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    SES Speaker Guidelines and Helpful Hints

    2012 Deadlines:
    SES New York
    Proposing a session: Jan 31
    Speaking submission: Feb 17

    SES Shanghai
    Proposing a session: Feb 3
    Speaking submission: Feb 17

    The SES conference community is unique and ever changing. I have assembled a few guidelines to help you with pitching sessions, submitting proposals and speaking at SES as I have received many inquiries about planned changes in the SES format.

    Thank you for your interest!
    Mike Grehan, Global VP Content, SES/Search Engine Watch/ClickZ

    Please read the speaker guidelines below before submitting a proposal.

    Event timelines, when and where to send requests
    Session outlines and event information will be posted to the SES Blog. We have also developed a handy submission form to facilitate and expedite your speaker or panel request. You may now select from a drop down menu for each event, just don't forget multiple speaker requests require multiple submissions.

    Please note: You must submit a new proposal for each event.

    Quality and quantity
    There will be no more than three or four speakers in each session with very few exceptions. Please keep this in mind when pitching a session. Sessions generally run 60-75 minutes (depending on the topic) so bear in mind the odds of one person speaking more than 20 minutes will be unlikely.

    Case studies and actual tactical execution examples are key. I understand the need for maintaining confidentiality and the competitive edge but learning experiences can help build best practices. If you are confused about how to do this, ask your session moderator.

    Speaking of moderators, moderating a session is a highly regarded (yet difficult to execute) role. It is the moderator's job to ask questions, generate arguments, involve the audience and tell a story through the interaction of all participants. The moderator also summarizes the discussion, highlights key points of agreement and contention, identifies resources for further study and ends the session in time to do Q&A; with the audience. Before you ask for this role, be sure you have the intestinal fortitude to guide the discussion, panelists and audience.

    Avoid pitching yourself
    Speaking engagements build awareness of and credibility for your organization. The best speakers (and those invited back frequently) know that being perceived as an expert through delivering quality content for the benefit of event delegates is far better than delivering a hard sell.

    Keep your company profile and contact information down to one or two slides. Your audience will thank you and you will stand a far better chance of being invited back to speak at SES.

    Soliciting delegate business cards with "follow-up bait" is not permitted at SES. In other words, offering a research report by "dropping off a business card on your way out" is not acceptable.

    Presentations will be available for download by SES delegates post conference. You will need permission to release any other information at a session, e.g. handouts or other promotional material.

    Presentations style and format
    SES will have a session PowerPoint template available for download for each event. All speakers will be expected to use this template when preparing presentations for an SES event. Each session will have its own format and if you are unsure, ask the moderator.

    Pitching new sessions
    Though it's been said many times and many ways, you can't buy your way into an SES speaking role. Attendees come to SES events expecting to get past the vendor hype and industry spin and learn the unvarnished truth (warts and all!). From time to time, at select events, there may be "sponsored sessions" but those will be clearly labeled as such and are not part of the SES programming docket.

    PR Note: Public relations firms and in-house folks are great, except when they randomly pitch speakers for any topic without consideration for relevance. Know who is out there pitching you and give them direction. The fastest route to not speaking is a well intentioned, ill-informed PR pitch.

    Pitching existing sessions
    Panelists and sessions for a particular topic may change with each event, even for popular sessions. Simply pitching a session on the basis of having spoken on this topic previously will not guarantee a speaking role. See note above about PR.

    Competitive and conflicts
    If you own the product or service or have a financial interest in the company you recommend, you have what we in the business refer to as "a bias." If you are asked to speak about a topic that you have close financial ties to, you must disclose the nature of the relationship or excuse yourself from the discussion.

    SES is focused on delivering relevant and topical information. The use of presentations or stale content from a competitive event is not permitted at any time.

    Submit a Proposal »


    Find out more about our upcoming events:

    Events Calendar