💡 The Drop Out Strategy: What to say if your speaker application gets rejected

Ft. Tim Ferris

Back in 2007, Tim Ferris was a complete unknown.

He’d just finished writing the 4 Hour Work Week and he had this dream of launching the book at SXSW.

So he did what any aspiring thought leader should do. Pitch the conference organiser who told him that there were no speaking slots left.

His response?

I will take anything available.
Corner of a room, hallway…

If there are any cancellations, I would really appreciate the opportunity to speak at the event.

Tim Ferris

He then turns up as an attendee anyway (which very few would do), only to find out that a sponsor (who'd paid to speak) had pulled out.

The 53 minute keynote slot was now his.

Tim Ferris speaking at SXSW in 2007

I have seen this strategy used multiple times over the years to land life-changing talks - including TEDx.

The worst case scenario?

The curator will remember you, and respect you more. Because I can assure you, having personally sifted through 800+ applications to speak in my time, I can count on one hand the number of times a rejected speaker has used this strategy.

In fact, just last month, a MicDrop member used this exact strategy and found herself delivering an impromptu keynote at CTOCraft.

She turned up...

Bumped into the organiser who was stressing about missing speakers...
20 minutes later she was speaking in front of 400 people.

This is why we host a couple of Open Mics every week for our members.

If you’re interested in joining MicDrop, my community for tomorrow’s thought leaders, the October cohort is filling up nicely. In fact, I’m holding calls over the next couple of weeks for those who are interested in joining.

Alex