As you may have seen last Friday, Support Driven Summit is official! That means it’s time to start the exciting process of gathering speakers to share your experiences and lessons with other leaders in support. As we have done since the very first SUPCONF event, we are eager to provide guidance for speakers through the SD Talk Development program.

The Talk Development program is designed to provide support to speakers on your journey to the Support Driven Summit stage. Public speaking can be an exciting and somewhat nerve-wracking experience, and nearly every speaker we’ve encountered agrees there is always something they’d like to improve on.

The Talk Development Program provides an opportunity for speakers to work with a Talk Editor who will be by your side through each stage of the process. The program includes milestones, an agreement between Support Driven and the speaker, and a pairing of community members (Talk Editors) with speakers throughout the lead-up to the event.

With Summit we are focused on fostering discussion and delivering value: actionable, relevant content that is useful to conference attendees who are leaders in Customer Support, Success, and Operations. Summit will include two types of talks:

  • In-depth case studies
  • Lightning talks

Through the Talk Development program, volunteer Talk Editors will mentor, offer guidance, and help speakers refine their talks to surface lessons applicable to attendees.

Call For Proposals (CFP): Case-studies and Lightning talks

Summit case studies:

  • Are 1 hour 15 minutes long.
  • Introduce a challenging scenario that you, the speaker, have faced.
  • Incorporate small group problem-solving activities based on your scenario for attendees to share how they would approach it – like a choose your own adventure story!
  • Include an element of story, specifically: how you approached the situation in your circumstance, and what the outcome was.
  • Include lessons relevant to a broad range of companies and company types.
  • Focus on one of these four areas:
    • Customer Support
    • Customer Success
    • Operations
    • Leading People

Summit Lightning talks:

  • Are 5 minutes and 20 slides. Slides will auto-advance every 15 seconds.
  • Have no theme requirement.
  • Include an element of story.
  • Introduce 1 potent takeaway relevant to Summit attendees

With such a short length of time, there’s not a minute to waste. Your statements should be succinct, and your slides should be snappy! For context and resources on Lightning Talks, please see the announcement from when they made their Support Driven debut at SUPCONF NYC.

What you’ll get as a speaker

If we accept your application and you complete the weekly tasks outlined below, you’ll present at Support Driven Leadership Summit October 29-30 in Boston, MA.

You will receive:

  • 1 complimentary pass to Summit for yourself.
  • 1 complimentary pass to Summit for you to give to anyone of your choosing. We want you to be able to bring a friendly face with you and have an opportunity to share the Summit experience with others in support leadership.
  • Up to $500 reimbursement for travel/lodging.
  • 1 coupon for $200 off the regular ticket price to the conference for you to share with friends, colleagues, and any professional audiences (social media, newsletters, etc.). (Coupon good through August 31).
  • Mentoring and guidance to develop your ideas, story, workshop, and call to action.

In appreciation of your willingness to apply to speak at Summit, if you apply but are not selected to speak, we will share a special discount code with you to receive your ticket for $200 off the full ticket price (coupon good through August 31).

Your commitments

You agree that if we accept your application:

  • You will commit via email to the Talk Development program and the milestones below.
  • You will participate in regular check-ins with your Talk Editor.
  • You (or your employer) will cover your travel and accommodation costs.
  • You will follow our code of conduct.
  • We may use your name and photo to promote the conference.
  • We may record your talk and slides (audio, video, photography) for use in social media, marketing, sales and distribution.


You agree to take part on these dates:

  • July 8, 2018: Speaker applications close at 11:59pm PST.
  • July 23, 2018: We will notify you as to whether your proposal has been accepted.
  • July 30: Begin working with your Talk Editor from the Summit Talk Development program.
  • October 1: Deadline for final slides.
  • October 8: Opportunities for online rehearsals.
  • October 28: Walk-through at the venue.
  • October 29-31: Support Driven Leadership Summit, Boston

How to apply

To complete the application form:

  • Choose one of the themes for case-studies: Customer Support, Customer Success, Operations, Leading People.
  • Submit a title.
  • Write a brief pitch that summarizes your session in a few sentences and that addresses what others will learn from it. Here are some resources for developing your pitch. The best pitches will:
    • solve a problem relevant to Customer Support, Success, Operations, and People leaders.
    • focus on 1 or 2 key takeaways.
    • support your claims with evidence and story.
    • inspire action.
    • use proper spelling, grammar, and punctuation.

Please note that if you work for a company that sells a product related to the topic, your proposal will not be accepted.

Speaker Applications close July 8. Applicants will hear an answer by July 23.

Photo courtesy of Gavin Whitner of Music Oomph.

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