How To Improve Your Chances Of Speaking At The Streaming Media Shows

Lately, I am getting many calls and e-mails from vendors unfairly complaining that they were not chosen to speak at the upcoming Streaming Media East show. I figured it would be a good time to set the record straight on how I choose speakers for all of the shows and reinforce to everyone that you have to follow the rules. Don’t get me wrong, at we love the fact that so many people want to speak at the show and we appreciate that you want as much exposure as you can get for your company. BUT, you also have to follow the rules like everyone else and threatening me, complaining to my boss or trying to insult my creditability is not going to get you anywhere.

So, if you are interested in being a speaker at the show, here is what you need to know and the rules that everyone needs to follow. The first thing to understand is the basics of how the speaking spots work.

  • I have 100 speaking spots for the East show in May. I received over 800 submissions for those 100 spots. The simple law of math clearly shows I can’t full-fill everyone’s request.
  • Of those 100 speaking spots, about 65 of them go to customers, not vendors. Customers are the end-users who are buying and deploying these online video services. Why do I do that? Because that is what the attendees who are paying to come to the conference want. They always want more end users speaking. That means I only have on average about 30-35 speaking spots for vendors and there are probably 500+ vendors in the industry.
  • You can’t buy your way into a speaking spot. We are not like some of the other shows out there where if you exhibit at the show you get to speak or demo your product. This is evident based on the fact that of the 45 exhibitors currently listed on our website, only 7 of those companies are speaking on a panel.
  • You can’t buy your way into a speaking spot by sponsoring the show. Of the 22 sponsors we have listed on our website, only 4 of them are speaking on a panel.
  • For each round-table panel, I will only place a total of 5 speakers per panel. Yes, many shows do 7 or 8 speakers on a panel, but is that really the best format for a 60 minute session? I don’t think so and neither do the attendees. The only reason the others shows do it is that they want to make their speaker roster list as many names as possible. That means they are putting the marketing of the show first, before the conference agenda and the attendee.
  • I have to plan the conference agenda months in advance. Many people do not realize that I turn in the advance program 5 months before the show. The program has to get edited, designed, printed and mailed. This does not happen overnight. So contacting me 2 months before the show leaves you literally no chance of anything being available.
  • I open up the call for speakers about 8 months before a show and I leave it open for at least 6 weeks. If you don’t get in your speaking request in during that time, how do you expect me to know that you want to speak? It is not my responsibility to chase you down. I am always willing to talk about what you want to do at the show, hear your ideas and find out how you can get involved. But I can’t do that if you don’t send in a submission at all, let alone on time.

Now some are going to ask, why do I do it this way? Why not allow vendors to pay to be able to speak and don’t we risk vendors not doing business with us because we don’t let them speak when they are exhibiting or sponsoring? We do it this way because this is what the attendees want, it’s what makes for a good show and for the vendors who get it, it’s more valuable for them to have a customer speaking instead of themselves. Could we make more money by allowing vendors to pay to speak? Probably. But that does us no good and our attendees no good. You don’t build a quality conference by choosing your speakers based on who pays you. Like you, I have been to many industry shows where they allow this and you all know how bad many of those speakers are and the lack of value it provides.

If the way I pick speakers is not a fit for your company, if you are looking to pay money to be able to speak, then our show is not a good fit for you. There are many vendors who follow the rules, get their submissions in on time and work with me closely to ensure that the attendees are getting quality information. That is all I care about, producing a show that has value not only to the industry but to the attendees who are paying their money to come.

For some reason, too many vendors think they don’t have to follow the rules and are finding out the hard way that they have to. To the vendors that work with me, I say thank you. I appreciate your help and your professionalism and I hope that all vendors will follow your lead.