Advice for Submitting a Speaking Proposal

writing letter 2Dear Innovation Women,

Recently my friend and I submitted a topic to a local group. It was rejected and now we’re awaiting feedback on why. What makes a good speech proposal? How can you shape an idea to best fit the audience? Any suggestions? Sandra

Dear Sandra,

Thanks for writing!

There are lots of speaking opportunities that speakers need to apply for. (Our weekly speaker newsletter lists more than 100 every week!) There are formal calls for speakers as well as the proposals we do to conference and event managers when we have speakers to speak at their events.

Here are some suggestions on creating great speaking proposals.

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Getting Started in Public Speaking: 7 Questions to Ask Yourself

empty stage

This week, we worked with BrightTALK to produce a webinar for their Women in Tech channel. We called it Public Speaking: The Career Game-changer. (Check it out if you want to learn more about how speaking opportunities can help your career.)

During the webinar, we received quite a few questions on how to get started in public speaking. Since we are frequently asked to guide novice speakers – both younger people and more mature people who haven’t previously gotten on the speaking circuit – we decided it was time to revisit “How to get started in public speaking”. We’re going to kick off a Getting Started series with seven questions to ask yourself on your way to public speaking success.

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Dear Event Sponsor

While many conference managers are well aware of the issues with #allmalepanels, there is still one type of speaking engagement that remains stubbornly immune to diversity: the sponsored event. Many conferences and events are funded by selling speaking slots and the speakers tend to cluster around the male and pale category.  And event managers tend to feel like they cannot ask a sponsor to consider sending a different speaker.

With this in mind, we’ve assembled a helpful little note that you can share with your sponsors.

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The Event Manager’s Guide to Creative Alternatives for Panels

(Or, No More Boring Panels, Please!)


We’re awash in a sea of events.  There are more than half-a-million Meetups listed on every month. Eventbrite offered tickets to more than 2 million events last year. In 2015, there were 47 million public event listings created on Facebook.  There are more than 92,000 professional organizations in the US, many holding monthly events.

Many of these events are speaker or panel-driven. In many conferences, a group of experts sits onstage and discusses a given topic for an hour (or more), answers a few questions from the audience and is replaced by another panel, on another topic, who repeat the process.

The panel is the beloved refuge of event managers and speakers alike.  Choose a group of industry experts and throw them onstage with a moderator and you are good to go. Rarely is there more than minimal preparation – a pre-panel conference call where the panelists agree on a format and toss around a few questions is often the extent of it.

Meanwhile, panels can also be a way to hear many voices and perspectives in an efficient manner. They offer more speakers a way to get onstage, get experience speaking and tell their story, making valuable connections with other influencers and experts, both onstage and in the audience. Panels also offer a way to hear ideas discussed.

What can you do to liven up your event? We’ve gathered up ideas for you, separated them into categories and created this guide with many options and alternatives to panels. It’s designed to offer inspiration for event managers, event coordinators, moderators and panelists who are tired of the same old format.

This guide includes:

  • Basic panel formats
  • Moderator options
  • Options for questions and comments
  • Ways to break up a panel
  • Panel housekeeping tips
  • Notes on panel size
  • Creative options for panelists
  • Different panel options
  • Panel alternatives
  • Individual presenters
  • Options for two or more presenters

Continue reading The Event Manager’s Guide to Creative Alternatives for Panels

Do You Want or Have Kids?


I’ve been watching the AMC series Halt and Catch Fire, and in Season 2: Episode 2, “New  Coke”, the two female tech founders are pitching a VC who asks if they have children or are going to have children.

“What about kids?” he asks. “Do you have or want kids?”

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The Someone From Syndrome

In the conference and event world sometimes event managers are the victim of the “Someone From” Syndrome. It can be hard to inoculate a hardworking conference committee against this dreaded disease but the smartest event managers know its dangers and are eternally vigilant.

If you haven’t heard of the Someone From Syndrome, allow us to tell you about it. You might recognize it from the symptoms.

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