How many virtual summit speaking opportunities have you said "yes" to and regretted later? ...I'm counting on two hands.
This happens because many speakers feel obligated to say "yes" to opportunities. When those opportunities aren't truly a good fit, they turn into annoying obligations that you wish you'd have turned down.
From a summit host's perspective, it's actually a good thing when a speaker turns down the opportunity to participate in your event. If you’re using solid strategies and sending good pitches, almost any “no” you get from a speaker will have a reason behind it that improves your event overall. It's so much more beneficial to have a lineup of speakers who are excited to participate and have plenty of space in their calendars to do so.
But let's focus on the speaker standpoint today and dive into what to consider when you're invited to speak at a virtual summit.
And next time you're presented with a speaking opportunity, take our quiz to find out if it's a good fit for you!
Until earlier this year, I went with a gut feeling when deciding whether or not I was going to speak at a summit. But with that "strategy" there were plenty of times where I ended up wishing that I'd have said no.
On the flip side, when I hosted my 6th summit in March there were a few speakers that I wished would have turned down my pitch. One had a big launch going on around the presentation due date and turned in his presentation weeks late. Then, there were a couple of others who said they were too busy to promote or give much attention to the event.
I ended up wishing that they'd have just turned me down, which is what made me take a closer look at the pitches I was saying "yes" to. If I was going to agree to be a part of an event, I wanted to be sure to show up for the host and attendees without ending up annoyed at what was required of me.
From that, came a list of questions that I now use to guide my decisions. And while it's a long process to explain, it only takes a minute or two to go through.
So let’s break down the 5 areas to look at when deciding to speak at a virtual summit.
Let’s start with the summit host. Everything else can be perfect, but if you don’t jive with the host, it’s not going to work.
On the other hand, even if the event isn't a totally perfect fit, but you love the heck out of the host, you might choose to say yes to nurture a relationship and support them.
There are few questions I recommend asking yourself when thinking about the host:
Based on these questions, you can decide if the host is a person you want to collaborate with. If you’re not sold on the host, don’t bother reviewing the rest and it's an automatic "no".
If everything with the host checks out, it’s time to see if you have the availability to say yes to the opportunity.
If more than one of these's a “no”, it’s probably not a great fit.
If I know I won’t have room to promote or won’t want to put this specific event in front of my audience but absolutely everything else checks out, I let the host know that I wouldn’t be able to promote and let them make the decision.
If you align with the host and you have the availability to do more than create the bare minimum presentation, look at whether the event is a good fit for you.
Ask yourself questions like:
If the event isn't a good fit for the audience you want to get in front of or the content you teach, it's likely not one that's worth your time.
No matter how perfect everything is that we already covered, if there’s no way for you to benefit outside of “exposure”, it’s not worth your time unless the host is someone you really want to connect with.
To see how you'll benefit, ask yourself questions like:
If you’re happy with the opportunities the host has set up to make sure that you benefit, let’s move on to the last and maybe most important section.
Honestly, I shouldn't be preaching about this because I’m terrible at saying "no" to things, but can we stop saying yes to things that we don’t want to do?
How silly is it that we started our businesses to do something we enjoyed, but then we feel obligated to agree to things we're not excited about?
I challenge you to only say yes to something if you go through all these questions, they check out, and then you truly want to participate.
You can ask yourself questions like:
Those right there will give you your real answer if you weren’t sure up to this point. Go with what that gut feeling is telling you, even though saying no stinks sometimes.
This might be more thought than you've ever put into whether you'd speak at an event before, but I want to see more speakers who show the heck up for the events they agreed to - both for the speaker's benefit and for the host's.
None of us hosts want you to feel like you're obligated to participate. We want it to be fun for you.
Before you say yes, look closely at the host, your availability, the likelihood that you'll benefit, and how much you truly want to participate.
Learn how much time to set aside for planning and launching your profitable, stress-free online summit and use my calculator to set the due dates for you.