Episode from the podcastThe Startup Chat with Steli and Hiten

352: Speaking at Conferences Worth Your Time?

Released Friday, 12th October 2018
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In today’s episode of The Startup Chat, Steli and Hiten talk about speaking at conferences.
As you become more experienced and successful in business, you may get invited to speak at conferences. This could be for small acceptance of an award, to join a panel with your peers, or to keynote a major conference.
One great thing about speaking at events and conferences is that it provides you with a huge opportunity to get your personal brand and company out in the limelight while, at the same time, entertaining and educating those who attend.
In this episode, Steli and Hiten share their thoughts on what it takes to speak at conferences and they share some tips that can help you do so effectively.
Time Stamped Show Notes:
00:00 About the topic of today’s episode
00:33 Why Hiten prefers speaking at panels.
02:09 The number of times Steli speaks in a year.
03:18 Why Steli chooses to speak at conferences.
04:08 Steli breaks down how he decides what conference to speak at.
05:19 How to maximize your speaking gigs.
16:15 How not to prepare for a conference.
07:01 How Steli prepares for keynotes.
09:04 How Hiten prepares for his speaking gigs.
10:42 One tip that can help you prepare for your keynote.
3 Key Points:
Speaking at conferences helps acquire new customers.
I say no to a lot of conferences.
I do a lot of speaking because it’s a good fit for me as a founder and my skill set.
Steli Efti: Hey everybody, this is Steli Efti

Hiten Shah: And this is Hiten Shah. And today. Oh, go ahead Steli.

Steli Efti: No, you do it, you do it.

Hiten Shah: And today on the startup chat we are gonna talk about conferences and speaking at conferences. I'm going to start right now by saying that I used to speak at a lot of conferences like Steli still does.

Steli Efti: Yep.

Hiten Shah: And I definitely ramped that down quite a bit. I do speak at smaller events sometimes and I do, do some other things where I speak, but recently we both spoke at Hypergrowth, which is Hypergrowth West, which is Drift.com's conference. I didn't actually speak, I actually had a panel which is something I have been doing more because most people think panels suck and I think I want to learn how to make them awesome, so I've done probably over a dozen panels now I think. I did a panel on stage and the title of the panel was "What's Killing Your Growth" and that was fun! I like to make them entertaining and I like to be a good moderator, so I have a whole process for doing it. It's pretty simple, where I talk to the folks early and just get an idea of how they think about the topic and then I come up with questions, I create a document with an overview and questions, and I send it over to them. They have time to think about it, they might ask a couple questions back or comments on the questions I laid out, and then it's just go time on that day, so it's about fifteen to thirty minutes of prep, fifteen for them, another fifteen for me to write the document, and I've sent it off to them. That's how I do panel's. That's kinda my new thing when it comes to conferences, what I like to do is moderate a panel with a bunch of folks on it. That's my spiel about speaking and since I haven't done it in a while, with like a deck and a presentation and all that, I think Steli, off to you. I probably have a bunch of questions for you, but how many times do you speak a year?

Steli Efti: That's a good question. If we strictly focus on big conferences, it's about twelve to fifteen big conferences a year.

Hiten Shah: Oh, wow, okay.

Steli Efti: There's probably a bunch more small wo...

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