Why I speak at conferences

Feb 11, 2017

There’s nothing to sell. I have nothing to hype. I’m not in it for the “fame and glory.” Consulting work? I’m busy enough already, thank you.

So why do I travel to speak at learning conferences the world over? Here’s why:

  1. To listen & learn I want to know what challenges my peers are facing. What worked (and didn’t work) with their solutions? I want to hear people gripe, I want to learn what inspires them. I think I have some valuable ideas that work, but I don’t actually know until my ideas encounter a wider reality than my own. I want to update my knowledge about what matters to whom and why, and conferences are the best place to do it.
  2. To attract conversations I’m actually not very comfortable approaching people I don’t know and striking up conversations out of nowhere. But when I’m giving a talk, I don’t have to. People inevitably come up and talk to me about something I already know a lot about, all I have to do is respond. Social win for the quiet guy!
  3. To get in Unless you’re keynoting or providing a pre-conference programming, you won’t get paid to speak at most industry conferences. But they do let you in for free, and that’s worth a lot to a small business owner like me. “Talking my way in the door” simply fits the budget.
  4. To evaluate Though I’m not often paid to speak at this point, and I don’t have a book out yet, I might want to maybe change that. I’m evaluating if I even want to go that direction. Would it be worth it for me? How’s it working for those at the top? For those at the bottom? For the industry itself? Speaking is a great way to test and see for myself.
  5. To improve Speaking at conferences gives me opportunities to practice and try new things. If I do decide to do more with this career-wise, taking my biggest risks while the stakes are low and I have no identity to protect or money to lose seems like a good idea.

As I’m still learning and improving with every talk, I’m doing a bunch of them. In the next few months, I’ll be speaking at (UPDATED FOR MARCH 2017):

I’m also up to some other exciting stuff, including:

If you see me at any of these events or activities, please come up and say hello. I’d love to listen & learn — from you!

It all starts with a conversation

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