Propose, Prepare, Present

Book description

Every year, tens of thousands of companies—from industry giants to aspiring upstarts—apply to speak at conferences. They pump millions of dollars into these events, hoping to find new customers, strengthen their brand, and meet new partners. Sadly, for most of them, things don’t go that way. Submitted topics aren’t chosen; when they are, they come across as tone-deaf sales pitches.

What does it take to be chosen to speak—and to rock the mic when given the chance? This book takes you behind-the-scenes of the conference process, showing you how to submit, plan, and deliver a talk that matters. Event organizer Alistair Croll provides many examples based on his experience with a wide range of conferences, including O’Reilly’s Strata, Velocity, Web2Expo, and TOC Conferences.

  • Learn 11 items that help your submission stand out—and 11 items that will get it tossed
  • Explore the hurdles your proposal has to clear before it’s accepted
  • Tailor your talk to a conference’s topics and themes
  • Discover why images work better than words in your slide deck
  • Achieve your business goals by engaging the audience before, during, and after your talk

"We’ve been running successful events worldwide for over a decade, and the simple truth is that the people who get chosen, and give great presentations, follow the rules in this book."

--Gina Blaber, VP Conferences, O’Reilly Media

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Table of contents

  1. Foreword
    1. TL;DR: Twenty Things to Remember
      1. Ten Things to Include
      2. Ten Things to Avoid
  2. Preface
    1. Introduction
    2. Apologies in Advance
    3. Whom This Is For
  3. 1. The Conference Industry
    1. Two Key Dimensions that Define a Conference
    2. The Life Cycle of an Event
      1. Stage One: What Is It?
      2. Stage Two: Why Should I Care?
      3. Stage Three: How Does It Work?
      4. Stage Four: Risks, Obstacles, and Legality
      5. Stage Five: What Can’t I Use It For?
      6. Beyond: What’s New?
  4. 2. From Idea to Stage: A Conference Timeline
    1. Topic Selection
    2. Venue Selection
    3. Advisory Group
    4. Call for Presentations/Papers/Proposals (CFP)
    5. CFP Review
      1. What Are the Odds of Acceptance?
    6. Narratives and Tracks
    7. Fitting Sessions to Tracks
    8. Inviting Presenters
    9. Finalizing Titles and Descriptions
    10. Reviewing Presentations
    11. The Event Itself
    12. Follow-Up, Sharing, and Feedback
  5. 3. What Organizers Are Looking For
    1. Things that Will Get You Chosen
      1. Inside Recommendation
      2. Sample Videos and Reviews
      3. A Speaker Who’s a Minority
      4. A Clear Explanation of Who Should Attend and What They’ll Get Out of It
      5. Alignment with the Narrative the Organizer Is Trying to Create
      6. Indications that You’ll Be Entertaining as Well as Informative
      7. An Understanding of Macroscopic Trends without a Macroscopic Presentation
      8. End Users
      9. Willingness to Adjust the Format and Topic
      10. Making It About Something Else
      11. Opening the Kimono
    2. Ten Things that Will Get You Rejected
      1. Vendor Salesmanship
      2. Copy and Paste with Bad Characters
      3. Not Including the Speaker’s Coordinates
      4. Jargon
      5. Sounding Like SkyMall
      6. Trying to Change at the Last Minute
      7. Expecting to Be Paid, or Have Travel Paid For
      8. Proposing a Subject Too Narrow to Capture an Audience’s Attention
      9. Bad Spelling, Formatting, and Punctuation
      10. Submitting a Book
      11. A Bad Past Experience (Not Showing Up, Reneging on a Submission)
  6. 4. Some Thoughts on Superb Presentations
    1. What It Takes to Stand Out
      1. What Speaking Consultants Do
      2. Avoiding the Almost-Awesome
    2. Too Many Words
    3. Finding Your Inner Diamonds
    4. Logistics and Polish
  7. 5. But How Do I Make Money?
    1. Engaging Before, During, and After
  8. A. Further Reading
  9. About the Author
  10. Copyright

Product information

  • Title: Propose, Prepare, Present
  • Author(s): Alistair Croll
  • Release date: June 2013
  • Publisher(s): O'Reilly Media, Inc.
  • ISBN: 9781449366377