Over two days, CMX Summit 2020 will virtually welcome thousands of community professionals to participate in discussions and workshops, learn techniques and tactics, and hear from industry thought leaders and heroes. We are thrilled! Speakers always play a key role in any great event and this year we’d love to have you join us on stage! Speaker Applications are officially open for CMX Summit 2020!
Having read thousands of speaker pitches, there are a few key things that separate a great pitch from one we won’t read a second time. As you begin to write your pitch, use this blog post as a resource for what makes a good speaker submission for CMX Summit.
We want you to submit incredible pitches. Go ahead, make our choice difficult!
A Good Speaker Application
Introduces a focused topic, and uses concise language to do so. It explains to the event organizer what the audience will learn and walk away with from your time limited session. A good pitch should be submitted with a short bio explaining your relevance and (bonus) links to videos of past talks.
Be specific about your topic
A focused topic, using concise language, explaining what the audience will learn and walk away with, from your session, and submitted with a short bio explaining your relevance and (bonus) links to videos of past talks. Your pitch needs to focus on something about community building or adjacent, and relevant to community professionals who make up CMX Summit’s audience. Do not pitch a generic “how to build your community” talk (this is what the entire conference is about!).
So, get specific. Some talk titles from Summits past:
- Community Retention: How to Science the Heck out of It
- Big Data or Big Responsibility? How to Give, Not Take, with User Data
- Power to the People: Advocate Community in Product and Engineering
- Making Easy Work of a Career in Community
- Self-Care Isn’t Selfish: Strategies for Bringing Your Best Self to Your Community
- What all these topics have in common is that they are focused and relevant, and don’t worry about cleverness in your proposed title – we will workshop the title with you!
Tell us what kind of session you want to host
For the first time in CMX Summit history, we will be opening applications for workshops as well as keynotes and presentations.
Keynotes and Presentations are typically 20-25 minutes long, and often include a live Q&A section. These are actionable discussions, that have attendees walking away with a theory or idea to implement into their community building.
Workshops are typically 45-90 minutes long and have attendees walking through actionable strategies they can implement into their community right now. A workshop is not about theory, but more about how to practically implement theory into community building.
Use concise language
That’s right, there’s a word count limit — 1,500 characters — because a 3,000 word treatise on migrating communities is a book proposal, not a session pitch. Do not link to Google Docs, Evernotes, or Dropbox.
Your session’s description should have an emotional impact of curiosity and excitement. Use language that shows you’ve put thought into this topic and are bringing all your experience and expertise to the table.
Tell us what you can do
Your audience for this pitch is me – Beth! – (Ann Marie, David, and Lincoln). Many pitches can come across like sales or marketing teasers. This is not the description that will go into a programming booklet to get people to attend your session. Instead, write details about your topic, what the audience will learn, and specifics about the content. In your speaker pitch, you have to explain what the audience will learn and what you are actually going to talk about. You have to share the tactics, the data, and the takeaways the audience will leave with. Your pitch is a book report on your talk, not the book jacket blurb.
Who is the Audience?
Your pitch should demonstrate knowledge of who CMX Summit is for and how your topic and the details will positively impact our audience. In the pitch form, there is a dedicated space to explain why CMX Summit is the place for you and what motivates you to be on stage.
Remember: CMX Summit does not allow sales pitches on stage. We’re an educational conference with an audience seeking to learn. Your details should make it clear you have this understanding. Any sales-style pitches will be immediately discarded.
There is a time limit
With focus comes an understanding of time limits. Most Keynote sessions at CMX Summit will be 20-25 minutes long with an optional live Q&A. Workshops are 45-90 minutes long. This is another reason for the word count limit. You cannot always shove everything into a single presentation. Your subject needs to be flexible enough to flow into a conference schedule, not the other way around.
A Short Bio
A good bio explains who someone is in relationship to the conference audience and the topic they will speak about. It demonstrates why you should be picked, why you should be listened to, and hints at your personality. The bio field has a word count too — 600 characters — because this is not your memoir!
Some find it difficult to write a bio about themselves. Now is the time to do some Linkedin research, and read the bios of people you admire so you have an example of what a bio could look like. Sometimes it can also help to ask a few colleagues, and friends to write a bio about you, so you can be reminded of how awesome you are.
(Bonus) links to videos of past talks
Conference speaking is a catch-22. Most speaking opportunities require experience, or evidence of success, but how do you get experience if speaking opportunities won’t have new speakers?
At CMX, we always welcome new and first-time speakers. We also have a commitment to diversity and inclusion at our events. Part of this means that we have a mix of new friends and old friends take the stage.
Have a recording of yourself giving a presentation, doing a webinar, or on a podcast? Link it up. If you don’t, get a smartphone, tap record, present on a topic, and upload it to YouTube. We are looking for confidence speaking in front of a camera/audience!
You are not too good to write a real pitch.
If you want to speak at CMX Summit 2020, please make a full pitch. Your name, or industry “celebrity status” will not be enough to secure you a spot on our virtual stage.
What speakers for CMX Summit 2020 receive:
- 1 non-transferable All Access Pass to CMX Summit 2020
- 1 All Access Pass for CMX Summit 2020 for you to give away for free to anyone of your choosing.
- 1 complimentary year of CMX Pro membership ($750 uSD value) and access to CMX Academy courses for free (valued at $499 USD each).
- An option to take part in the $100 Helps program with Bevy 4 Good.
- Coaching, process, and any assistance you need from us in getting you to the CMX Summit stage.
How many speaker applications do you expect?
There were 354 speaker applications for CMX Summit 2019, up from 85 in 2017, and 120 in 2018. This year, we expect even more!
How many speakers will you choose from these applications?
This year, we’re expecting to book ~15-20 speakers from these applications.
How long will it take to hear back?
Submissions close on Friday, August 28 at 5pm PT.
You will hear from us whether your application is successful or not. We will reach out.
If I’ve applied for a previous CMX Summit, do I need to fill out this application?
Yes, please do!
Can you or someone else on CMX’s staff read my application before I submit it?
No. Sorry, but that would put you at an unfair advantage.
Can myself and a colleague give a joint presentation?
At this time, no. Past experience shows these talks are best solo. We do provide support for speakers who want extra help shaking off stage nervousness.
Can I teach a workshop?
Yes. Applications are open to leading workshops. Workshops are typically 45-90 minutes long and have attendees walking through actionable strategies they can implement into their community right now. A workshop is not about theory, but more about how to practically implement theory into community building.
If I’ve spoken before at Summit, can I submit an application?
Yes, you can. Though keep in mind as part of our commitment to diversity on stage, we limit the number of returning voices each year.
Can I submit an application on behalf of someone else?
Yes. Please have the applicant’s consent before submitting on their behalf.
NOW are you ready?! Apply to speak at CMX Summit 2020