HOW AN ENGINEER HACKED THE SPEAKER SELECTION PROCESS
The Engineer Who Started TEDxLeamingtonSpa
I have a background in engineering, and I’ve built systems for some multi billion dollar companies. Planning, executing and maintaining these complicated systems gave me a set of skills that makes me an expert problem solver.
But What Does Engineering Have To Do With Creating a Conference?
I use my engineering expertise to help my clients identify and shape ideas that stand out. I look at the whole process of getting booked as a system, and I engineer every step my clients take to ensure they land a talk, and get their opportunity to speak on the stage of their dreams.
THREE INSIGHTS I LEARNED WHEN STARTING TEDxLeamingtonSpa
It was a fascinating process being on the “inside” of how speaker selection worked.
Creating TEDxLeamingtonSpa from scratch taught me a ton of things – most notably, that there are a ton of very intelligent people who want to speak on huge stages, but there are a few key things that aren’t commonly understood about competitive speaking that make this journey hard.
1. There Are Some Bad Events
THIS IS NOT YOUR IDEAL STAGE.
MY CLIENTS BOOK THE BEST STAGES.
Event organizers are on their own — you have to pay for the venue, videography, photography, and stage decoration letters. All that is expensive.
If you’re not skilled enough as an organizer to find sponsors to cover those things, and don’t have the marketing savvy to sell out your tickets at a high enough price, then these more expensive items just don’t happen.
So, this leads to a huge difference in quality between events – some organizers simply can’t get sponsorship to pay for these things, or they don’t want to spend the time to figure all this out.
As a speaker, this is a huge deal.
Some events are huge, but some don’t film talks at all. All this matters to you as a speaker.
You should ONLY be speaking at the best events, with high-quality video, audio, etc. Anything else could be a waste of time, or ruin your reputation.
2. Speaking Skill Doesn't Matter If You Can't Get Booked For An Event
Some coaches focus on helping speakers with their talks, or presentation skills. After all, anyone can tell you how speakers speak – the information is freely available by simply watching YouTube.
The thing is, it doesn’t matter how good your talk is if you can’t get booked. nobody will hear it.
I’ll say that again — it doesn’t matter how good of a speaker you are. And it doesn’t matter how good your talk is.
Neither of those imply you’ll get booked.
In fact, I’ve seen people spend thousands developing a talk with a coach who didn’t know how to get booked, and they got rejected from 50-100+ events.
A better approach and pitch gets your booked faster, and it unlocks the BEST stages, so you look like a rockstar.
So, I decided to focus on a different problem — how to help experienced experts get booked at the best platforms and events. You create one piece of content that can reach the world.
3. Expertise Is Not All It Takes To Get Booked
Before I started TEDxLeamingtonSpa, I had a ton of assumptions about what kind of people would be obvious speakers.
I assumed professional speakers, credentialed experts, bestselling authors, and so on would have no problems getting booked.
After all, if the speakers that I’d seen are all experts, wouldn’t that imply that the more expertise someone has, the better their chances?
But, I’ve come across New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestselling authors, former Oprah guests, Olympians, and Ivy League grads who have been turned down countless times. I’ve been told of processional speakers who have applied to more than 100 TEDx events with zero success.
Expertise is important, but not sufficient.
THE BIGGEST LESSON
It's So Much More Than Just A Talk
As I’ve conquered my own challenges (running a marathon, cycling across Canada, an Ironman triathlon, and so on), I’ve realized that these challenges were about more than exercise.
They transformed me.
At first, a part of me didn’t believe I could do it.
But I had the right program, hired the right coaches, and through crossing the finish lines, realized there was a much bigger version of myself I’d unlocked.
My clients have told me things like:
“I’m scared and excited at the same time”
“I want to show my kids that I’m following my dreams too”
“A TEDx talk is my next Everest”
“Anyone can write a book or make YouTube videos…if you do a TEDx talk you’re legit”
“TEDx is the gold standard of speaking”
I get it.
I like to say that I don’t just help people land a TEDx talk…
I help them BECOME a TEDx speaker.
It’s more than a speech, it’s a transformation.
Are you ready?