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Tips for Proposing a Panel for BlogWorld 2011

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Believe it or not, we’re already experiencing a rash of inquiries as to when we’re going to open up BlogWorld ’11 for speaker proposals. We’re working on firming up the dates and getting all the little details in place so that we can give you all a chance to pitch a talk. In the meantime, many of you are also asking for tips for successfully submitting a proposal.

Many potential speakers prefer to submit proposals for panels for a variety of reasons.

The benefits of a panel include:

  • Newer speakers are more confident when others are contributing.
  • There’s no lag in the conversation.
  • Each panelist can present a different point of view.
  • The ability to learn from several different experts.

Of course, if the panel isn’t prepared or doesn’t have the right chemistry it can present a whole other set  of problems.

If you are hoping to pitch a panel when we open up for speaker proposals, these tips will help to put you in our good graces:

  • Make sure everyone on the panel is knowledgeable about the topic: Each and every person sitting on the panel should know what they’re talking about. Attendees pay good money to come to BlogWorld to learn. Those on a panel should be able to share and teach with confidence.
  • Make sure everyone on the panel agrees to being on the panel BEFORE you submit your proposal: Don’t mention a big name panelist in the hopes of getting your proposal accepted. If you pitch a panel and some or none of the panelists have any intention of coming to BlogWorld, we’ll probably not want to work with you again. Have panelist approval in writing before you pitch and tell us they’re onboard.
  • Don’t create a panel just to get your friends into BlogWorld: Don’t make up a panel of only friends, just so you can all get a free ticket to BlogWorld. We want experience and wisdom. Private jokes and conversations turn off attendees, and if your panelists don’t know their stuff they’ll quickly clear a room. Plus, after a year or two we start to wonder why you ask the same people to talk with you each year.
  • A balance of men and women would be nice: You don’t have to invite members of the opposite sex on to your panel, but we appreciate a balance of perspectives. Also, as mentioned in the past, we’re interested in good content more than anything else. However, we do like to see both men and women on panels. Besides, a diverse panel means a diverse audience.
  • Have an opposing point of view on the panel: A panel where everyone agrees is boring. When choosing your speakers, invite someone to play devil’s advocate. This way you’re presenting all sides of the issue and your audience will appreciate a fair and balanced representation.
  • A maximum of three panelists and one moderator: Too many panelists mean disorganization, people talking over each other, and a crowded dais. This year, BlogWorld is requesting that those pitching a panel include no more than three panelists and one moderator.
  • Make sure everyone will be able to prepare ahead of time: If a panel is unprepared and disorganized, we’re basically ripping off our attendees who came to learn. Unprepared speakers usually aren’t asked back again.

A panel, first and foremost, should contain an informative mix of expert opinions. It shouldn’t be an ego fest, a bunch of arguments or people trying to talk over each other.  Folks appreciate panels because of the different perspectives presented. However, if the wrong people are chosen for a panel, it can have the opposite effect. Please choose your topic and fellow panelists with care.

Do you have any questions or comments about submitting a speaker proposal  – for a panel? Please share in the comments.

Feedback

2
  • CarissaO

    Thanks for the tips. Always appreciated.

    Is there an email list to ensure we don’t miss when the call for speakers is announced?

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