SearchLove San Diego 2020: Community Speaker Applications Now Open

Are you looking to secure your first speaking gig? Maybe you’ve done a couple of local meetups and are looking to share your knowledge in front of a bigger audience. Well good news, applications for community speaker sessions for SearchLove San Diego 2020 are now open! Not sure what our community speaker sessions are about? Read on.

If you would love the opportunity to speak in front of 250 people in sunny San Diego then we’d love to hear from you. We are on the lookout for speakers who:

  • Are San Diego locals (no further than 2-2.5 hours drive from the venue). We want to support the community where our conference runs and help speakers raise their local profile.
  • Are looking to get more speaking experience and willing to work with the Distilled team to take their presentation skills to the next level. Over the last year, we’ve had first time speakers, those who have done one or two meetups and those that are looking to push themselves to new levels.
  • Are available to join us at SearchLove San Diego on March 26 & 27, 2020.

When you’ve had a read of everything that follows, swing by our form and apply for a space. You’ve got until December 17, 2019, to apply.

Apply to speak at SearchLove San DIego

What’s in it for us and our audience?

Our events team spends a huge amount of time looking for the best speakers across the industry. We often invite back speakers who wow our audience, but we also want to find speakers that no-one has seen before. This could be a great speaker in a related field but who are underexposed in the search industry, or it could be a talented individual who is looking for their first speaking opportunity.

We’re looking to build long-term relationships with all of our speakers, and that means inviting community speakers back for full speaking slots, and we’ve already seen this in action with Luke Carthy and Andi Jarvis in London, and we have invited Francine Rodriguez to join us in San Diego (she was a community speaker at SearchLove Boston 2019).

Additionally, the shorter 20-minute sessions bring a little less pressure and allow our community speakers to hyper-focus their talks, bringing new perspectives and viewpoints that we might not be able to get from our more experienced speakers. We want to see hands-on advanced advice from practitioners who are doing the work every day.

What’s in it for you?

We’ve already seen some of 2019’s community speakers quickly secure slots on major industry stages including MozCon and Inbound. Even better, they’ve come back and said they wouldn’t have been able to do it without the help and advice from our team. Rather than taking our word for what you will get, we asked our previous community speakers what they took from applying.

Laura Hogan - Milos Mail

“This experience completely changed the way I deliver my talks. No one had ever critiqued my decks to this extent before or given such detailed feedback - and it was invaluable.  Because of the advice from the Distilled team, I'm now speaking at two events I've never done before this year!"

James Corr - Seer Interactive

"I knew speaking at SearchLove would be valuable for me, but I really underestimated the amount of time, effort and direction that the Distilled team provided. They were beyond instrumental in making my presentation a success for both myself and the audience. While they let me drive and own the presentation/content their willingness to meet with me, go through dry runs and give me feedback proved to be a huge learning experience for myself that I'll take with me for the rest of my career.

Francine Rodriguez - WordStream

“This experience was like going through speaker bootcamp. You think you know your stuff until you get this team of experts dissecting everything. Now I know it was what I needed! I have picked up on great advice about deck design and presentation delivery that I will continue to apply in future talks. Out of all the advice, I think the one that hit home the most is how you start out a talk. You need to create a moment that draws the audience in and makes them want to listen.”

Here’s the full package you’ll receive if you are successful (along with your 20 minutes on stage!):

  1. Introduction call with the Distilled team
  2. Multiple video calls to run through your presentation with the Distilled team and get feedback
  3. Deck review and content call to bounce around your session ideas
  4. 1 to 1 ongoing support from a Distilled team member
  5. Final in-person review with myself and the Distilled team in San Diego before the conference
  6. VIP ticket to attend SearchLove San Diego including attending the VIP dinner with all the other speakers the night before the conference
  7. A nice bunch of Distilled and SearchLove swag

Apply to speak at SearchLove San DIego

We are extremely excited to be bringing this scheme back to our US events in 2020, we want to give this opportunity to local folks, and so we'll only be accepting pitches from applicants living within the San Diego area (2-2.5 hours drive from the venue) for this particular conference.

Through this process, we are hopeful that we can tap into a more diverse pool of speakers with different backgrounds and experiences. We work hard to ensure our conferences are diverse with all of our conferences in 2019 being represented by a 50/50 split between male and female speakers.

We’re also serious about building a safe, inclusive and welcoming environment for our speakers and delegates and have a code of conduct in place at all of our events.

We aim to continue to lead the way on both of these fronts with our conferences. So, regardless of gender or background, we encourage you to submit an application to join us.

A note on the video requirement

You will note that the application form asks for a video. We are very aware that not everyone has professionally-shot footage of themselves speaking on stage. That’s okay. It’s also impossible for us to see how someone will perform on stage through a form submission. This video is an opportunity for you to show your personality and a little bit of stagecraft. 

To be clear, we are not expecting you to put together a professionally-lit and shot promo video. We want to see your enthusiasm, public speaking capability, and maybe a bit of your depth of knowledge. A selfie video shot on a mobile phone can totally do the job, but think about how you are going to stand out from the crowd. Once you have recorded the video upload it to a hosting platform such as Google Drive, Wistia, YouTube or Vimeo and share the URL in your application form (make sure you change the viewing permissions so we can see the video!)

In order to avoid asking you to do something I wouldn’t be prepared to do myself, I’ve recorded a short pitch myself. You can see that it’s shot on a phone, and didn’t use any editing:

A personal note

I’ve seen in my own career how powerful it has been to get better at public speaking and I’ve had tons of opportunities come my way from my talks. Having run successful Community Speaker programs in all of our SearchLove cities now, and seen our speakers go on to all the top conferences in the industry and even return to full SearchLove speaking gigs, I know that we can help more people on this journey.

The biggest things I’ve seen people need to be successful with public speaking are:

  1. Getting started. I was lucky enough to get started at our own (then tiny) events, and this is one of our ways of paying it forward.
  2. Practice and repetition. I used to go to a weekly breakfast networking event that forced a weekly 1-minute presentation and regular 10-minute presentations. Do anything a lot and you’ll find yourself improving.
  3. Someone to give you honest feedback. Our team has done this many times over for each other, and they’re ready to do it for you too.

I would strongly encourage you to think about the actual requirements. Don’t fall prey to imposter syndrome: are there things you are passionate about, where you have deep hands-on knowledge, and where you can teach even an experienced audience new things? If so, don’t sweat your speaking experience - let us be the judge of potential and get your application in.

How to apply

You’ll need to tell us:

  • Why you’d like to speak at SearchLove San Diego
  • Where you are based
  • What your speaking experience looks like so far, don’t worry if you have none or relatively little, in fact, this could be the perfect opportunity for you
  • What topic you’d like to talk about - the more specific and actionable a topic you can describe, the better
  • Remember, the closing date for applications is December 17, 2019

Apply to speak at SearchLove San DIego

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About the author
Will Critchlow

Will Critchlow

Will founded Distilled with Duncan in 2005. Since then, he has consulted with some of the world’s largest organisations and most famous websites, spoken at most major industry events and regularly appeared in local and national press. For the...   read more