How to Craft a Compelling Speaker Proposal

Desk with computer, notepad and mug

Industry events with an open call for speakers are often inundated with hundreds of speaker submissions, so how do you catch the program organizers’ attention and snag a spot on stage? Once you land on an idea that you’re sure will captivate conference attendees, you can begin writing a standout speaker proposal with just a few key components.

Offer a focused response toward a relevant issue

Your proposed session should center on a topic that’s fresh and aligns with one or two conference tracks – there is usually overlap when it comes to certain topics depending on the specificity of an event.

To ensure that attendees get the most out of your session you’ll want to begin by fleshing out your idea. Here are some building blocks to help you accomplish this:

  • State your idea
  • State the problem that your idea solves
  • Identify the action you want attendees to take after your session
  • Identify 1-3 concepts that you’ll explore as a basis for the problem, idea, and action
  • Highlight your credibility on this subject matter

Directly address pain points with a clear solution

Your session title is the first chance to showcase attendees why your session is worthwhile. Chose an illustrative title that is simple and concise, yet action-focused. Open your abstract with a problem that is experienced by the conference attendees and tie it back to how you’ll deliver on what the session title says.

Your abstract should be between 200-300 words. Begin by posing the question your session will answer and include research data. Example: “A platform is set to revolutionize the way brands interact with consumers as X% of platform users revealed that this platform influences shopping decisions.”

Include relevant credentials in your abstract to show what makes you an expert on the topic at hand. If your session focuses on social commerce and you have over 20 years of brand strategy experience and have previously spoken at industry events, highlight this! Indicate the benefits that attendees will take away from your session. Determine how what you’re speaking about will impact their work. Will they be able to break into a new environment that’s beneficial to them, increase sales, etc.? Be realistic and accurate by ensuring that the abstract matches what you’ll be covering in your session so that you meet attendees’ expectations.

Abstract formula:

  • Open with conference attendees’ paint points/problem:
    Brands aren’t connecting with consumers on a level that they should.

  • Include one to two key ideas
    Brands can capitalize on shopping behaviors with this platform’s new capability.
  • Conclude with the benefit or outcome, while inserting your credentials:
    In this session, get insights from veteran brand strategist and industry thought leader (name), on how they are leveraging this new platform, and how you can also tap into its potential.

Highlight actionable takeaways

Include a bulleted list of 3-5 actionable takeaways from your session. These takeaways can be drawn from your key concepts. Go with the information that matters most to the audience.

Follow these best practices to increase your chances of speaking at top industry events.