Question time: Getting booked to speak at conferences

A question (and often frustration) I hear pretty regularly is how to get booked at conferences as a speaker.

There are a few answers to this.

There are also a few ways of looking at the question that may be helpful. Here are two of them.

First, let’s draw a parallel to a screenwriter, actor or singer asking ‘how do I get an agent?’. This is usually the wrong question. 

A better question is ‘how do I become the person an agent is seeking out?’.

What if we flip our conference question from ‘how do I get booked at a conference?‘ to ‘how do I become the person a conference booker is seeking out?’

Almost straight away we get into human behaviour where we may want to start applying concepts like Design Thinking and the Jobs to be Done.

And the answer? Steve Martin probably said it best: ‘be so good they can’t ignore you’. 

Simple. Certainly not easy. But worth it.

Second, here’s another way of thinking about this new, inverted question.

What if instead of being the type of person sought out by a conference booker, you were instead sought out by a teacher? 

More specifically, a teacher who wants to show their students an example of a challenging and interesting topic being brought to life in the real world by someone real and relatable.

A teacher who wants their students to feel engaged, perplexed, inspired, compelled to ask a question, or think ‘maybe I could…’.

Where students could build on top of those ideas and create something new. Where they tell their friends, and the teacher tells theirs’?

How can you be the person these teachers, and eventually these students, seek out?

What does that do for the work you want to create, and the change you seek to make?

And what does it do for you?

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