If you’ve given a talk at a conference or event, there’s a good chance you’ll want to do it again. While public speaking can be terrifying and time-consuming, it can also be extremely rewarding. Do it once or twice and you just might catch the bug.
As you look for opportunities to speak, you’ll find every event has their own process for curating speakers, and it can be difficult to know how to get in the door. Some conferences hold open calls for speakers, but even those events handpick their keynotes. Many events curate their speaker lineups through recommendations and their own research, which can make it hard to know how to get your name on their shortlist.
Make it known you want to speak. Tell your network and friends, add “Speaker” to your LinkedIn and social media profiles, and create a speaker page for yourself.
A speaker page can be, at the very least, a tab on your personal website that lists your past speaking engagements. At its best, it can be a way to establish your credibility as a speaker and provide event organizers with the details they’ll need to decide whether they want to reach out to invite you to speak at their event.
What topics can you speak on? Have you spoken before? How did it go? How do I reach you to invite you to speak? Take the guesswork out for event organizers and answer these questions with your speaker page.
If you already have a personal website, that’s a great start. Here are some tips for adding a speaker page.
Make it easy to find
Create a page called “Speaking” and link to it in the navigation of your personal website. It’s a simple piece of advice that may sound obvious, but it’s important for SEO and easy navigation. If speaking is important to you, don’t bury the page. If anyone lands on your website, they should know you’re a speaker.
Introduce yourself as a speaker
Your About Page already gives an introduction to you as a creative and professional. The top of your Speaker Page should introduce you as a speaker. A large photo of you speaking is a great start. You’ll also want to include a short written introduction. Here you can share why you speak, what type of speaking engagements you’ve done, and what topics you can speak on.
Let your talk do the talking for you
Given the chance, every organizer would love to see a potential speaker in action before they invite them to their event. As much as they’d like to see you give a full talk before inviting you, they’ll most likely only watch 30 seconds to a few minutes of video footage (this is why professional speakers often have a speaker reel). Embed a few of your best video recordings for easy viewing. If you don’t have a video of you speaking, start with what you have — a list of your experience, any photos — and make it a point to speak at an event that records its talks soon!
Highlight your experience
To understand your speaking experience, event organizers want to know where you’ve spoken before. You might want to highlight some of the best known events where you’ve spoken. If you have a couple of thematic talks you have given and want to continue to give, you can pull out the titles and descriptions and make them stand out.
As for whether or not to include a full list of your past speaking experience, that’s up to you. You can include a sampling or have a comprehensive list that will help you keep track and show off the breath and full history of your speaking experience. It’s helpful to include details such as:
- Talk title
- Talk type – was it a keynote, panel, lightning talk
- Event name, location, and year
- Links to your slides and video (if you have them)
- Extra credit: highlight other well-known speakers who presented at the same event
If you have upcoming speaking engagements scheduled, keep your page up-to-date with those as well! This can give an organizer an opportunity to see you in person and a heads up on your availability so they don’t reach out to invite you to speak on a day you’re already scheduled.
Let others sing your praises
Testimonials from people who have attended your talk or organizers who have worked with you are a great way to provide extra validation. Nothing says “hire this person” like social proof. How do you find these? Ask. Reach out to the event organizer or a person you know who attended the talk and ask if they’re willing to write a testimonial. If the event had feedback surveys, there may be some gems hidden there. Put an ask out on social media and pay attention to your mentions after your talk. Mina Markham’s thoughtful speaker page pulls tweets related to her talks which is such a fantastic way to do this. And of course, include your social handles in your slides to encourage mentions!
Have requirements to speak? Make them clear.
If you have non-negotiables when it comes to be speaking, be up front with them. This will help you steer clear of events that don’t align with your values and can help set expectations for anyone reaching out. (Although still be prepared to have the conversation, but it’s best to put it out there). Here are some great examples of speaker’s pages that include the requirements upfront:
Have a call to action with a clear way to get in touch
You sold someone on why they should invite you to speak, now make sure they can get in touch with you. Be it an email address or contact form, have a way to reach you directly on the page and make it easy to find. Looking for an example? Take a look at the big red button on Donna Lichaw’s speaker page.
Ultimately, your speaker page should be a reflection of you. Whatever personality you put into the rest of your personal website, keep it consistent on your speaker page. Start with your goal for creating the page (get more speaking engagements, ward off incompatible speaking engagements, or a combination of both) and understand what your audience (event organizers) needs from you. Then you can make informed decisions on how to create a speaker page that feels right for you.
Your speaker page will be a work in progress. Continue to develop it as you grow as a speaker and your goals and experience evolve.