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Greetings happy readers! During this week’s PPCChat session, host Julie F Bacchini sought PPCers views on the speaking engagement at a PPC event, what do they think make a great speaker and more.

Q1: Have you spoken at an event (in person or virtual) about a PPC topic? If not, is this something you’re interested in doing?

Yep! Big and small. so much fun and can’t wait to get back to it post-lockdowns! @JuliaVyse

Yes, I have spoken at a ton of events, both in person (in the good old days!) and virtual the past couple of years. Forever grateful to @mvanwagner for my first big speaking gig at SMX East many moons ago! @NeptuneMoon

I have spoken virtually on webinars and recently LinkedIn live. I love virtual speaking because I don’t have to travel and it seems more accessible. I would love to speak at a SMX or Hero Conf but I have no idea how to pitch or start that process. @runnerkik

I haven’t spoken at an event yet but I am speaking at @SheffieldDM later this year about Performance Max. I have done internal workshops and talks but that’s it. @C_J_Ridley

I have done a few local events here in Maine, but never a big event. Just Chamber stuff and a couple marketing talks in Portland, Maine. Never really had a big pull to do events. I know they are a great source of leads/contacts though. @lchasse

I haven’t spoken about PPC at any events, and only recently started getting more engaged with the community as a whole. But it is something I would be interested in, as well as speaking on podcasts! @adclarke10

On quite a few conferences and quite a few PPC topics. @soanders

Yep! Mainly smaller more local events but it’s always been a great time! @adwordsgirl

I have, specifically around Amazon PPC. I love presenting. I am hoping to start doing more in person soon, but I have been doing many webinars and podcasts. @AMZRobynJohnson

Yes! Smaller local crowd, it was a good experience and I would be open to doing it again. @jord_stark

I enjoy speaking when I feel like I have some original take on what I’m seeing in the industry (PPC, Paid Social, mainly). My main reason I don’t pitch more has to do with translating what I see/know into a spoken form that makes sense to a particular audience. @timmhalloran

Yep. A lot. Probably too much. @DigitalSamIAm

Yes, and I love sharing/educating. @robert_brady

Yes, I have, pre-pandemic I’d do 3-5 per year, last 2 years I’ve done 1-2 virtual ones. This year I am slated to do 4-5 in person, and I am oddly giddy because I have an inflated ego and this helps fulfill my attention needs. @JonKagan

Yes – plenty of times. @marketinganu_

Yes to both! Virtually, it’s great to have Q&A sprinkled throughout a presentation, rather than just the last 5-10min, even if that means truncating the presentation. Far more engaging and valuable. @teabeeshell

Q2: For those who are interested in speaking at conferences and events, but have not spoken, what has been the primary reason you have not spoken? Not applied? Pitch rejected? Don’t know where to start?

When I first started out it was very much not knowing where to start and getting rejected when I figured out how to pitch. It felt like a very gatekept, only-for-higher-ups type of activity. @JuliaVyse

Currently looking to create local events, seeing this as a great way to connect with accessible, meet-able people, companies, and brands. Just getting started, so hopefully within the next quarter. @teabeeshell

I think for me it is fear of rejection, worrying my topic isn’t original enough – even though I personally can listen to the same topic from different people and learn something new…and not knowing where to start. @runnerkik

I attended a lot of meetups where I would ask to speak and eventually the events got bigger & I’d be asked to speak vs me asking. @adwordsgirl

Smaller, local events are a great place to get started. The art of the pitch is not something that is widely discussed. (I plan on changing that & having PPC Chat speaking veterans help newbies, so stay tuned!) @NeptuneMoon

Imposter Syndrome and self-confidence I doubt my own knowledge, my public speaking capabilities and whether the audience would find me entertaining and/or interesting. I also don’t know of many PPC speaking opportunities in the UK. @C_J_Ridley

The big ones I have avoided due to the effort required w/travel time to prepare, etc… I like my free time after work, lol. @lchasse

Initially, one of the main reasons was just being newer to the industry. But now that I’ve been working in paid media for 4+ years, I would say the next “roadblock” is not knowing where to start. @adclarke10

My own insecurity! I walk away from conferences feeling like it would be cool to speak. I even have some topics in mind. Problem is, I never take the action to actually dive in to how to pitch or anything. It’s like I’m scared putting in the time only to be rejected. @alexnicoll93

Missing deadlines or rejected pitched for the most part. I’m noticing the pitch is somewhat formulaic (and having Marty help with that has been a lifesaver) but I haven’t cracked the code per say – a lot depends on their current line up too. @timmhalloran

Q3: For those who have spoken at conferences and events, what is your best advice for people who want to get their first chance to speak?

Networking is your best chance for those opportunities to manifest. Don’t be afraid to make friends and volunteer if they come up. @jord_stark

Don’t wait! find a topic you really care about and build a presentation you’re proud of. Then share it! lead small discussion groups, offer to speak to the chamber of commerce, just start where you are. @JuliaVyse

Practice and time yourself. Know the beats you want to hit & the mile markers. It’s the most time-consuming part of the process outside prepping the deck but I’ve found after presenting something a few times, it’s amazing how much easier and more succinct it becomes. @timmhalloran

Do your homework on the event + craft a couple pitches. Be clear + direct in your proposal – no one wants to read a Tolstoy novel. @DigitalSamIAm

Look for speaking opportunities at an event you’ve already attended. Having some level of familiarity with an event helps with the nerves. You’re likely to be more familiar with the crowd too, which is alway reassuring. @marketingsoph

You’ll hear “no” plenty as you submit pitches. Don’t take it personally. @robert_brady

Learn from my mistake: don’t wait around until you have a shiny new thing that no-one has done before. It doesn’t matter if 30 or 300 people have spoken on the subject. They haven’t heard from you, and your point of view is worth sharing. @JuliaVyse

Start pitching! You can do more than one pitch too. As I said, I am in the process of putting together experienced speakers to help newbies with pitches and deck review via PPC Chat. Also – what seems obvious & simple to you might blow others’ minds! @NeptuneMoon

It is a pitch like any other 1) analyze the conference positioning and needs 2) build a compelling story 3) packaging is important 4) don’t miss the deadlines And if you don’t make it, ask for feedback and pitch for the next edition. @soanders

(1) Don’t wait to be asked. (2) Practice w/local events first (3) Practice your talk in front of a mirror (4) Keep the bullet points on a card that you want to go over so you don’t forget (5) Practice your talk again! (6) Don’t be afraid to get out there. @lchasse

For me, networking was the key along with constantly sharing my knowledge with whoever would listen. @adwordsgirl

Start with smaller local events. Usually, those in attendance know less than you. So, speak loudly, wild/big hand movements, add in some meme’s and no one will ever question your knowledge or capability. They will think you’re brilliant or insane. Either one is great. @JonKagan

Practice – Know your material/script intimately. It’s a performance, ultimately. Engage – Create ways to draw people in, mid-presentation. Makes you more memorable + credible. Be A Resource – Facilitate connections afterwards, answer questions promptly. @teabeeshell

Q4: What do you think makes a great speaker or presenter? Anyone you’ve seen in the past who you thought was outstanding? What made them great?

Providing real life evidence of the topic, make it engaging, make it entertaining, and break it up. A 45 minute presentation is super easy to tune out on. @JonKagan

Enthusiasm. You don’t have to be a vegas big personality. Just get across that you really care about what you’re presenting and I’m probably hooked! @JuliaVyse

Hands down @ThisIsSethsBlog, 2017 Digital Marketing Summit MPLS. Blown away by his strategy of ZERO words on-screen. Forced the audience to hang onto every syllable. We were enraptured. Doesn’t work for every topic, but the takeaway is *speak* – Don’t regurgitate. @teabeeshell

I am genuine – I really love what I do and that shows (so I have been told) – in terms of people who I think do a great job speaking – this list is so long and not enough characters in this tweet. Then I feel bad leaving people out – I digress. @runnerkik

What are great speakers The story, the presence onstage/screen, the depth of analysis, the supporting evidence. In my book for delivering a great presentation, it also says: “make them laugh at least once” @soanders

I think a great speaker is someone who makes their presentation engaging and look easy/natural – whether it’s the problem/solution they’re discussing, their delivery, stage presence, etc. – because it helps make the information easier to digest & retain. @adclarke10

And one of my favorite speakers is @wilreynolds because of how he delivers his message in such a clear and engaging way! @adclarke10

If they’re passionate about what they do, it’ll naturally come out during the talk which is my favourite thing to notice. Also, someone who knows the topic, of course. @adwordsgirl

I tend to think it’s a blend of six things: 1. Relevance 2. Approachability/Accessibility 3. Engagement 4. Authenticity 5. Novelty + Insightfulness 6. Actionability. @DigitalSamIAm

Accessible – making sure everyone in the room is able to understand 90% of your content is really important. Engaging – this can either be through comedy, story-telling, making it interactive or strong public speaking skills (pausing, emphasis, not monotonous). @C_J_Ridley

Show & Tell – don’t simply tell people something, demonstrate it. K.I.S.S. – Keep it simple, stupid. This is mostly about making it clear what you’re talking about and what the main takeaways are. @C_J_Ridley

Here’s a controversial one: Give me a reason to listen – by refraining from putting all the juicy bits on the slides, I’ll be less likely to tune out and check my phone instead. It’ll also save the speaker from simply reading from the screen. @C_J_Ridley

Real tactical answers of what is actually working, not theory. Something I can implement right away. Speaking to the level of your audience. Also, it is easy to tell who put their presentation the night before and who took the time to prepare and practice. @AMZRobynJohnson

Q5: For those who have not spoken at an event or want to speak more… What questions do you have about getting speaking gigs and how to prepare for them that our more experienced speakers might be able to answer?

Is there a list of PPC/Digital Marketing gigs in the UK? What tips do veteran speakers have for new folk? How do you make a presentation look professional/engaging? Are there any talks you recommend people to watch as “homework” for being a good speaker? @C_J_Ridley

Are there any resources or websites (other than just a Google search) that you would recommend looking at to find events? 2. Would you recommend any kind of coaching/courses/etc. before someone tries to land a speaking gig? @adclarke10

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