How To Speak At A Cybersecurity Conference

Blog Post

Posted: , by

Henry Dalziel, Co-Founder InfoSec Conferences

– C|EH, Security+, MSc Marketing Management;
– Cybersecurity Pro & Growth Hacker
– Lives in Hong Kong
– Connect on LinkedIn

What’s This Post About?

This post will help you get speaking gigs at Cybersecurity Conferences.

Update: This post used to have 3 methods on how to secure speaking gigs; it is now at 25 and growing!

Speaking At A Conference Is Awesome For Your Career

Anyone who is anyone within Cybersecurity has spoken at a conference. Sure: speaking at a conference will certainly not ‘make or break’ your career, but it will almost certainly give it a boost – that much we can guarantee.

Cybersecurity is one of those subjects in which you simply have to know what you are talking about.

It is a very difficult if not an impossible task in IT Security to ‘BS’ your way around it. Being an authority within a niche is a fantastic idea, and what better way than getting yourself up on the podium to yell and scream your expertise!

The Benefits Of Speaking At A Conference

In summary, we see there as being three main benefits to being a speaker at an InfoSec gig.
Major Career Networking Boost
MEGA Boost To Your Brand
Confidence Builds Confidence!
Update! We’ve done all the hard work for you!
We’ve discovered the contact information for Conferences and Events in the following cities and regions, so, if you live in the following cities you’re in luck!

– London
– New York City
– Washington DC
– Israel

The information contained in our materials we’ve put together includes the contact details and URL’s of where you can submit your information to apply to become a speaker!

Real quick, let’s take each of these three benefits in turn.

If we start with the first one, namely, the Major Career Networking Boost point we can all agree that speaking at a conference creates a very useful (and unique) career networking opportunity. I’ve had ‘firsthand’ experience of this. Having attended dozens of Cybersecurity Conferences in my time I noted that networking is always somewhat of a challenge, i.e. you have to think of a useful and interesting topic with which you can introduce yourself and then of course you have to continue the conversation whilst keeping your mind on the goal of initiating the conversation in the first place. The benefit of speaking is that after your presentation you just walk of the stage and suddenly everyone in the room will know who you are – and – here’s the most awesome part: they come to you!

In fact, when I spoke at a Conference in Hong Kong I was looking for a job in Cybersecurity. Following my talk, I spoke to a few personalities within the crowd and I was offered to ‘come in for a chat’; in other words, speaking at a conference does automatically ‘open certain doors’.

Speaking At A Cybersecurity Conference

The second benefit we listed above was that being a speaker will give a MEGA Boost To Your Brand!

This is a no-brainer.

If you are self-employed or you work for a Fortune company it all looks good. If you look good then your boss will be pleased and you’ll be in everyone’s good books. Can’t hate on that.

The third benefit we list is this: Confidence Builds Confidence! The more confidence you place into something then more you will suddenly acquire and onward and upward your career will go. The main point here is to not be afraid of talking. Just do it!

It’s All About Seeking Out CFP’s
‘CFP’ is an abbreviation for ‘Call For Papers’, (herein ‘CFP’). A CFP means that an InfoSec professional organization and/ or conference organizer is asking the community to submit original, scholarly presentations for review and consideration for being given a speaking slot. A CFP often happens in conjunction with the build-up to a conference. The more popular the event, the more CFP’s typically are submitted.

For example, the events listed in our Top Ten list will have annual CFP offers.

OK, so now that we are clear that there are clearly amazing benefits of speaking at a conference, how do we achieve securing a speaking gig?

Method #1
Get Automated Alerts by using: IFTTT, RSS and Google Drive (Spreadsheets)
This method couldn’t be any easier.

Let the Powerhouse of Google and some API magic from IFTTT do all the work for you.

The point here is that we are going to scrape the entire clearnet (Internet) for every instance of “Cybersecurity” + “CFP”. Google Alerts are as ‘old as the hills’ – but – the killer application here is that this system will populate data on a spreadsheet every time an alert is triggered meaning that you will not be swamped with hundreds of possible email reminders, and, you can check the spreadsheet on a weekly basis to check for upcoming CFP’s. So how is it done?

Step 1
Set up an account with IFTTT (follow this link to learn more about IFTTT). Once you have set up an account create a Google Alert with your desired keywords. The options that you need to select are as follows:

How Often: Select ‘As It Happens’
Sources: Select ‘Automatic’
Language: Select Your Own Language
Region: Selection Your Own Region
How Many: Select ‘All Results’ (You Can Change This Later)
Deliver To: RSS (Selecting ‘RSS’ Is Important)
The image below shows how to create the RSS Feed.

Speaking At A Cybersecurity Conference

Step 2
Go ahead and click the RSS Icon that will give you the URL and make sure that you copy and paste that into a text editor, just like the image below:

Speaking At A Cybersecurity Conference

Step 3
Next, you need to log into IFTTT and create what is called a recipe. To do that you select ‘Create A Receipe’ and type ‘RSS’ in the search field just like the image below.

Speaking At A Cybersecurity Conference

Step 4
Following from the paste the RSS URL (which is actually an XML Link) into the RSS IFTTT Box just like below:

Speaking At A Cybersecurity Conference

Step 5
The final step in this process is to link the RSS Feed to your Google Drive Spreadsheet. The awesome thing is that every time there is an alert for a CFP anywhere in the world, your personal (or company shared spreadsheet) will be populated with where, when and who is seeking speakers and/ or candidates to speak or at least contribute for speaking events at conferences.

Step 6
The final step in this process is to link the RSS Feed to your Google Drive Spreadsheet.

The awesome thing is that every time there is an alert for a CFP anywhere in the world, your personal (or company shared spreadsheet) will be populated with where, when and who is seeking speakers and/ or candidates to speak or at least contribute for speaking events at conferences.

Speaking At A Cybersecurity Conference

That’s it!

The key thing is to monitor the quality of data that is piped in (and of course tweak the RSS Keywords by repeating the above steps) but once you are happy with it then you’ll be good for entire year and beyond!

Method #2
BSides & HackerSpace Would Make Excellent Places To Get Yourself ‘Known’
Most cities around the world have a BSides or a ‘HackerSpaces’ event.

For those that don’t know about BSides you can visit their main site here and heck – we’ve even interviewed the co-founder Jack Daniel!

Why Are We Recommending BSides?
There are two reasons why we’d absolutely recommend speaking at a BSides event.

Firstly: there is a very strong change you’ll be able to speak. The reason for this is because BSides are not ‘vendor’ pitches; they are affordable, and they are very approachable. In fact, BSides would be an excellent plan to ‘break your cherry!’

In fact, in our interview with Jack Daniel, he actually outlines what typical BSides organizers are looking for.

Some BSides events are bigger than others. BSides London, BSides NYC and BSidesLV (Las Vegas) for example are three of the largest events in the roster so don’t be disappointed if you don’t get in first time.

The other reason why we’d really recommend BSides is because the name ‘identity’ carries respect within the ‘real’ Cybersecurity community. If you are genuinely involved in the community then you’ll have heard about BSides.

Method #3
Use The Power Of LinkedIn!
Here’s another no-brainer.

First off, search for Cybersecurity Conferences that you’d like to speak at. Our InfoSec Events resource for events in 2017 or 2018 would be a great place to start.

Then, create a list of the events that you’d love to be associated with, here are two wild and random examples: TROOPERS in Germany and You Shot The Sheriff in Brazil!

Next, simply crack open LinkedIn and find the founder or co-founder of the event and contact them expressing your enthusiasm and your proposal for a talk. I’d really recommend that you take a look at previous talks to get a sense of what they are looking for. As long as there is synergy and you are keeping with their culture your efforts will likely be rewarded with a speaking gig!

For example, a very simple search of ‘Founder + Conference’ resulted in two people’s names, but clearly you can get a lot more granular than that and start searching for specific cities and more. Again, a great place to start your research would be here.

Speaking At A Cybersecurity Conference

Method #4
Use The Power Of Your Own Network
It’s very likely that you already have your own network, why not ask them if they belong in a group which you might also be able to contribute to.

An idea to do this on autodrive is to set up a Buffer Account and then spin out a bunch of posts asking whether anyone ‘knows of any speaking gigs’.

Method #5
Mentor – Your Local University or College
If you are really new to the speaking game, or perhaps you are looking to ‘test your audience’ then contacting your local University or college would be an excellent place to try out your research. Universities and colleges often put up talks about the development and progression of technology to give their students a first hand experience in hearing about these things from experts. Start by asking your own alma mater about possibly speaking in front of their students to get one foot in the door.

Your audience will likely be very interested in what you have to say and they will also provide you with some excellent feedback. When you decide to approach larger and more established IT Security events then they’ll respect the fact that you spoke at a University.

High schools also sometimes come up with speaking conferences. This is mostly done to help incoming University students decide what course they would like to get a degree on. Computer programming is definitely one of the main topics needed to cover.

Method #6
Job Fairs
With the number of people who are seeking jobs, jobs fairs have become a quarterly event companies join in. Some job fairs offer speaking engagements for businesses to be able to put their companies out there. This is a good way to introduce yourself to new comers in your field.

Method #7
Company-Hosted Seminars
Companies also host seminars, especially for businesses that are open to new services that are not traditional to them. If this is something you are able to offer, contact their Human Resources department to pitch in your idea. It would be even better if you knew someone who worked with them to help you get their contact numbers.

Method #8
Business Networking Groups
These networking groups meet up every so often to talk about bringing business opportunities to other members who may or may not be in the same field. Becoming a part of this group enables you to reach out to more people and eventually land a speaking gig for their own teams.

Method #9
Special Interest Clubs on Computer Programming or Hacking
This is somewhat similar to ‘Method 2’ (BSides events) in that all you need to do is to discover special interest clubs that you can approach to offer your services.

With Facebook, for example, you can quickly find these groups and propose a time and place to share about your expertise. Just be sure to counter-check if these groups are credible and legitimate before pitching in your idea.

Method #10
Local Business Publications
Local business publications are another medium you can use to search for speaking gigs. They usually post upcoming events and if you see an event that may be similar to what you are looking for, you can pitch to these event organizers to let you join their speaking engagements.

Method #11
Online Conference Directories
There are various online conference directories you can visit to see what conferences are happening in and around your area.

Here are a few of them: AllConferences.com, Lanyrd.com and Conferize.com. Check out what they’ve listed and see if there is any conference you can be part of.

Method #12
Print Magazines
It’s highly likely that you’re signed up to a print magazine that’s all about computers. These magazines will be listing upcoming events – conferences, seminars, meet-ups – that are targeted to people who have a passion for computers. Check out what’s happening and sign up to join!

Method #13
Online Magazines
Similar to print magazines, online magazines list upcoming events. Check out the likes of mashable.com and inc.com/events for more information.

Method #14
Vendors
Your own suppliers can be a ticket to a speaking engagement. Their target audience will definitely be interested in the service that you give. When these vendors come up with speaking engagements, be sure to ask them if you could be part of it.

Method #15
Online Tools/ Social Media Platforms
Though we’ve listed Facebook and Linkedin, you can also use Twitter’s search engine or IG’s geography pinning in finding out what’s up in your field. Do not underestimate the power of sharing on social media because you’ll probably find an event or a conference you can be part of through these platforms.

Method #16
Speaker Directories
If Linkedin’s goal is to find job opportunities for you, Speaker Services and Speaker Zones goal is to find a speaking engagement for you based on your line of expertise.

Method #17
Free Speaking Engagements
If you’re still establishing a name for yourself, offering free speaking seminars can help you land more in the future. You can start by contacting companies and offering to speak on computer programming for free.

Method #18
Toastmasters International
Toastmasters is a non-profit organization wherein speakers are supported by like-minded individuals to further improve their public speaking skills. You’ll definitely find people who have spoken to conferences you can be part of.

Method #19
Sign up on Meetup.com
Meetup.com is sort of like Facebook for speakers. Based on your skills and interests, you can join similar groups of people to talk with. You can initiate these talks and eventually, possibly, spearhead your own conference.

Method #20
Trade Associations
If you’ve got something huge to say, target the bigger conferences. Associations can allow you to speak in front of thousands of computer enthusiasts and experts. Just find the educational or local programming contact, shoot them an email and score a sit-down meeting. You can also opt to send a video demo to help land a speaking spot.

Method #21
InsideInfoMarketing.com
InsideInfoMarketing.com is a website that lists down events and seminars that are frequently graced upon by marketing leaders. Landing a speaking gig here is definitely a win.

Method #22
EventBrite.com
EventBrite.com is a cool site that enlists events, seminars and conferences you can visit based on your preferred topics. You can score a speaking gig through this site by just joining and creating your event.

Method #23
SkillsMatter.com
Similar to EventBrite.com, SkillsMatter.com is a community-based website that allows you to find venues you can speak. You can also put up your own seminars and have people who are interested in the topics you are covering join.

Method #24
Sign up on GigSalad.com
Conference organizers sometimes go to GigSalad.com to find possible and suitable speakers based on the range of topics they want to cover. Though the site is open to various talents ranging from public speakers to cater waiters, putting your name out there is still a good way of getting a legit gig.

Method #25
Lastly, Here Are Some Other Resources For You To Seek Speaking Opportunities
And finally, here are some resources which we recommend that will get you going in finding InfoSec speaking engagements.

Go ahead and click through to these evergreen resources that are constantly piping out requests for CFP’s.

Resource Overview
WikiCFP WikiCFP is a semantic wiki for Calls For Papers in science and technology fields. There are about 50,000 CFPs on WikiCFP. Over 100,000 researchers use WikiCFP each month.
CFP List Welcome to CFPList.com! Our hope is that CFPlist.com will facilitate new scholarship in the Humanities and Social Sciences by organizing and highlighting conference opportunities to share academic work, receive scholarly feedback, and network professionally. CFPList.com is developed and maintained by Derick Ariyam and Michael Becker.
Elsevier Syngress Cybersecurity Sngress offers a wide range of books and eBooks including basic computer security to highly-advanced hacking, digital forensics and engineering, offering readers high-quality, practical information helping industry professionals and academics stay ahead of the competition.
InfoSec Conferences The World’s #1 Cybersecurity Conference Listing Directory
In Summary
There you have it – our four methods to get you speaking at a Cybersecurity Conference.

Let us know if any of these methods helped you and as ever, we’d be delighted to hear back from you!

Good Luck.

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.