Speaker Proposal Guidelines
Thanks for your interest in speaking. This page provides background on how to make a speaking pitch to Danny Sullivan, the chair of the SES San Jose 2005 event. He's responsible for creating the program and selecting speakers for that show. TO PITCH SPEAKING FOR OTHER SHOWS, SEE GUIDELINES POSTED ON THE WEB SITES OF THOSE OTHER SHOWS.
Timeline & Deadlines
- June 27, 2005: Speaking openings will be posted on this page. Please DO NOT pitch to speak on ANY session before actual speaking openings are posted. Between the time from when the agenda is posted and speaking openings are posted, short-list candidates for some sessions and returning regular speakers will be contacted to confirm spots. Contacting about speaking before this date WILL NOT get you short-listed for a spot, so please do not do so.
- July 22, 2005: IF time allows, messages will be sent to those who asked to speak but who weren't selected, in case there are any remaining openings they may wish to consider. But if you haven't heard back by July 22, 2005, assume you were NOT selected. We do try to contact everyone, but given the volume of requests, this isn't always possible.
Pitching To Speak
If you are interested in a session, first see if there is an opening for it on this this page. Do not pitch to speak on sessions unless they are listed on that page. Even if the agenda is up and it looks like there are no speakers selected, that's not the case. Instead, a number of speakers will be returning and short-list candidates will also have already been invited. As these confirmations come in, speakers will be posted to the agenda. The only actual openings will be listed on this page. Pitch for those only, please.
Send a separate email for each session you'd like to be on. IN OTHER WORDS, IF YOU WANT TO SPEAK ON TWO DIFFERENT SESSIONS, SEND A SEPARATE EMAIL FOR EACH SESSION. Also, please don't pitch more than four session ideas in total and prioritize the sessions somehow in the emails ("This would be my top choice;" "This would be my second choice," and so on).
The email should contain 2 or 7 paragraphs or so about what you would cover. A long essay isn't required, just a succinct flavor of some specific things you might cover. We're especially interested in real-life, case study stories that you can tell or tips you can backup from actual experiences.
Also give a little background about yourself, your company and the type of clients you have or serve. A ton of information or anything super formal is NOT required. Also, please don't send attachments. Put everything in the email message itself. Send them to email@example.com.
Speaking spots are typically 7-15 minutes each on panels of 2-3 people. It VERY UNLIKELY that you'll get a 1/2 hour or hour spot, so don't build a speaking pitch around this.
If accepted, you'll receive a pass to the SES event. Travel and accommodation are not covered.
Below is information given to Search Engine Strategies speakers, which should help you understand more about speaking at our show:
Sales Pitches: Audience members react badly if they think they are being sold something. If you are too "salesy," they definitely let us know in the feedback, and that can impact whether you'll be invited to speak at a future event. Said one attendee:
"The conference has been outstanding except where a panelist is interested only in selling their products instead of teaching us. I paid to come. I shouldn't have to pay for a sales presentation."
Obviously, we do want your company to get some promotional value out of your participation, but to avoid sounding too sales-oriented, keep any PR-style points to one slide and run through those briefly.
The funniest way I've seen this handled was when a speaker told the audience that his PR department gave him a list of things to say about his service. He put these on one slide, then said "but here's what you really want to know" and went on with the core of his presentation. The audience laughed and didn't mind the mini-commercial. I've also seen the audience break into applause when some says they'll simply skip the sales pitch.
In particular, if you must do PR points, then use a SINGLE slide to set-up why you are qualified to speak, such as outlining the types of clients you work with, the sort of audience you received and so on.
In some circumstances, you may be asked to speak on a topic that involves your own products. To avoid problems, if you must mention your own products, focus on a "real life" example of how it may have been used by someone, rather than a more sales-oriented explanation of features. Also keep pricing information to a minimum. You might include such information on a slide but only mention it briefly, telling the audience that the additional information is there for their future reference.
Dress Code: Wearing casual business attire is recommended. Formal business attire is perfectly fine. If in doubt, overdress. You won't feel out of place, as many speakers will also be in formal attire. How you look has an impact on how well the audience receives your presentation.
Planted Questions: Don't get someone in the audience to ask you a particular question. If you want to ensure a particular topic is raised, talk with the moderator. They can then note that you and/or the other panelists wanted to comment on that topic. If it is discovered that a speaker has planted a question, it will greatly decrease the chance of returning to speak at the conference.
Being Positive & Negative: Many of our sessions involve helping attendees understand which products and services might be helpful to them. If you liked a particular product or service, great! Feel free to let the attendees know. However, if you have a financial connection with that product, it should be disclosed to the audience, if this isn't immediately obvious (such as when speaking about your own product).
If you dislike a particular product, service or company, you're welcome to say that, as well. However, use good judgment on when to be critical. If you are asked about a particular product, and you've used the product or know the opinions of many people, then it is fair to be critical of it. However, if you've never used that product, then be honest with the attendees and say you are uncertain. Instead, share with them your opinion of that particular class of product.
Be Forthcoming: You've agreed to speak and share your experiences with the audience. Don't hold back on the sharing. They'll respect the wisdom you impart, and your reputation will rise for having done this. Hold back, and they'll reactive negatively, as one attendee said:
"Some presenters seem really reluctant to give information. I understand people trying to protect their work, but then they shouldn't agree to present if they don't want to give details."
Show, Don't Tell: The more "real life" examples you have in your presentation, the more the audience will love you. That's always a big thing they want more of. Rather than telling them what to do, try to show them more. For example, you might tell an audience that cost-per-click advertising is effective. However, what they will remember more is if you show them this by explaining how two or three different companies ran a particular campaign and received a particular return on investment.
Fight, fight, fight against the bullet point summary of tips! Focus on screenshots and stories. SHOW things, illustrate them, don't just tell. It will make a world of difference.
Provide Solutions: The audience is looking for actionable tips, as much as you can provide them. Please try to guide them with specific actions as much as possible, to avoid them feeling like this attendee:
"Many of the sessions did not offer viable solutions. Serious issues were simply addressed as 'good' or 'bad' and subjectively many people were told that they were 'screwed' as far as search engine success."
Facts Vs Opinion: Search engine marketing is not an exact science. It's common for there to be a variety of opinions about what works and how things work. Because of this, please remember to say things such as "in my opinion" or "based on my experience" when stating as fact things that might be disputed by others or where you are not 100 percent certain is absolutely the case, in all occasions.
Your opinions and experiences are valuable. That's why you are being asked to speak and share them with the attendees. However, helping the attendees understand that others may have their own opinions and experiences will ease the confusion they sometimes experience, when hearing conflicting views. They better realize that they ultimately need to weight up the various opinions they've heard and make their own decisions.
Other Speaking Events
We prefer that speakers at Search Engine Strategies not speak at another event with a search engine marketing emphasis within two weeks before or after the SES show.
We understand that good speakers will be in demand by other events, and we don't wish to limit your own opportunities for exposure. However, we also want to ensure that speakers at SES are not tired from committing to multiple events in a short time frame. We also want to protect the show itself, and all the work that goes into it, from other events that may wish to ride upon its coattails.
Should you find yourself in a situation where you are, or would like, to speak at another event within the timeframe outlined above, please contact Jupitermedia for further guidance.
For more information regarding exhibit space or sponsorship opportunities contact our Sales Department by completing this form or call Frank Fazio at 203–295–0052.
For registration help or information, please email our Registration Department at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 203–295–0050.