Well, that’s not the place to start. Before you have the decision-maker on the line you need to research the organization to discover when their last convention was, who they hired, what their theme was, and what their most pressing issue is. Finally, how can your speech help solve that problem?
Gather information. Ask questions. Take notes. Based on what they’re looking for, you’ll know if you’re right for this gig or not. If not, back out graciously, tell them you’ll be in touch, and to keep you in mind if something comes up.
Meeting planners want you to be succinct. Let them know you’d like to be considered for the conference, why you’re qualified, and ask them to check out your website. Or get an email address so you can send promo material. Then ask when a decision will be made and when would be a good time to call back.
While organizations have a pent-up need for safe in-person events, there’s no telling how things will play out this bellwether Fall. There’s little employee enthusiasm for returning to travel, according to the latest GBTA study, in which 10% (up from 4%) of travel managers felt that their employees generally were unwilling to travel. That may be perhaps due to employees getting used to virtual events, along with their fear of the 3rd wave. Not to mention the time involved in travelling. Virtual is here to stay.
Lots of organizations would love to have in-person events and yet…think of the liability they face if people get ill. This applies not only to conference organizers but to the venues that rent their space as well as airlines and transit systems. Insurance premiums are astronomical even if all goes well. So don’t be surprised if organizations err on the side of extreme caution. One false move and they’re ruined!
The bright side of all the disruption is that we’ve all learned to be more flexible. And more virtual events (with less expense and less risk for organizers) means that there will be a lot more opportunities for speakers.
So do spend time perfecting your pitch. Just have a solid understanding of what’s going on behind the scenes before you deliver one that’s out of tune with the times.
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