When you have the opportunity to talk about your perspective and ideas, you can really bring them to life. However, this is not an easy thing to do. You not only need to have a stellar idea for a talk. You also need to know how to represent it well in your proposal, so it truly shines.
Ultimately, you want whoever reads your proposal to be just as excited about your ideas as you are.
Here are some tips to help you submit a talk that truly stands out.
Whatever you are proposing in your talk, you need to genuinely believe in it and be passionate about it. The contents of your talk need to be authentic to you. Do you have an amazing new way of approaching an old problem? Do you have a valuable new take on a pressing issue in your field?
Make sure that you express it in a way that gets people excited.
Research Is Key
While opinions and perspectives definitely have value, quantifiable facts are also important and can lend credibility to any talk. Include the research that backs up your talk in your proposal.
These can be case studies or practical examples. Research can help you contextualize your advice and illuminate your points.
A Closer Look
For example, it is one thing to make the statement: “Strong narratives engage people.” While this is generally correct, having research to support your points anchors them in reality. This is quite powerful.
Try this on for size instead: “According to Prezi’s 2018 State of Attention Report conducted by Kelton Global, 90% of people believe that a strong narrative is critical to creating an engaging presentation.”
Balance your narrative with well-thought-out research. Quantifiable data can be a powerful ally.
Let’s take a look at what keeps people engaged, by the numbers:
Less Is More
Take the length of your talk into consideration and limit the scope of your talk accordingly. Whether you have 20 minutes or an hour at your disposal, you will still be limited in how much time you have.
This means that it would likely be impossible to cover everything about any given topic in a single talk. Instead, focus on one aspect of a subject. Once you narrow your focus, apply your perspective and expertise to it.
Avoid Sales Pitches
Of course, your personal brand or story plays a part in everything you do. However, when submitting a talk on a relevant subject to an event, it should not be the focus of your talk or submission. You want to focus on the knowledge you have to share, instead.
Lawyer, speaker, and author Ruth Carter of Carter Law Firm has this insight to offer:
Focus on how you can help the audience (not on what you can sell them), be candid, provide tangible benefits, and be yourself.
Ultimately, the goal of your talk should be to help the audience overcome a challenge of some kind. Identify the challenge, show you understand it, and then explain how you can help them tackle it.
Get Into The Details
One of the key reasons why narrowing the scope of your talk is important, is that you want to use your time wisely. You cannot cover all of the ins and outs of a vast topic in a limited timeframe. What you do want to do, however, is include as much relevant information as you can about your chosen topic.
Include as many details as you can about the lesson that you will share. After all, you want to give a valuable talk and share as much as you can with listeners. Don’t be afraid to get deep into the details in order to teach useful lessons and solve important problems.
The last thing you want to be is generic. People who attend your talk should leave feeling inspired to tackle whatever you’ve discussed with confidence. They should walk away with genuine valuable takeaways based on specific lessons.
Important Tips For Submitting Your Talk
You might have an amazing perspective and great insights to offer. However, if you do not represent them correctly when you submit your talk, people will likely miss out on understanding what you have to offer. Here are some surefire ways to make your proposal a head-turner.
Your title needs to accurately represent the contents of your talk. It also needs to be snappy. Create several titles and then take a step back. If you were a stranger who knew nothing about your work, which would interest you most?
One tactic is to make your title benefit-oriented. Make it clear what your talk has to offer. People are more likely to be interested in a session that they feel will genuinely help them improve.
You want to keep this short, sweet, and to the point. One common mistake people make when submitting talks is trying to do far too much. You do not need to submit a novel-length description. A few sentences explaining what is valuable about your session will work perfectly.
Another common mistake is misplacing the focus of the submission. While your qualifications and experience do matter, unless they are the subject of the talk, or directly relevant to it, they should not take center stage.
How Will Your Session Benefit Attendees?
Your description, like your title, needs to be benefit-oriented. You want to explain the lessons you will teach, why they matter, and how they will help people. Whoever attends your talk should walk away with something gained in the realm of:
- A new perspective
- A new understanding
- A question answered
- Knowledge of how to do something better
How will your session genuinely improve the lives of attendees? What will they gain from it? What invaluable lessons will they learn? Be sure to make this very clear when you submit your talk.
Ultimately, submitting a talk successfully is all about making exactly what you offer and why it is valuable crystal clear. When you have put so much work into creating something, narrowing it down can seem difficult, but it is a critical step to take.
Think about a recent talk you have watched or attended in person. How would you summarize it if you were submitting it yourself?
If you can communicate what amazing things your session has to offer concisely, your submission will definitely stand out.
Once you start landing those speaking gigs, take a look at our Digital Branding Checklist for Public Speakers. This resource can help you create a strong public speaking presence that builds your following.
What do you think is most important when it comes to submitting a talk successfully? Comment below…