How to be a Speaker at Trade Events
Always speak at trade shows. When my clients ask me the best way to amplify their presence at a trade show and optimize their spend, I tell them to get on stage. When you are on stage, you are the expert or at least part of an expert panel.
Why do I think that speaking at trade shows is so important? Here are a few of my reasons:
So how do you find and appeal to a trade show organization on speaking opportunities ?
Find the right person.
There is someone who is ultimately responsible for content at every trade show. Ask your booth space salesperson and then ask for an introduction, probably over LinkedIn. Pitch your idea for speaking to the show content moderator.
Watch for the “Call for Speakers”.
The website for each show or organization always puts out a speaker request form. This usually goes to exhibitors first, but if you attended or registered for a show you also may get put on this email list.
Buy a booth.
You are so much more likely to be chosen as a speaker if you also are invested in the show, so commit to being an exhibitor if your budget allows.
Be educational, don’t be commercial.
No one likes to be sold and they come to sessions to be educated. So avoid things like mentioning your model names, prices, competition or competitors and always strive to be educational. Separate yourself from your brand.
Commit quickly, commit often.
If you happen to be at the current year’s show event, and are catching a few sessions, try to find the organizer either before or after the show.
Make it simple for the event organizer. Think packaging.
Pre-write your presentation description and the title. If you are able, find 2-3 other people in the industry and put them on your “proposed” panel. Provide these names, titles, cell phone numbers, and headshots to the organizer, ASAP.
Bring your client on stage.
Perhaps your customer would like to talk about a joint project or a technology. Often customers will have you sign NDAs and swear you to secrecy, until they don’t. Because now that it’s a success they want to talk about it in public. Stories about innovation and use cases make great testimonials.
Find out what’s topical.
Search last year’s association website. Research popular topics for the show organizer and the industry and their competitor’s shows. There are lots to choose from: Interoperability, AI, Machine Vision, IoT, Industry 4.0, robotics niche topics, cobots, ROI, data; the list is very long.
Pay to Play
While I don’t love this approach, many trade show operators know that there is value in being seen as a thought leader and they will charge your company a fee to sponsor a speaking slot. As a marketer, I know there is value in this sponsorship.