The many benefits of speaking at conferences

This post is Day #9 in a series called Personal Branding for Software Developers.

Up until this point my articles in this series have focused on using digital social networking tools to help you build your personal brand. However, the next two articles will focus on the more traditional face-to-face social networking that was prevalent before the advent of computers and the internet. I am talking specifically about conferences and personal networking.

I am sure many readers have attended conferences in the past. They could be general IT conferences or ones specific to software developers. Generally most people tend to stick with whom they came with. They go to the same presentations, eat together and don’t mingle too much with the other attendees. However, conferences are an excellent way to get your brand out there. You just need to be in front of the audience and not within it.

Speaking at conferences is an ideal way to further your personal brand. You gain exposure as an expert in your field to many people at once. You have an audience that you can connect with and many of these people will only be hearing of you for the first time. If you make an impact on them the likelihood is that these people will tweet or blog about your presentation.

Any publicity you gain from people talking about you is excellent. It means you will gain new followers on Twitter and your blog. This will only increase your visibility and further establish yourself as an expert in your field. This could mean that you are asked to speak at more conferences. As your profile grows you could find yourself authoring books. It is also an excellent way to gain more business. It could even lead to a promotion or a new job.

Some people will only want to travel to conferences if it is paid for by their employer. While some conferences will reimburse expenses for speakers most will not and instead provide speakers free entry into the conference. So you must determine if the expense is worth it to you. At larger IT conferences the exposure in free advertising you gain as a speaker can be worth more than the cost of your travel expenses.

Another benefit to speaking at conferences is that you have the opportunity to share your knowledge. You can provide a unique insight into a problem that many people are experiencing. They are coming to your session because of what you have to say. That is nice feeling to have. As well, by speaking it is reinforcing your knowledge of the subject since there is no way to learn something than to teach it to others.

After you have made your presentation you can still gain exposure from it using two social media tools. You can share your slide deck on SlideShare – a free service where people can view and download PowerPoint slide presentations. This is another online tool that can help build your personal brand since you could promote your SlideShare profile along with your other social media sites. And as I mentioned in my talk on LinkedIn you can also add a SlideShare widget to your LinkedIn profile to promote your presentations. A second way to publicize your presentations can be if you decide to videotape them and then upload them to YouTube so that people can watch them without having attended the conference.

I would encourage everyone to think about presenting at a conference. (A list of upcoming conferences can always be found on Lanyrd.) It will allow you to announce your personal brand to a large audience. It also means as a presenter you are more likely to interact with conference attendees on a more personal level. And this interaction could open new doors for you and your career.

Related Articles:

10 tips on submitting a conference session proposal

About Ken Cenerelli
I am a technical writer/programmer writer/content developer, .NET developer, Microsoft MVP, public speaker, blogger, and Microsoft Azure nerd. I blog about technology at and am on Twitter via @KenCenerelli.

2 Responses to The many benefits of speaking at conferences

  1. Pingback: 10 tips on submitting a conference session proposal | Ken Cenerelli

  2. Pingback: Tech Conference CFPs: Where To Find Them | Ken Cenerelli

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