Grow Your Business By Speaking at Top Tech Conferences

how to get speaking engagements

Increase your qualified leads, new customers, partner relationships and revenue by speaking at industry trade shows and conferences.

According to CEIR, the Center for Exhibition Industry Research, 81% of trade show attendees have buying authority.  So, shouldn't all companies go to trade shows to generate as much revenue as possible? There is a way that you can do this without breaking the bank.  Better still, it’s often free.

Speaking At Trade Shows: The Often Forgotten Opportunity

Exhibiting is the first thing that comes to mind when companies think about participating in an industry trade show.  What’s often overlooked, and could actually provide a greater return, is the opportunity to speak at the show.  The educational value of speaker sessions is frequently one of the key factors in determining which shows businesses will send their employees to.  For you, it can be an important and often no cost way to generate new business. 

Here are 3 types of speaking opportunities that you can take advantage of:

1.  It's free. Just pick a topic and let them know you want to speak.

Many shows open the opportunity to speak at their event to anyone who has expertise in the topics they have selected to focus on during their educational sessions.  You probably already know the trade shows that are most important to your business.  Check out their website to see if they have a “call for papers” or "call for speakers" and are accepting speaker submissions called “abstracts.” Depending on the size of the show, the first request for speaker submissions could be released up to 8 or 9 months before the show actually takes place. 

Helpful Tip:  Be sure to get on their email list to be notified of important deadlines and requirements so that you don’t have to remember to regularly visit their site to check on updates. 

The speaker section of the website should include a list of topic categories, chosen by the show, which will be of interest to their attendees.  Select a topic or two on which you’re an expert and prepare your abstract.  This is usually a 1 or 2 paragraph overview of what you will speak about and what the attendees should expect to learn.  The requirements vary from show to show so be sure to know exactly what they’re requesting or your submission may be tossed.  

Your abstract will need to be submitted by the due date posted on the show’s site so be sure to know what it is and add it to your calendar.  The due date is usually anywhere from 4-6 months before the show takes place so the selection committee has time to review the submissions and choose the speakers.

Remember, your session shouldn't be an hour long sales pitch.  You’re there to inform and educate. Providing insights, advice, recommendations and help on your topic of choice will position you as a thought leader and encourage attendees to see you and your company as the ones with whom they should be doing business.  Leave the hard sell at home.

Check the fine print:  Before submitting an abstract for yourself or another member of your team, it’s important to be fairly sure that your proposed speaker will actually be able to attend.  I've seen a lot of abstracts submitted without a firm commitment from the proposed speaker and this could come back to bite you.  Some shows will allow you to substitute the speaker you originally submitted for someone else if they can’t attend.  Other shows won’t allow this and could eliminate your session completely, replacing it with another company and topic if you try to switch speakers.

2.  Pay to play.

Some shows incorporate a speaking session into their exhibitor or sponsorship packages.  Expo sales departments know that companies want to speak at their event and they’ll throw it in to entice you to spend more money on a larger booth or expensive show sponsorship.  If, and only if, you’re considering a show like this anyway and would purchase a booth or sponsorship because it’s important to your business, then this is a good opportunity to get extra exposure for yourself and your company.  Don’t just jump at the opportunity if it’s not a show that you already see value in.

3.  By invitation only.

For more focused technology events, often run by tech companies like Microsoft, for example, the opportunity to speak is usually by invitation only.

Microsoft Inspire, previously known as Microsoft's Worldwide Partner Conference or WPC, is a good example of this. Microsoft Inspire is the place to be each July as resellers, distributors and channel partners from around the world come together to hear Microsoft's vision for the coming year, attend educational sessions, learn from other partners and spark ideas for business growth.

If you’re a VAR, MSP, CSP or IT consultant who resells products or services from Microsoft or other technology vendors and you haven’t been approached about speaking at their event, discuss your participation with your partner account manager or other contact.  You will probably not be given your own session but may be asked if you would like to participate in a panel discussion with other vendors, customers or partners.  It never hurts to ask.

The bottom line

Don’t get me wrong, I’m by no means saying that you should never exhibit at trade shows again and speaking is the only way to go.  Exhibiting at live trade shows and conferences can be a valuable component of a company’s marketing plan and can certainly be enhanced by speaking as well.

For those companies who would like to participate but dismiss trade shows as too expensive, this is an opportunity to get in the game and reap the benefits of additional customers, new partner relationships, and so much more. 

how to speak professionally at tech conferences

2018 Tech Conferences and IT Expos for Channel Partners

Here is a sampling of channel partner events and technology conferences that you may want to consider. 

January 2018
Citrix Summit Partner Conference
January 8-9, 2018
Anaheim Convention Center, Anaheim, California

February 2018
SaaStr Annual 2018
February 6-8, 2018
Hilton Union Square, San Francisco, California

March 2018
XChange Solution Provider 2018
March 4-6, 2018
Loews Sapphire Falls Resort, Orlando, Florida

MSPWorld Conference
March 4-6, 2018
New Orleans Marriott, New Orleans, Louisiana

March 5-9, 2018
Venetian, Palazzo, Sands Expo Center, Las Vegas, Nevada

CloudFest (WorldHostingDay)
March 10-16, 2018
Europa-Park, Rust, Germany

Data Center World Global
March 12-15, 2018
Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center, San Antonio, Texas

IBM PartnerWorld at Think 2018
March 19-22, 2018
MGM Grand, Las Vegas, Nevada

April 2018
RSA Conference
April 16-20, 2018
Moscone Center, San Francisco, California

Channel Partners Conference and Expo
April 17-20, 2018
The Venetian and Sands Expo, Las Vegas, Nevada

Oracle NetSuite SuiteWorld
April 23-26, 2018
Sands Expo & Convention Center, Las Vegas, Nevada

Ingram Micro Cloud Summit
April 30-May 2, 2018
Boca Raton Resort & Club, Boca Raton, Florida

Dell EMC World
April 30-May 3, 2018
The Venetian, Las Vegas, Nevada

May 2018
Lenovo Accelerate Partner Conference
May 7-9, 2018
Wynn, Las Vegas, Nevada

Kaseya Connect User and Partner Conference
May 7-10, 2018
Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino, Las Vegas, Nevada

May 14-16, 2018
McCormick Place, Chicago, Illinois

June 2018
SAP Sapphire NOW Conference
June 5-7, 2018
Orange County Convention Center, Orlando, Florida

Cisco Live
June 10-14, 2018
Orange County Convention Center, Orlando, Florida

ConnectWise Automation Nation Partner Conference
June 18-20, 2018
Hilton Bonnet Creek, Orlando, Florida

HP Enterprise Discover Conference
June 18-21, 2018
Las Vegas, Nevada

July 2018
Microsoft Inspire (formerly known as Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference / WWPC)
July 15-19, 2018
Las Vegas, Nevada

Google Cloud Next Conference
July 24-27, 2018
Moscone Center, San Francisco, California

ChannelCon: CompTIA Channel Partner Conference
July 31-August 2, 2018
Marriott Wardman Park, Washington, DC

August 2018
VMware VMworld
August 26-30, 2018
Las Vegas, Nevada

September 2018
Continuum Navigate
September 24-27, 2018
Boston, Massachusetts

Salesforce Dreamforce
September 25-28, 2018
Moscone Center, San Francisco, California

October 2018
Channel Partners Evolution
October 9-12, 2018
Pennsylvania Convention Center, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Ingram Micro ONE Fall
October 28-31, 2018
Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center, National Harbor, Maryland

Oracle OpenWorld
October 28-November 1, 2018
Moscone Center, San Francisco, California

November 2018
ConnectWise IT Nation Partner Summit
November 7-9, 2018
Hyatt Regency, Orlando, Florida

CA Technologies: CA World
November 12-16, 2018
Miami Beach Convention Center, Miami, Florida

Cisco Partner Summit
November 13-15, 2018
Las Vegas, Nevada

Amazon AWS re:Invent
November 26-30, 2018
Las Vegas, Nevada

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