Getting speaking gigs can be a mysterious and frustrating process, particularly if you don't have much experience. You know the drill: Send pithy email offering yourself up (or copiously fill out online proposal form). Hit Send. Wait.
To find out what happens during "wait," I interviewed a few content directors and program advisers, as well as some Web-seminar and teleseminar producers responsible for booking speakers.
Here is what they said, along with some sage advice on how to increase your chances of getting that breakout gig.
Long lead times for live conferences and events are the rule rather than the exception. Planning typically begins at least six months ahead of time but, depending on the size of the event or industry, can begin up to a year in advance.
Heather Lloyd-Martin, owner of SuccessWorks Search Marketing and program adviser for PubCon, SEMpdx, and major Direct Marketing Association conferences, explains: "There's a lot that goes on behind the scenes.... [W]hen we're considering a speaker, there might be additional planning and logistics, and several layers of approval needed before we can confirm the slot."
Lloyd-Martin says they approach A-list speakers first and then contact others who they think might be a fit. But, Unknowns, take heart. Lloyd-Martin says if she thinks you will do a good job and provide a fresh voice and perspective, she will bring you on.
Web seminars and teleseminars have shorter lead times (one to four weeks for teleseminars, three to four months for Web seminars) but can be even tougher to get in on because presenting virtually is much harder than speaking in person, says Marty Fahncke, a professional speaker and president of Conference Call University.