How to Land Conference Speaking Engagements

Speaking at a conference is a great way to get your name in front of prospective customers, establish yourself as an expert in your space, and grow your business by directly connecting with people in person (and online). Here we will look at a few ways you can get yourself onto the stage and in front of your target audience.

Submit Early

There are tons of conferences across all business verticals taking place year-round. To ensure you are giving yourself the best odds of getting a coveted speaking spot, submit your topic as soon as you possibly can. This may mean keeping track of when a conference ends to roughly predict when it will take place the following year.

Most conferences have booked their speakers around 45-60 days before the conference will take place. This means submissions are usually open 1-3 months prior to the first speakers being booked. The timelines vary depending on the size of the conference. A good rule for spotting the opening of the submissions form as soon as possible is to begin checking the conference’s website 6 months before the event.

Study What Was Accepted

Not every topic you submit will be accepted. You may even have more rejections than wins early on. When you are rejected, or the conference speaking spots fill up and you’re too late to submit, study the topics that have been submitted.

  • Study the speaking engagement titles – including any action language
  • Study the descriptions of the speaking engagements – look for promised takeaways

Every conference has a different market they are actively recruiting as participants. This means each conference has a unique flavor for the content they want presented. Understanding what was successful this year, and tailoring your topic to reflect what worked, can help you get a foot in the door next year.

Make Conference Friends

Get to know the staff at conferences you attend. If you are sponsoring a bag, or a booth, take the time to talk to the people who are helping you. Chat up the people who work at registration, or even volunteer if you have capacity. This is a great way to show the conference staff you are committed as well as getting them familiar with your name and face.

Persistence is key, like with anything worth doing. Know that you won’t land every speaking engagement you submit for, but once you get that first one, you’ll have the confidence to know you can land the next one.