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This article was published on May 15, 2008

Have you submitted your speaker proposal?

Have you submitted your speaker proposal?
Simone Brummelhuis
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Simone Brummelhuis

Simone worked as a successful lawyer before becoming an entrepreneur by setting up her own B2B publishing company Brummsbooks. Thereafter, a Simone worked as a successful lawyer before becoming an entrepreneur by setting up her own B2B publishing company Brummsbooks. Thereafter, as co-owner and managing director of IENS (, she developed this start-up into the no. 1 user generated content database publisher of restaurant guides in The Netherlands. With the, she intends to do the same. She works with Linde Wolters on a book about Female Internet Heroes and launches

It may be pretty good that Sharon Bigger, Wendy Braver, Pamela Fox of Google , Jennifer Kilian, Lisa Parks and Aimee Stewart have signed up with 95 male developers, technologists, CTOs, researchers, geographers, academics, business developers and entrepreneurs, for a speaker session at Where 2.0. But in a conference ‘that brings together the people, projects, and issues building the new technological foundations and creating value in the location industry’, you think that women are more interested.. Indeed, ” why women cannot read maps’ has been a bestseller for ages.

However, in order to speak at a conference, one should submit a paper or proposal. So it is one thing for women to sign up at Geekspeakr, a great website by geek Brenda Wallace, and to show that you are a great speaker or knowledgable on a certain subject. But the next thing to do is to think about a specific topic for a session, a workshop or keynote and to schedule some time to write down your proposal.

Take Developerday at the Microsoft campus end of November 2008. The organisation calls for speakers to submit topics that they would like to talk on – first-time speakers or experienced trainers are equally welcomed. Then the community will vote on-line for which sessions they would like to see happen on the day and from that the agenda will be decided. Many proposals have been already submitted. However, a women speaker has yet to act.

Generally, conference organizations provide you with guidelines on the target audience, the length of a topic and how in-depth the session should be, such as in the Gilbane conference.

Some tips for writing a good proposal for a good talk, which I read at an upcoming hosting conference:

  • Keep it free of marketing
  • Keep the audience in mind: are they technical, professional, and already pretty smart?
  • Clearly identify the level of the talk: is it for beginners to the topic, or for gurus? What knowledge should people have when they come to the talk?
  • Give it a simple and straightforward title: fancy and clever titles make it harder for people to figure out what you’re really talking about
  • Limit the scope of the talk: in 45 minutes, you won’t be able to cover everything. Make sure your talk is focused and not too widely targeted.
  • Explain why people will want to attend: how will the talk impact their business? will they be able to apply the principles immediately?
  • Explain what you will cover in the talk in as much detail as possible

So go ahead and good luck!