How do you become a speaker at a startup event?

27 Sep 2014
| Last update: 06 Oct 2015

Ever been to a startup event that turned your life around? All that happened was you took a seat, relaxed and opened your ears. What you heard, however, made all the difference. It changed the way you saw yourself, your dreams, your startup, your team. It gave you courage, ambition and hope. In the end, you didn’t say thank you to the great speaker just by joining in the general round of applause, you joined in with your heart. You thanked him with the whole of your heart.

And you looked up to that great speaker and wondered: what would it be like if you became a speaker at such an event?

It’s not just any type of event: it’s a startup event. Be prepared!

startup event[ Photo credits: Tech Cocktail’s Flickr ]

Becoming a speaker at a start-up events is actually not that simple. You need to consider this carefully. I’m not asking you if you’ve got what it takes, because I think that even if you’re an introvert or a shy person, if you really want to do and achieve something, you’ll do it in the end.

What I’m telling you to be careful about are a few facts, concerning yourself from a professional point of view, and the start-up event itself. In other words, I want you to be prepared and become a great speaker, by taking responsibility of your actions. So, here’s what you should think about:

  • And you want to be a startup event speaker because… Hold your horses! Stop and consider. What’s your reason of becoming a speaker? Is it just to impress and achieve fame, possibly money or other egocentric, narcissistic, useless rewards? If that’s the case, don’t start it. You don’t stand a chance of becoming a great speaker. Sure, you’ll convince some, some will fall in love with you or your flawless technique, but you’ll never achieve what every great speaker should aim at: you’ll never win hearts and make people’s eyes sparkle with the fire burning inside of you. You should become a startup event speaker because of your belief. Believe in that event, in yourself, in your message, in the people out there and the startup. Only than proceed.
  • Take a look at your schedule. You need to be very organized and realize that becoming an adept speaker at a start-up event will mean  investing about 30% of your time in preparing for the event. See if your startup allows you to take this time off and maybe pass some of your responsibilities to others. Otherwise, think twice.
  • Plan! Plan! Plan! The truth is you can’t just get into this head over hills. If you want to be an inspiring, persuasive and deep speaker at a startup event, try to make a plan before-hand and respect it to the mark. This plan should include the theme you want to hold the speech on, your research and ideas on the subject, your style and technique of delivering the speech, the way in which you organize your time before the event, how many hours a day or a week you practice, and you should also note your goals.
  • What’s your goal? If, as I’ve just told you, you believe in something and you go there to tell and convince people about your belief, to inspire and raise their hopes, it’s easier to define your goal. Take a white sheet of paper and put it down. It’s always better to have a clear and clean statement of your goal.

Invest in these qualities

Ellen Finkelstein gives us 12 qualities of a charismatic speaker showing us how we should be if we want to be charismatic speakers. Among her best characteristics number self-confidence, happiness, inspiration, honesty and energy. I think this is great. Who doesn’t want to see an inspiring person talking to them, spreading positive energy in their direction, animating the scene and freely offering happy thoughts?

Easier said than done. You can’t just say you want to be a charismatic speaker, take a sheet of paper and make a list of these qualities you should have. And whenever you think you completed one you check it on the list. This is highly far-fetched.

So, how can you invest in these qualities?

First of all, everyone has good parts and bad parts. I’m not saying if it’s not black, it’s white. That’s the idea, you can perfect and improve your “bad” parts, so as to use them to your advantage. Everyone has some redeeming qualities. Think about yours and impress by using them.

But in order to do this, you need to discover who you are and come to accept yourself, yes, that’s right, with flaws and mistakes. Only by knowing yourself, what you’re good at and what you’re not so good at, can you reach self-confidence and respect for your person.

Think that by doing this, however hard though it may seem, you will be able to convey your belief to them, because a person who doesn’t believe in themselves would never make others believe in what they have to say.

Conveying positive energy, by being happy, lively, humorous and energetic, means living a state of positive energy. In order to achieve this, you need to think in the long run. At this point, it’s not only the startup event that interests you. It’s your life and future. You need to eat healthily, to do regular work-out, to put your mind to good rest, to try and keep stress out of your life, and in whatever you do, to create for yourself a positive, healthy environment.

Ellie Finkelstein’s list also pointed out the need to be “knowledgeable” about the subject, in this case the theme you present at the startup event, and the need to stand by an opinion, to not stumble and to be organized.

This is not so hard to achieve, if you think about it, once you uplift your self-esteem and assurance, it will all come natural. But you can’t just fly on destiny’s wings. Once again, I tell you: be prepared, make a plan and a schedule, practice several times.

What it takes: belief and spontaneitystartup event

[ Photo credits: Tech Cocktail’s Flickr ]

It can sometimes seem really daunting when you make a speech. It is meant to be inspiring, intriguing, surprinsing, humorous, to engage the audience, you name it. But you make draft after draft, you practice in front of the mirror, or maybe a chair, I don’t know what you prefer, and you constantly look at your watch, so as to meet your deadline, but the fact is you no longer see this as an enjoyable experience, but as a burden. You might come across moments when you’d feel like you should never have wanted to become a speaker.

So, what’s there left to do?

I say belief in who you are and your subject, and a little bit of spontaneity. And don’t reply you’re not a spontaneous person. The fact is, no matter how organized, pragmatic and rational you are, you’re not able to foresee anything and everything that will happen at a startup event. So allow for a bit of spontaneity.

After the research is done, the notes are done, your presentation is done, scribble a few notes on a paper, gather some friends, take the position of the speaker, and start your time. Try and speak naturally about your subject. Speak with your heart, from the depth of the belief. If a question flies in, stop your speech and answer it. Do something great with it. Spontaneity is playful and intriguing. Your audience will adore you. Look at your notes from time to time, to assure you’re not missing the essential information, but speak freely and honestly. Be yourself and you’ll be a great start-up event speaker!

Great speakers at startup events

From time to time, we all need inspiration. So, I decided to give you insight into the lives of some astounding great speakers, following Dharmesh Shah‘s article about The 7 speakers even this introvert will go see at INBOUND 14. One of this great speakers is Sean Ellis, who coined the term growth hacking. This man believes in the passion that drives the customers, investors and founders of a startup. So, this belief is what he seeks to transmit to others. Another great speaker is Hiten Shah( from KISSMetrics and CrazyEgg), who has become a great influencer today, and he’s done this because of his great belief and priority, that of helping people. This is what bides people come to him.

Now that you have the method, the advice and some great examples, all you need to become a speaker at a startup event is your desire and belief. So, what have you decided?

Ligia Mangra
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Ligia Mangra

Content Writer at Squirrly
A passionate writer. I love seeing a full moon and I like to rock 'n roll in life. Can't wait till my first novel gets published. Thumbs up, it'll be a fantasy horror!
Ligia Mangra
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