How to Be a Good Virtual Summit Speaker

summit speakers Mar 23, 2021

Adding speaking to your visibility plan? Here’s what to avoid as a summit speaker, what summit hosts really want, and how to make the process easy on yourself.

So you want to get out there and be visible?  If speaking at virtual summits is part of your visibility plan, it's time to make yourself into a good virtual summit speaker.

Being a good summit speaker will ensure that hosts ask you to come back to their events, refer you to other hosts, and it will make the process easier and more beneficial for you too!

To help, let's talk about what not to do as a summit speaker, what summit hosts really want from speakers, and how to make the process easy on yourself.

What Not To Do as a Virtual Summit Speaker

I know you care about setting yourself up for success, so let’s talk about a few things to avoid when you're speaking at summits.

Do not: Agree before you have all the details

First, don’t agree to be a speaker before you have all the details. Some hosts will lazily pitch a potential speaker and only offer a few details about what their summit is about but leave off all the requirements.

Don’t agree until you know exactly what’s required of you:

  • Presentation – Is it prerecorded or an interview? Are there length or content requirements? Can you pitch anything at the end?
  • Promotion – When is the promotional period? Does it align with your own calendar? How often are you expected to promote?
  • Benefits – What will you get in exchange for being a speaker? Is there an affiliate program? Are you being paid outright?
  • Audience – Does the audience align with what you speak about? Is there a potential that they'll turn into clients or customers? 

Do not: Agree if you're not excited

It’s important that you don’t agree to be a speaker if you’re not excited about the topic and audience.

It might initially sound great to say “yes” to all the summit’s you are pitched for, but if you say "yes" to everything it’s going to turn into a chore for you and, as a result, you won't show up for the host or attendees.

Only agree if the audience is a perfect fit and the topic you get pitched for is a signature topic you enjoy talking about.

Do not: Agree if you won't do what the host is asking

Now let’s turn the tables a little bit and talk about something that touches more on the host's perspective.

Don’t agree to be a speaker if you don’t plan to do what the host asks for. If you can’t meet promotional requirements, presentation format and length requests, or hit due dates, don’t agree to be a speaker.

It doesn’t leave a good impression on the host. Instead of building a relationship, it’s burning a bridge. It also decreases the likelihood of them referring you to other hosts or giving you a positive review to someone who asks before sending you an invite to be in their event.

Do not: Agree if the host doesn't seem to know what they're doing

Lastly is another one to protect you. Don't agree if the summit host doesn't really seem like they know what they're doing.

You should be able to tell in the pitch based on how much detail is provided and how it’s all laid out. If you have to jump through hoops when you agree to speak or to get the information you need, that’s a good indicator of what the rest of the process will be like. It’s not worth it to be in a summit with an unorganized and inexperienced host.

A good host will make the rest of what we’re going to talk about much easier, too!

How to Be A Good Virtual Summit Speaker

Now that we covered a few things to avoid doing, let's shift to what it takes to be a good summit speaker and benefit from the events you participate in. 

Do: Pay Attention To Due Dates

The first, and most important piece of advice, is to pay attention to (and hit) your due dates. You can expect a couple of different due dates to show up when you're a speaker at a summit.

For my own summits, I have a due date for:

  • Basic information – This is usually a couple of weeks after speakers agree and includes things like headshots, bios, and presentation titles.
  • Presentations – This happens a few weeks before the summit starts and is when all final presentation material is due.

It’s not uncommon for less than 50% of speakers to hit those due dates, despite multiple reminders and knowing the due dates upfront.

As a host, it’s stressful. If you can’t hit due dates, don’t agree to be a part of a summit. If you don't know what the due dates are before you agree, ask.

(By the way, bonus points if you can turn things in early! This is the single best thing you can do to leave a good impression on a host.)

Do: Read Emails from the Host

The next thing I want you to pay attention to is the emails your host sends. As a speaker, you can expect to get quite a few emails about the event from the host. This is their way to make sure you have everything you need and keep you up-to-date.

I try to send weekly updates to keep my speakers in the loop, get them everything they need, and make sure no one forgets about the event. As a speaker, read those emails and if there are action items in there for you or your team, put them on your calendar.

Do: Promote the Event

If hitting due dates is the #1 thing you can do to make a good summit speaker, then promoting the summit is #2.

Not much will mean more to your host than when you help them spread the word. After all, they can only promise speakers (aka YOU) results if those same speakers pitch in to help.

If you’re provided with swipe copy and graphics, share with your audience. If your audience responds well and you see those affiliate commissions and signups start to roll in, you can even promote more than you were expected to. You're helping your audience by putting an event in front of them that they need.

If you don't feel comfortable promoting an event or don't think it's a good fit for your audience, it's not one you should be speaking at.

In my events, the speakers who promote extra are the speakers that stand out to me, and the people I invite back.

Do: Make it Easy on Yourself

The next thing you can do to be a good virtual summit speaker is make it easy on yourself- almost to the point of having it automated.

The first thing you can do is have a Press page on your website that lists your signature speaking topics. That way, when a host pitches you, they come to you with a topic you'll be excited to speak about.

After you set up your Press page, have your signature presentations prerecorded. While you might need to edit the beginning, end, or shorten it up a bit, you’ll love not having to create a presentation from scratch each time.

Do: Set Yourself up to Benefit

And last, set yourself up to benefit. Look for the ways the host is setting you up to benefit and take advantage of those things.

If you can pitch a freebie at the end of your presentation, use a freebie that is highly related to your topic. It should help attendees implement what they learned or take the next step. You could even present it at the beginning of your presentation as a resource for them to follow along with.  

Set up a tripwire offer for when someone signs up for your freebie. Now you'll get a monetary return from the summit right away. Eden Fried has a great freebie about how to set up a high-performing tripwire offer. Make sure that opt-in and tripwire connect to a solid funnel that converts well for you.

Another way you can set yourself up to benefit is to take advantage of extra ways to connect with attendees. If you can, be a part of a live panel, go live in the Facebook group, or do an extra Q&A. Make that connection with them!

Here is What to Do Next

You can do everything perfectly, but if the audience isn’t the right fit, they’re not going to be interested in what you have to offer. Make sure you’re only saying yes to those perfect fit events with the right audience.

Being a good summit speaker isn't just about making the host happy, it's also about keeping you happy and enjoying the process as well. As important as it is to hit deadlines and promote for your host, I'm equally concerned with making sure you're saying yes to the right events and making it easy on yourself.

To take this all to the next level, you should:

  • Get on the Virtual Summit Search Speaker Directory.
  • Get clear on who your ideal audience and the types of summits you’ll say “yes” to.
  • Brainstorm a few signature presentation topics – or just start with one!

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