The Golden Ticket: How to Land a Speaker Slot at Mobile World Congress 2015

Credit: Joseph Francis
Credit: Joseph Francis

Mobile World Congress: It’s the world’s largest exhibition for the mobile industry, which we all know now covers everything from wearable technologies to cars and the future of computing. In fact, the event draws more than 85,000 visitors from 201 countries to Barcelona for four days of flashy product launches, executive presentations and networking after parties. Or put another way, it’s up there with CES as the kind of event that almost every technology company in the world wants to present at.

To help you land a much coveted speaking role at Mobile World Congress 2015 (March 2-5, 2015), we wanted to share the really helpful guidance that the content team at GSMA (the group that puts on MWC) has put together:

1.    Think Bigger than a Speaker Abstract

What: The MWC team doesn’t just rely on speaker abstracts and instead is hosting a series of Research Open DaysThis allows the content team to meet one-on-one with industry executives to get a sense of what is happening, changing, exciting, or scary in the market that will drive the mobile industry over the next year.

Why: If your company has never participated at MWC, this is your chance to get on the content team’s radar and get feedback on your MWC speaking submission (call for papers is June 26 – September 12). They will also gauge what the executive would be like on stage, so consider this a rehearsal for American Idol and you are going in the right direction.

How: They schedule a total of 60 briefings on Tuesdays and Thursdays in July and August, with three slots per day – 10:00 – 11:00, 2:00 – 3:00 & 4:00 – 5:00 [London time]. Register your interest here and you’ll be notified between May 22 and June 5 if you’re selected for a Research Open Day.

2.    Take 360 Degree Approach

What: A regional conference series that takes place in six countries between September and December. It’s highly focused on thought leadership and networking and does not include exhibitions like MWC. The North American event will take place September 22-23 in Atlanta and will focus on connected living and mobile commerce.

Why: Participate in this event to improve your chances of being selected for MWC 2015 and to give the content team a sneak peek at what your exec is like on stage.

How: Submit an idea during call for papers, June 9 – July 25.

3.    Think Beyond the Smartphone

What: There have been two major audience shifts at Mobile World Congress:

  1. As “digital” seeps well beyond telecom into industries like media, advertising, automotive and many others, thought leaders from these industries are increasingly attending MWC.
  2. The conference is attracting a more senior audience (50% C-level) who already know how mobile technology works, but want to know how to integrate it with their business.

Why: To cater for this expanding audience, GSMA is now including more cross-ecosystem participants in the speaking circuit.

How: There’s no one way to skin a cat here and instead, the key thing is to think creatively about how you can tell the most compelling story:

–       Offer a fresh format. One year someone brought robotic dancing bears – they want more of this. Suggest an on stage interview, fireside chat, panel discussion or demonstration.

–       Include an operator as co-speaker if your client is a software, hardware or IT company. This helps the content team better fit you in the program.

–       Focus on answering questions like:

  • How do you build X into financing?
  • How do you integrate X with legacy?
  • What are product strategies going forward for big vendors?

–      Submit multiple executives and multiple ideas. This is encouraged. But cap it at 3.

Want help building your story or securing coveted speaker slots at events like Mobile World Congress? Let us know and we’d be happy to discuss how we can help.