Conference season is amongst us. I know this because my poor calendar is bleeding red with all my upcoming gigs, and we’re having meetings every day about what needs to be done here and what needs to be prepped for there.
The other day I was prepping for a panel that I’ll be moderating at the Orlando Women’s Conference (check it out, it’s got amazing women, amazing speakers, amazing expo hall!) and as I put my thoughts to paper, a friend stopped by and asked how she could be considered for a conference panel.
A lightbulb went off in my head (Eureka!). I knew I had to pass along these tasty tidbits, that I revealed to her, so you could find yourself up on stage, dishing your knowledge while attendees gobble it up.
But first, a promise: Raise your right hand and repeat after me, “I, name, will not be tempted to pitch a panel where I “sorta” know about the topic. I will only stick to topics that I am confident in. ” Good job. Don’t worry if you’re not a professional speaker, that’s why a panel is perfect for you. You just need to be able to ROCK the topic.
Now that we’ve got that squared away, let’s get to the do’s and don’ts of the perfect pitch.
Do take your time: Don’t submit a half-ass pitch – the moderator will believe you’ll present a half-ass presentation. Think. It. Out. Proof it, polish it, add a pair of blushing red high heels…then send that hot mama out!
Don’t pitch a book: Start with how the audience would benefit FIRST! Pitch the moderator with a concept: what you’re qualified to speak on, the angle and an outline of what you plan to discuss and most importantly, what you plan to teach the audience – what they can take away and implement when they are back at home.
Don’t send a sales pitch disguised as a topic: If your pitch slightly smells of selling your product or service and not around giving attendees actionable information they can use without doling out cash to your company, you won’t get picked to speak.
Do have a personality: Incorporate your personality to the pitch – this adds value to the presentation because they know their audience will be more engaged! Think about it, if it comes down to that gal (white toast and milk) and you (pumpernickel and mocha latte) then who do you think they’re going to pick?
Do use case studies: Just like pitching the media, having statistics or studies behind your pitch lends tremendous credibility. Heck, you can create your own case study as long as it matches the conference’s objectives.
Do what others aren’t doing: Research what’s been covered at past conferences and what they haven’t discussed. Look at current hot topics as well and think about what you can talk about that is different. If everyone is talking about the secrets of Facebook and Twitter, then you talk about the secrets of LinkedIn and Instagram.
Do make sure you’re talking to the right people: Reach out to the ones making the decision. It’s just like submitting a resume. A personal connection is better than a blanketed send-out.
Don’t send out an old pitch: Even if you’ve received rave reviews from a presentation you’ve done in the past, don’t send that same pitch! Tailor it first. Conferences aren’t as interested in how well it was received at another show, they want originals and how well it is going to be received at theirs – refer back to #1.
Do include 3-5 takeaways in the pitch: Remember, this isn’t about you – it’s about the conference’s attendees. The attendees most likely already know the “what” they need to do and “why” they need to do it, and they are coming to the conference to learn “how” to do it or do it better.
Do respect the process: Most conferences have an online form with specifics of what they want to include. Follow every instruction to a “t” in the submission process. The easier you make it on them, the more likely they will take a closer look at what you have to offer.
Remember, being on a panel or break-out session is NOT about you – it’s purely WIIFT (what’s in it for them!). If your pitch makes it easy on them AND has their attendees walking away with tremendous value – then it’s a win-win!
If you’re stumped with developing the perfect pitch, the The Work Creative Group is on the other side of your screen ready to help! We work with business owners and corporations who need kick-ass support and results before, during and after a conference. “Lame” is not a part of our vocabulary. If you need witty commentary and charm, we’re the smooth operators who will have that pitch packaged for a drool-fest in no time.
Coach Jenn Lee is a small biz strategist, marketing consultant and rockin’ high energy motivational speaker, and the founder of The Work Creative. Obsessed with small business owners and corporations who “get it” Jenn leverages her 25 years corporate sales and marketing experience to speak to small business owners, sales teams and companies across the nation. Her spot-on advice has made her a regular contributor on Orlando’s FOX News, and FOX Business Network, and is often featured in entrepreneurial podcasts and quoted in national magazines . Follow along at @coachjennlee