Here’s a quick tip that will boost the rate at which your talk proposals are accepted: include proof that you’re a good speaker.

I like to use tweets that praise my previous talks. When someone says something particularly flattering, I save a link. This is doubly true if they’re well-known within the community.

I include the best three with every proposal I send in. I’ll say something simple like “Here’s some feedback I received after a recent talk: [links to flattering things said by cool people].”

Not only are testimonials effective on their own, they’re doubly effective because no one uses them. This makes your application stand out. (You want to stand out.)

Oh, and if you’re brand new to speaking, here’s a plan for going from zero to speaking at a competitive conference:

  1. Create a talk. Work hard. Practice a ton.
  2. Present to your coworkers.
  3. Ask for honest feedback. Shape the talk with it.
  4. Present to your local meetup.
  5. Ask the audience for honest feedback and to tweet if they liked it.
  6. Save the tweets. Apply the feedback.
  7. Apply to your dream conference. Include the tweets.
  8. Get accepted. Prepare to crush it. Email me if you’re freaking out.