Writing a Speaker Proposal That Gets Noticed
Oh yes, the speaker proposal…. You ask yourself, “Where do I start?”, “How do I create a proposal that will get noticed out of hundreds of proposals?” Lost in confusion and frustration, you toss together a simple, plain ol’ proposal in hopes it will catch the eye of the hiring party. No, no, no we don’t want you to do that and that’s why I wrote this article to help you customize and create an eye-catching proposal.
First of all I would like to say: Be prepared to spend some TIME on your speaker proposal…if you want to get hired, get your foot in the door…this is what it takes…time, creativity and YOU.
I want to help you create and put together the most compelling and eye-catching proposal that the planner has ever seen come across their desk! I want all of you to feel the excitement and thrill of hearing time after time, “Your proposal was accepted”!
Remember, it all starts with submitting your speaker proposal…so let’s do it right!
So, if you’re ready let’s look at what is typically in a speaker proposal:
1. Personal Information
2. Title of presentation (make a spark here!) Use titles that stand out and are unique
3. Length of presentation
4. Summary of presentation
5. Co-Presenters (if any)
7. Outline your presentation
8. Learning objectives of presentation/benefits audience will receive/end results
9. Bio of Presenter (short and sweet)
11. Video, Audio and Supporting Documents
Below you will find a few proposal tips:
You want to customize your proposal with your own uniqueness…be you…be creative…let the true you shine through in your proposal, don’t try to be something your not…don’t try to duplicate or copy. I am always telling my clients that it is so important to discover yourself, your uniqueness…brand yourself!
For the most part your proposal will stay the same for each submission, but of course you will have to slightly modify it to tie your proposal into the topic of the conference and the needs of the audience.
When you have to modify – Mention the group to whom you will be speaking and their particular needs in your proposal, really study your audience, put yourself in their shoes as if you were listening to the speaker, what would you want to hear, what would you hope to learn and what would you hope to receive from being a part of the audience and conference/meeting…then give it to them…give them exactly what they are eager to learn…they are looking to you as the expert, for motivation and knowledge…and by delivering to their exact needs, you will find many more doors of opportunity begin to open for you.
If possible study the previous year’s program and read the organization’s publications to determine what the hot/current topics are.
Try and use references that the hiring party of that particular industry will be familiar with. Almost all associations will ask for at least three or more references. If you can use recognizable names then they will be more impressed with your credibility.
Most important tip: Please don’t throw together your proposal by simply sending a bio or educational background information because more times then not these types of proposals end up in a pile, on a shelf collecting dust…or in the shredder!
Be very creative in your presentation title and content. Although you want to attend to the needs of your audience you also want to remember that your proposal needs to stand out…so make your title and description tempting, attractive, and eye-catching. If you want to get more engagements so you can become known as an expert in your field don’t submit a half done, ugly, and boring proposal that took you a total of 10 minutes to throw together because your not only wasting your time, you are wasting the time of the meeting planner who has to review hundreds of proposals…take your time in completing your proposal…and don’t forget to add some fun!
Don’t overdo your proposal. You’re going to basically have your proposal created and will modify it for each event, but send only what they ask in the proposal instructions and follow those instructions explicitly. The hiring party is not impressed with a proposal that was not followed per their instructions, so please make sure you follow the submission guidelines. Also they are not impressed by adding extra material they did not request, in fact, adding extra things can work against you. Keep this in mind when building your proposal.
This is my favorite – Persistence Pays! Please don’t be become discouraged if you get turned down or don’t hear back from them! These professional organizations get hundreds and hundreds of proposals for just a few openings, so getting accepted is a matter of repetition and persistence. So keep plugging away, keep your head up and believe me your opportunity will come!
Remember you will get a lot more No’s before you get that Yes and those who can persist and get by the No’s are the ones who make it to the top and excel in their speaking business…don’t let a little no stop you!
Make sure your very clear when writing your proposal, don’t make the planner have to do any “guess work” or research. They really don’t have time for this.
Always remember: Writing the proposal is the hard work that is necessary for that once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to stand out. You can do it!
Your proposal should be brief, easy to read, easy to understand and answer all key questions the meeting planner has.
Here are just a few things the planner/hiring party will look for right away when reviewing your proposal:
1. Does the presentation relate to the theme of the conference
2. Are the goals of the presentation clearly stated
3. Is the content of interest to the intended audience
4. Does the speaker have prior speaking experience
5. Does the proposal relate to the topics identified by the committee?
6. Quality and simplicity of the proposal
7. Has the speaker been a “no-show” as a scheduled speaker
8. Does the presentation promote a product? Speaker’s please note that it should not!
9. Clarity of specific materials, programs and how results were determined
10. Speakers fee requirements
11. Additional requirements
What should I consider when writing my title and description?
The topic title and description are the key ways most participants will make a decision about attending a presentation or the hiring party making a decison. If the title doesn’t stand out, sound exciting, informative or sound like it will solve a problem for them then its not going to get noticed.
A description that explains briefly and specifically what you as a speaker plan to do will be very helpful to the planner and the conference/meeting attendees.
Do not use all CAPS, its very distracting and looks as if your screaming at the planner.
Be unique and creative…catch the eye of the hiring party right away!
One last thing: If you send your proposal snail mail (not email, fax or online submission) then go the extra step and send your proposal in a colored envelope. I know that when I get my mail and I see anything colored I always tend to open it first because it catches my eye. Also, always hand write your return and mailing addresses…no labels, this will be more personal and show you took the time to write it instead of slap on a pre-printed label.