Next week we’ll be opening up the speaker submissions for TBEX 2013 in Toronto. We get tons of speakers submissions and even more emails about wanting to be a speaker at one of our events. Unfortunately, far too many of these ideas and submissions are the wrong fit for our audience. Sometimes we have been able to take the germ of an idea, have further discussion, and turn it into a great submission. Other times we can’t.
We want to introduce new speakers and new topics to our TBEX attendees. To help you with the submission process, to let you know what we expect of our speakers, and to give you information on what we’re looking for, we’ve prepared this list tips and information. Fair warning, it’s a lengthy list. That’s because we take our obligation to provide a quality program seriously. If you’re serious about being a speaker at TBEX, reading, understanding and following these guidelines will serve you well.
Here’s the best advice I can give you on how to be selected as a speaker for TBEX Toronto.
The call for speakers for TBEX Toronto is now open. Here’s the submission form to use, after you read the rest of this post!
Choose Your Topic Carefully
Make your topic narrow. All too often we see topics so broad that the information about it could fill several shelves at the library. Attendees universally complain about sessions with too broad of a focus. Instead, zero in on one or two aspects of the topic and see if that makes for a more manageable focus. Sessions are slotted for one hour, which should include about 10-15 minutes for questions and answers, and without a laser-like focus you won’t be able to send attendees home with useful information.
Attendees don’t really care about you, what you’ve done, or how important the topic is to you. They care about what’s in it for them, about what they can take away and use on their own blog or in their own business. Make sure you provide them with a valuable answer to the question “what’s in it for me?” Just because it’s your pet topic doesn’t mean everyone else will care, so make sure you’ve thought about it from the attendee perspective.
If your topic is all about your product, your website, or you, it’s probably not the right topic for a session. Our focus is strongly on education and we have a no selling from the platform policy. If you have a product to sell we’re excited for you, and we’ll gladly quote you a rate for a marketplace table. This applies to bloggers as well as industry representatives.
Are you committed to TBEX or committed only to speaking? Do you believe in what we’re trying to do to provide learning and networking opportunities for travel bloggers or are you looking for a free trip to somewhere fun. We select topics and speakers who can held educate our attendees both in their sessions and through networking over the course of our entire event. Preference is given to speakers who are available and who plan to attend the full event, not just speak and leave.
Co-presentations, with each speaker taking a portion of a topic, are generally better received than solo ones. While you may be a subject matter expert, ask yourself if including co-presenters might give the topic a more well rounded coverage.
Presentations should not always be about presenters agreeing with one another, so don’t be afraid to get differing opinions and viewpoints in a session. It gives the attendees more to relate to and think about.
Most sessions should be targeted toward an intermediate skill level, although a few beginner and advanced sessions will be included. Most of our attendees consider themselves at an intermediate skill level, but we also need to provide content to attract beginners to TBEX and to keep and challenge the advanced bloggers. In submitting your proposal, give us an honest appraisal of the skill level you are aiming at. We are looking for some advanced sessions for Toronto – those geared to bloggers who’ve been at it for awhile, who are established and successful. These sessions should focus on advanced, in depth discussions that can provide a different way of looking at the status quo, that challenge long-held beliefs, and that create the rumblings of a philosophical discussion that can revolutionize travel blogging.
You should be able to provide a brief description of what your session is about. If it takes too long to explain it, chances are that you need to go back and re-think the focus.
Pay attention to writing about the takeaways an attendee will get from your session. This is the most important part of the conference for attendees, so spend some time thinking about what message and information you want to convey. If these aren’t specific, go back to the drawing board. Keep in mind that attendees will be evaluating your session on how you lived up to your promise of the takeaways – your session needs to deliver what you say it will.
But wait, there’s more, so keep reading