While moderating a panel between Dana Oshir0 and Kym McNicholas at the recent SF PR Summit, a question came up on twitter afterward on how people can get their CEOs accepted as speakers at more events. Now, I did already write a post on how to get more speaking gigs, so start there. But here are some specifics on how to sweeten that proposal:
1) Sponsor the Event
Yep, going to put that out there. While my events do not have a “pay to play” aspect, many do. And I DO have paid workshops, and look more closely at those companies that sponsor and then ask to speak. You still need a strong speaker and relevant topic, but this a good way to show you are happy to be a supporter right from the start.
2) Propose A Panel or Dialogue
If you write me and say “I can get Kara Swisher to interview my CEO,” I am more likely to look very seriously at your proposal. I know a great interviewer will make a good session, and you just took care of a lot of my work for me. Similarly, saying “I’ll get Pandora, Spotify, SoundCloud, and my CEO for a panel on music scalability” is almost a definite yes, if the other names are strong and relevant. More speakers generally means more attendees, and you just demonstrated that you are well connected and willing to help.
3) Do NOT propose yourself. Get a mutual colleague to propose it.
If you can’t find even one respected colleague that we both have in common to support you, how can you expect me to? You should be able to look on LinkedIn, see how we are connected, and get a friend or coworker to send a proposal for you.
4) Keep It Short
I said this in the last post, but I say it again. Sending an essay on your speaker and another essay on the topic is a guaranteed “DELETE” – I dont have time to read it. Give me an interesting topic title in <7 words with one quick blurb.
5) Support The Event
I may say “No” this time, but I do an event every few months. Rather than just ignore me after that “No”, help me. Buy a ticket to the events and tweet about it, invite press and your colleagues. Help me get introductions to the speakers I am trying to get, or secure a sponsor. For the next event, I’ll realize that you are pretty cool, and you’re next proposal will get a lot more attention.