizers.

You will be surprised at how many people want to speak at C# Corner events and conferences. My first obvious questions are – Have you helped organize any events? Do you have any speaking experience? Have you written any books? Are you a good speaker?

For public speaking, experience matters.

Public speaking is one of the most known phobias. If you still don’t feel like speaking before a technical audience for whatever reason, start with a group of people that are known to you. You may want to speak at your work meetings.

College speaking is another way to get started. You will feel comfortable there. This is your college. You probably know the teachers. The students are probably going to respect you. Even if you’re not perfect, they’re not going to judge you.

Target Conferences

Not all conferences will be interested in you, unless you’re a popular speaker. You need to make a list of conferences that may be interested in your topic and your expertise. For example, if you’re a JavaScript expert, you need to find a conference that is JavaScript focused. A database conference probably won’t select you.

Make a list of conferences, study their previous topics and speakers, and try to connect with conference organizers. Don’t forget to connect with them on social media and help them promote it.

Have A Good Topic Prepared

Tech conference speakers are usually the experts in their relative fields. You must have your topic ready. You have better chances of getting selected if your topic is on emerging tech, rather than an old topic.

Select a topic that is in-demand.

You should also look at the conference’s needs. Most tech conferences have pre-selected topics and look for speakers on the topics that they can’t find. For example, if you’re a C++ expert and want to speak on how to learn C++ programming, chances are you will not get selected. You need to find a topic that is in-demand. For example, if mixed reality and IoT are the emerging technologies, you have a better chance of getting selected for them.

Build A Strong Profile

Being a speaker also means promoting yourself as a speaker. If you’re just starting, you need to sell yourself. You need to build a good professional profile. If you don’t know how to build your profile, hire someone to write it for you. It won’t cost much. Make sure you have a professional photo and bio on your personal website, social media, and professional networks such as LinkedIn.

Most of the conferences have an option to submit your topic online. Send them your brief bio, photo, and some brief information about your topic. In your bio, don’t forget to mention your past speaking engagements, awards, recognitions, and publishing experience.

Organizers love social media promotions.

Organizers love social media promotions. Don’t forget to use social media to let your followers know about your speaking engagements. Before, during, and after speaking, don’t forget to promote the event at which you’re speaking. If you promote the event, chances are, you will get more opportunities in the future.

Build Relationships

Unless organized by a company, most tech conferences are organized by a group of two to four people. Make sure you try to become friends with the organizers. Keep in mind, organizing a tech conference is a lot of work. Organizers appreciate anyone who offers help in any way.

It’s all about who you know.

I know when we select speakers, we look for not only a good speaker, but for someone who is helping in some way.

Deliver

Once given an opportunity, make sure you work hard and be well prepared to speak. Make sure to take your speaking seriously, if you want to become a better speaker. If you’re just starting, make sure to practice before friends and ask for their feedback. Fix the mistakes and practice again. Practice in front of a mirror pretending you’re speaking before an audience.

At one of the C# Corner conferences, I remember speakers not coming prepared, some coming late, and not following the guidelines. We will never invite those speakers again.

Summary

I don’t claim to be a great speaker but as a conference organizer, advisor, and a speaker, I’ve been on both sides of the table. I understand the needs of a conference organizer, as well as the challenges conference speakers face. You should be humble, friendly, and always willing to help.

Tech conference speakers usually don’t get paid. The reason behind public speaking is to build a portfolio, gain exposure, generate business, earn recognition, and also give back to the industry. So, do not expect payment for speaking. Most tech conferences don’t pay speakers. Read Why don’t conference speakers get paid?