Speaking at Safety Conference Can Build Your Safety Career

Upon entering the world of safety, public speaking might not be one of the things you’re expecting to do because it isn’t essential to your core responsibilities. But, becoming a public speaker can help you solidify your career in safety.

In this short article, we will talk about how public speaking will help you, how to become one, and how to maximize your engagements as a speaker. Let’s dive into it!

Public Speaking Makes You an Authority

When you’re out there, standing on the stage during conventions and assemblies, you instantly become an authority whether you like it or not. People who have seen you speak will turn to you for questions or comments about the subject matter. This gives you that feeling of credibility. And because people engage with you, your network grows. They will turn to you in case they need a speaker or a consultant.

Public speaking is also a great way of teaching yourself. To effectively teach others when public speaking, you first need to have a deep understanding of the subject matter. Why? Because you won’t be able to teach someone effectively if you do not understand the subject first. It’s like trying to become a translator for a language that you can’t speak. Also, while speaking, you will see gaps in your explanations and therefore be able to improve your understanding of the subject.

When public speaking, leadership skills are also being developed. Because as a speaker, you’re not just teaching them but you’re also trying to point them in a certain direction or goal. Also, during question and answer portions, interactions will improve your way of speaking and demeanor.

Anyone Can Be a Public Speaker

Now, you might think that public speaking in safety conventions and assemblies is only open to those who have a long list of achievements and experience in the field. No, it isn’t. Anyone can be a speaker. You just need to ask the organizers of the event and submit a proposal.

Now, to be fair, you will face rejections especially if you’re planning to speak at national conventions and events. Still, you can opt for smaller events, like local safety meetings and assemblies, just to have a feel for public speaking and build up more credibility. What matters is you don’t give up and keep submitting proposals for a chance to become a speaker.

Maximize Engagements After Speaking

Once you’ve been approved as a speaker and accomplished it, make sure to maximize every chance you get to use it. Put it in your resume. Highlight it on your LinkedIn profile.

Another important way of maximizing it is by informing your boss that you are a public speaker for safety. This builds your image as a safety professional therefore earning you more authority inside the company.

Take Action

In summary, public speaking is a great way to solidify your safety career. So, go ahead! Don’t be afraid to try it out. And don’t forget to maximize all the benefits and advantages that you can get as a public speaker.

How Speaking at a Safety Conference Can Advance Your Career

Safety Brye: [00:00:00] Hey, there, safety friends. So have you ever been at a safety conference or seminar or anything and thought? I could do that. Well, I'm here to tell you, not only can you do that, you should be doing that and you need to be doing that. Speaking at safety conferences has so many benefits to your job as well as your career.

So it's something that you should not be ignoring. Hey, there's safety friends. Welcome to The Safety Geek Podcast. I'm Brye Sargent, CSP and 20 year safety professional. After spending years training safety leaders across the globe for a large corporation and creating safety programs from the ground up over and over again, I am now sharing my processes and strategies with you. At The Safety Geek, you will learn how to manage an effective safety program that increases your management support. And employee engagement all the while helping you elevate your

[00:01:00] position and move up in your career. If you're ready to step into the role of a safety influencer and leader, you're in the right place. Let's get to it.

Hey there. My name is Brye Sargent. I'm a CSP and I'm also the safety geek. I help safety employees who are feeling overwhelmed and underappreciated. With the strategies and techniques that turn them into respected safety rockstars. Now today, what I want to talk about is that as you are looking at your safety career and moving up in your safety career, you are likely looking towards training degrees and certifications as a way to beef up your resume and make you stand out among

the sea of applicants out there, but there is one thing that you are likely overlooking that will really make you stand out amongst your peers. What is it?

[00:02:00] It's speaking, it's speaking at a safety conference or speaking at a safety seminar, or even at a local chapter meeting. When you speak at these events, you immediately become an authority in your space.

People start looking to you as the expert, whether you feel like the expert or not, you also gain some leadership points because you are now leading a group of people to change their thoughts and their beliefs and their ideas to what you're teaching them. And even within your own workplace, you are seen as a leader.

There's something different about people who can do public speaking and stand out amongst the crowd. So if you have the ability to do that, it automatically makes you look like a leader. And speaking at these conferences helps you build a stronger network. Everybody in that audience wants to network with the speaker. They want the speaker's contact information. They want to pick their brain about

[00:03:00] what they were talking about, right? It helps you build that stronger network and the stronger your network, the stronger your career. And it also helps you solidify your skills. Have you ever heard the phrase? The best way to learn something is to teach it.

That's what you're doing my safety friend. When you get up there on stage, you're teaching it to a group of people and it helps you even internalize the information yourself, turning you from the novice to the expert internally as well. And on top of it, when you speak at these events, you generally have some amazing benefits.

You know, going to a safety conference can cost anywhere from 600 to 900 to 1500. Speakers typically get a free ticket. So you might not get paid to be a speaker, but you do get the free ticket, which is equivalent to a speaker's fee. And you might even get some extras. Have you ever gone where they give you the name badges with a little ribbon that says speaker? It makes you look really special and it

[00:04:00] makes you stand out. You might also get more CEUs. If you are a CSP like me or unique continuing education units to keep your certification, you actually get additional CEUs when you are a speaker. So there are a lot of benefits to speak as well. So. How do you become a speaker?

I'll tell you, it is so much easier than you think. All you have to do is ask. If you already attend a local chapter or safety council type meeting, all you do is have to ask the person organizing it if you could speak or if you could present one of the topics. Likely, if you've been going for a while, they will say yes, or they'll put you on the schedule sometime in the future.

You can also apply to random smaller safety conferences. But I also wouldn't discount the national conferences. It is possible to become a speaker at those as well. In fact, I bumped into a few people that the very 1st time they spoke was at the ASSP

[00:05:00] conference and that is a huge conference. So you can get in even from the ground floor into some of the national conferences. But here's the thing,

let's say that you're submitting the proposals or you're asking people and they're just saying, no, no, no, no, no, you have to not get discouraged. You have to just keep trying. Eventually, what will happen is their theme and their topic will match your expertise and you will be the perfect fit for that

conference, and as you are submitting proposals, you'll keep getting better and better at your submission process to make you look like an even stronger candidate to be a speaker. Look, I've spoken at lots of safety conferences over the years. I have lots of speaking experience and I still get turned down even to this day.

So don't let that discourage you. Just keep trying and eventually somebody will say yes. And then the yeses tend to snowball. And once you get one or two, next thing you know, it's easier and easier as you gain experience.

[00:06:00] Somebody will see you speaking at one conference and go invite them to speak at another. And you might be thinking, but Brye, I don't have a CSP. I don't have a master's. I don't have any of that. Well, you don't need a PhD to be a speaker, okay? Having fancy letters after your name or a piece of paper on the wall doesn't mean anything. Anybody can be a speaker. All you need to do is to have the knowledge and expertise to answer questions.

about the topic that you're talking about. And you just need to know about 10 percent more than the people that are in the audience. And this is the best thing about national conferences is they have enough speakers that they can break the topics down into level of experience. So you can be speaking out of the beginner level.

So let's say that you've been in safety for three to five years. There's tons of people at this conference that have only been in it for a few months. They need to hear what you have to say. They need to learn

[00:07:00] from you. And that's a great place to start. And lastly, once you've gotten in and you have spoke at these conferences. It is important that you don't waste a good speaking engagement, and this is what I see all the time. People will actually get in and they'll get the speaking engagement, but then they do nothing with it. So, once the speaking is done, you need to make sure you update your resume. Put a little section on the bottom of your resume.

Spoken at or speaking. Um, engagements at, you know, and you can list them all separately. Like you can list the date and the event name and the topic. But if you start to get too many, then it might just be like experience speaking at, and then you list all the different, uh, organizations that you spoke for.

It gives you some clout on your resume when you have that on there, because it's not that often that you see people who will do public speaking. So you putting it on your resume that you are a public

[00:08:00] speaker. Already makes them see you as a leader and different than all the other applicants out there. Next, I want you to go to your LinkedIn profile and you want to update your LinkedIn profile, stating that you spoke at a conference. Now there's no section on LinkedIn that says speaking, but I believe there is a special project section. You can list it in there or you can list it in your about section, because once you apply for a new role or a new position, people will be looking at your LinkedIn profile.

So that's one way that they will spot it. But secondly, speaking from experience, when people are putting together events, It's a hard to find speakers. So we scour LinkedIn looking for people with speaking experience. So that way we can ask them to apply to speak at our conferences. So putting it on your LinkedIn profile will make you searchable and it will also increase the chance of you getting chosen as well. So if

[00:09:00] you submit a proposal to conference B and they see that you spoke at conference A, then that kind of goes, Oh, well, they take a step up above the people that never spoke before. So always put it on your LinkedIn profile. And lastly, you want to share with your employer what you're doing, so it could just be out of courtesy because some of the stories or information or pictures are sharing could be coming from your work and you want them to know.

But the reason why I want you to share with your employer is so that way they understand that you are taking this as a profession, that this is not just a job to you. This is a career. And you are sharing your expertise with other professionals. It will change how your employer looks at you instead of seeing you as just somebody who's filled the safety role.

They now see you as a leader within the organization. Now, it can backfire on you. Sharing this with your employer. It did backfire on me with the employer that I was working for. But I honestly think that most

[00:10:00] employers would be grateful that you're actually speaking at these conferences. So think about especially if you get the free ticket, that is like,

900 or 1, 000 that you likely would have asked them to cover that they now don't have to cover. Um, and it makes them realize, like, I have a professional working for me. This is awesome. So how it backfired on me is that I had several speaking engagements lined up. I had a boss who was amazing who thought that it was super cool that I was.

Speaking at a lot of events, but then I changed roles. I moved up in the company. I ended up in a corporate position and the corporate line, at least in our department and safety was that only VP spoke at conferences. So they let me speak at the ones I was doing, but their legal department basically scoured my whole presentation and cut short what I could talk about and took out a bunch of stuff, but that's a whole another story. So that can happen. But I honestly think that my experience is not the norm. I

[00:11:00] think. Because I go to conferences and see people at large organizations speaking all the time, and that my organization was just unique where they didn't allow, uh, managers to speak, that you had to be VPs. So just be cautious of that.

But I do still think it's respectful to tell them what you're doing. And secondly, I think it will change how they think about you. Now, lastly, you might be thinking like, I'm not a good public speaker. And I will tell you, I have failed public speaking multiple times. Um, and when I was working in safety, where I answered to a board of directors and had to speak in front of the board of directors, the first time I was terrified, like no noise came out of my mouth.

So I understand the fear of talking in public. And that's where I want to get back to reminding you about the four C's of success. You want to have the commitment that you're going to do this. The courage to take action to do it and then once you keep doing it, you're going to

[00:12:00] build competence and that competence is going to give you confidence. So those first few times are going to be tough. If you're not, if you don't like public speaking and you're not used to it, I'm not going to lie to you. Those first few times it's going to be tough. So start small, start at your local chapter and build up from there. But once you start doing it talking to 20 people is the same as talking to 200 people, which is the same as talking to 2000 people.

It's just sharing what you know, with a group of like minded individuals. So don't let this scare you. Go out and apply to speak at different conferences. So, if you're wondering where to submit proposals, you can easily just do a Google search and find safety conferences in different fields. If you are in a special industry, just add your industry into that Google search.

There are hundreds of safety conferences every year, at least here in the U. S. I'm sure if we expanded globally, there would be even more. But a great place to

[00:13:00] start is at the Safety Geek Summit. That's right, we are planning our next virtual summit and I am looking for speakers. No, that is not the reason why I did this topic today. Did this topic today because I had a conversation with a potential student that was a speaker and didn't realize that they should put it on their resume. Anyway, I am looking for speakers for our upcoming summit. So if you go to thesafetygeek.com/summit you can click that apply to speak button and we are accepting proposals for our next summit.

And I would love to consider some podcast listeners and YouTube subscribers along with our summit. Alrighty, my safety friends, that's what I have for you today. Make sure you take the plunge and start speaking to help grow your career. And you have an amazing day. Bye for now.

Highlights From This Episode:

  • The Importance of Speaking At Safety Conferences and Seminars for Career Advancement
  • How Speaking at Safety Events Establishes You as an Authority and Leader in Safety
  • The Role of Public Speaking in Building a Stronger Network
  • Effective Steps to Become a Safety Speaker
  • “Four C’s of Success” (Commitment, Courage, Competence, Confidence) to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking


Curious about where to submit your speaking proposals? While a quick Google search can yield results, I highly recommend considering the opportunity to speak at our upcoming Safety Geek Summit.

We’re currently in the planning stages for our next virtual summit and actively seeking passionate speakers like you. Getting started is a breeze, as we facilitate pre-recorded sessions, eliminating any need to worry about a live audience. So, if you’re ready to share your expertise, head over to TheSafetyGeek.com/summit for all the details.

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Hi, I'm Brye (rhymes with sky)!  I am a self-proclaimed safety geek with two decades of general industry safety experience.  Specializing in bringing safety programs to a world-class level and building a safety culture, I have trained and coached many safety managers, just like you, on how to effectively manage workplace safety in the real world.   I would love to help you too.

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