If you’re a garden speaker, you’ll want to be sure you’re putting your best foot forward so your audience benefits from your amazing presentation, your reputation as a professional precedes you going forward, and program managers love you! Now, many of us are aware of what that means for live talks (or not, but don’t worry, we’ll cover it all!), but with the advent of online presentations, there may be some considerations you hadn’t thought through yet. So, let’s think through them!
As we know, the presentation itself is just the tip of the iceberg — there are many things that need to happen before the event even takes place. Have your essential paperwork and terms prepared and be ready to share the following:
Your contract: Don’t have one? Create a simple one that outlines what you’re doing, when you’re doing it, and what the agreements are.
Your fees: Have a fee schedule at the ready. What do you charge for a standard 45-60 minute talk? What about a keynote presentation? Will you travel outside of your city/state for an event — and are travel/hotel costs covered? Are you willing to negotiate on your fees? If so, under what conditions? Are online talk fees different than in-person talk fees?
Your accepted payment forms: Do you accept checks, or can the organization pay with a credit card, PayPal, or Venmo?
Any applicable deadlines: Does the venue need your presentation submitted ahead of time — if so, what’s the deadline? Ditto for pre-recorded talks for online events. Are there any other deadlines (registration, submission of promotional materials, etc.)?
Any applicable promotional requirements: Do you have any requirements for promotion? Does the venue?
Send promotional materials promptly.
Program managers need a clear and engaging description of your talk, a current and high-resolution headshot, and a current bio to use in promotion. Get these items (and whatever else they need) to them promptly.
Pro Tip: Consider creating a short, medium, and long version of your bio. If you’re one speaker out of 50 for an event, the program manager will want a short or medium-length version, and if you’re the key-noter, they’ll appreciate a fuller and longer version.
Be a partner in promotion!
Don’t only rely upon the organization to promote your talk — join them! If the event is public and open to non-members, create emails or social media posts that include the event details, what you’re presenting, and links to register.
Be aware of online presentation requirements.
A good online talk relies upon several vital factors to succeed — a strong WIFI connection, good lighting, and excellent sound quality. Practice these things ahead of time so you’re ready to go, and look/sound professional. Invest in a ring light if your interior light is inadequate, consider using earbuds with your computer for better sound quality, and test your internet connection. Put the dogs outside, put your phone on Do Not Disturb, and silence your computer’s notifications (email, messages, social media updates, etc.).
We’ve already talked about promptly communicating and meeting deadlines, but what about the event itself? Promptness is vital to program managers, so show up or log in early, speak at the allocated time/place and for the allocated length of time, and be aware of any time zone variations in both travel and online presentations. If you live in Dallas, Texas (CST), the program manager lives in San Diego, CA (PST), and the organization is based in Atlanta, GA (EST), which time zone is the online event held in? And if you’re travelling to an event, make sure to adjust your watch/alarm clocks accordingly to reflect the time zone you’re now in (and arrive a day early to avoid any possible jet lag).
Refer other speakers!
Program managers have a lot on their plates and they always want to offer great opportunities to their members. Do you know other speakers that might be a great fit for the group? Let the program manager know! Share the speaker profiles from Great Garden Speakers or share the individual websites of the speakers you’re recommending.