How to Write a Speaker Proposal
A speaker proposal is your introduction to event planners who will hire you. Your proposal creates the first impression they have of you, and you are competing with numerous other would-be speakers. Take the time to compose your ideas, focus on the customer's needs and tailor your proposal to meet them. A boiler plate proposal will not open doors for you. While each proposal you send will have the same components, they should be customized for each venue.
Planning Your Proposal
A speaker proposal is not a one-size-fits-all document. Whether you are writing the proposal for yourself or an executive to represent your company, you must identify your target audience and customize the proposal to address their needs. Determine who books the speakers for the event or organization and target that person. Contact them and inquire how they would like to receive your information. Not only must you tweak the content to emphasize what the meeting planners want, you must also tailor the format to match their preferences. A meeting planner may prefer a brief synopsis of your presentation, or a video, for example, rather than a detailed outline. Depending on your topic you may wish to include a case study of a personal accomplishment with your proposal.
Begin your proposal by providing an overview of your presentation. Make the title attention-getting. It should be in line with the prospect's business, while at the same time it must be eye-catching and memorable. Include a summary of the content of your speech. Specify the length of your presentation and the extent to which it can be customized. “This program can be offered as a 45-minute after-dinner speech or customized as a half-day workshop.” List the points your audience can be expected to take away with them. The benefit an audience will reap from your presentation is a key selling point for your speech.
All About You
Include a personal bio touting your accomplishments. The meeting planners who review your proposal are not interested in bragging, but they do want to know that you are an expert in your field. Describe your experience in a manner that will relate to the audience you wish to address. If you have specific experience in that industry, you can highlight it here. Include a photo of yourself that matches the culture of the projected audience. If you wish to speak to a forestry organization, a picture of you in a suit might not be appropriate – but it would for a financial planners association.
Prove Your Value
Companies and organizations who hire you do not want to book a neophyte. You need to convince them that you have the experience and expertise to earn the right to speak to their employees or members. Testimonials from people who have heard you speak in the past are powerful selling tools. If you are just getting started, offer to give free speeches to local organizations in exchange for reference letters. Record your presentations and post clips on Facebook and your website to showcase your knowledge and delivery style. As your experience grows, upgrade them with more well-known references. Meeting planners will draw comfort knowing that others have heard you and enjoyed your program.
Thomas Metcalf has worked as an economist, stockbroker and technology salesman. A writer since 1997, he has written a monthly column for "Life Association News," authored several books and contributed to national publications such as the History Channel's "HISTORY Magazine." Metcalf holds a master's degree in economics from Tufts University.