Business of Software has gained a great reputation over the years as being one of the best software conferences in the world. As a result, we receive tens of approaches a week to speak at the event, despite only having 15 slots to fill over 3 days. Most of the speakers at BoS are previous and/or regular attendees. Many people who attend the conference would be keynoting at another event but we are lucky to be able to convene so many great people together under one roof to discuss the things that really matter in their businesses.
In the hope this helps your application to speak at any event, we’ve put together a list of things we look out for in potential BoS speakers. Related to this, we’ve also wrote up the 15 traits of the most brilliant conference speakers too.
Here are our secrets to applying to speak at BoS (and conferences like BoS)…
Understand our Audience
The paying audience deserve someone who has taken the time to understand them, their challenges and tailored the talk to suit them. That’s why we favour past attendees, or people who can really demonstrate they have taken the time to understand the unique tribe of BoS.
‘Drive-by’, generic applications don’t capture our attention. We see so many of them. Make us and our audience feel special by showing you have taken the time to really think about why BoS Conference is the one for you and let us know why that is.
Does your talk fit into the event theme and compliment other talks?
Is the content relevant and does it fit within the ‘story’ that we want to tell across the event? Take a look at the other speakers, the themes of the event, and gain an understanding of what the conference is hoping to achieve. Sometimes, we have to turn down great speakers as they won’t fit into the overall theme of the event.
By taking the time to position yourself and your talk as something that compliments, not clashes with the other talks, you stand a better chance of getting on stage.
Where is the video?
Send links to a couple of previous, relevant talks. (Definitely don’t send a dozen links to panels where you introduce yourself at the beginning, send a single link to your best talk). We want to get a sense of your talk, your communication style, your energy – it’s an important part of giving a talk.
We strongly prefer to have seen a speaker speak in person, at least once. When this isn’t possible a video is a good back-up. We would never agree to a speaker that we hadn’t seen speak live or online.
Is the talk ‘right’ for our audience? Entertaining, Covering New Ground, Non-salesy, Clear, Actionable?
Business of Software talks have a certain style. Does your talk and presentation style suit the conference? If so, convince us!
BoS speakers are special as most will hang around for the duration of the event, and socialise with the equally special and interesting audience. Speakers don’t come to BoS with an ego or the idea they are better than the audience, just because they are standing up the front. Instead, we look for speakers who take the chance to speak and interact with those they present to, before and after their talk.
If you intend to drop in, give your talk, and then leave, perhaps our conference is not for you.
Do you speak for yourself?
Are you applying to speak yourself, or are you paying people to place you as a speaker? Marketing teams and agencies exist to maximise the exposure that key executives or CEOs get. They are usually highly speculative and rarely worth the effort. We have got to a point where we simply have to ignore them.
If you want to speak, apply yourself. Don’t try to get other people to represent you – badly.
How can the speaker help us sell tickets, raise awareness and otherwise add value? What else can they do to help spread the word? How can we help each other?
The speakers are a big drawer for any event – we want people who are delighted to be speaking, and will help us make the event a big success. Are you prepared to help do that?
Remember… we have to pick a very small number of speakers across multiple topics to produce a single track event that is interesting for everyone. That means that every year, we have to turn some brilliant speakers away simple for reasons of space. It does not mean we wouldn’t want to have them back next year.
If you think you fit the bill, and you’re up for the challenge, you can apply to speak at Business of Software by clicking the button below.
Next AMA: Alex Osterwalder, Author, Business Model Generation, 24th Jan 17.00 GMT.
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