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Become an NMX 2014 Speaker: How to Submit a Winning Proposal

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aaron hockley One of the most common questions I’m asked is this: “What do you think of this idea for an NMX session?”

The truth is, I can give you my opinion on your proposal to speak, but I don’t call the shots. So, I talk to NMX CEO Rick Calvert to find out exactly what he’s looking for when it comes to choosing NMX speakers. Here are some of his best tips:

1. Bring real educational information. Tell attendees something they have never heard before that will immediately improve their blog, podcast, video or business.

2. We really want three solid take aways from every session. So ask yourself, what will attendees think when they leave this room? Will they walk away saying I learned 3 great ideas in that session? You need to explain in your speaker proposal what those ideas are.

3. Keep your speaker proposal short and to the point. We just skip over session ideas that are a mile long with a thousand topics rolled into one. Your session needs to be about a single topic, so hone in on what you know best.

4. Keep your bio short and to the point too. If you have a super impressive bio, like you have written 20 books, appeared on every news network, every newspaper, every magazine, spoken at every social media conference and worked for every fortune 500 company on the planet, please summarize. Do not quote yourself and list every media appearance you have ever made.

5. Please do not submit 10 ideas. Pick one or at the very most two ideas that you think will be AMAZING!

6. Explain the idea, and the take aways of your session clearly. Imagine we are going to print your session description straight out of your submission. Make sure it reads the way you want to present yourself to the world.

7. Be amazing! Not just amazing to a room full of ludites who have never heard of twitter. You need to be amazing to a room full of peers, many of whom are just as smart or smarter than you. You need to ask yourself, “What is the one think I have learned that they may have overlooked and I can share with them?” If you can do that, attendees are going to love you, thank you, throw money at you, and want to be your friend.

8. NEVER EVER EVER EVER SELL YOUR PRODUCT. Do that and attendees will hate you, we will hate you, everyone will hate you. Sure we will all smile at you after your talk and say that was great, but I promise you you are going to get skewered in your speaker evaluations and everyone is going to be telling everyone else they know how all you did was shill your crappy product. Even if your product is great people are going to tell others that is sucks because they are so pissed off at you for stealing their valuable educational time. There’s a time and a place to sell. During your NMX session is not it.

We don’t have space on the schedule for every awesome speaker. Sometimes several people submit sessions about the same general idea. Sometimes, the same session was presented in the past and didn’t attract much interest. Sometimes we go with speakers who have been to NMX before because they’re proven successes with our audience. Sometimes we pass up on past speakers to make room for new faces.

So yes, there is an element of luck as well. But you definitely won’t be accepted if you don’t apply! The NMX 2014 speaker submission form has opened as of this morning, so now’s the time to apply!

Submit Your NMX 2014 Session Proposal Here >

UPDATE: The deadline for submitting your proposal is September 1, 2013. However, we do encourage you to submit your session proposal earlier, as we like to start announcing speakers as soon as possible.

Allison Boyer freelance writer and content marketing consultant. She also runs the food blog The PinterTest Kitchen with her mom and sister. You can follow her shenanigans on Twitter (@allison_boyer) or contact her at allisonmboyer@gmail.com.


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  • Bill Hartzer

    Thanks for the tips. For the presentations that I do for Search Engine Strategies and Pubcon.com conferences, I usually try to give at least one takeaway per slide–but that’s just me. I like to pack as much as I can into my presentations, giving a lot of value.

    • Joel Zaslofsky

      I’m like you, Bill. I usually like people to need at least two hands to count all the takeaways they get from my presentations on curating your existence. It’s a balancing act of course. Give them too many options and you risk them not taking action on any of them. But don’t give enough inspiration or motivation – in a diverse way so different people can key on different ideas – and the message just comes out too “meh.”

      Rick, I hope you’ll be looking forward to my proposal too. 🙂

  • Rick Calvert

    So you only need three slides for us Bill 8) haha.

    Honestly I love presentations like you described. I hope you submit a proposal.

  • Linda Sherman

    Allison, I just wanted to drop you a kudo for how well this post is written. I was chuckling aloud at several of your lines.

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