How to get approval for speaking at BILT

A few times in the past we have written about how to get approval to attend BILT, but now that we ask you to get approval before  you submit an abstract, potential speakers need to think about getting approval both from their clients and their employers early. If you hadn’t heard the news yet, abstracts for  BILT ANZ 2019 are due in just over one month’s time, on Thursday 1 November.  So you’d better get onto it soon.  If you want some tips about how to maximise your chance of being accepted, check out our recent blog post: Top 10 – How DO I get my abstract accepted for BILT?

So how can you convince your employer or your client that speaking is a good idea?  We don’t have 10 tips this time, but these ideas might help.

Plan your approach

Don’t leave it till the last minute!  Even if you may only need to get permission from one person, you don’t want to be asking them when they are under a deadline or just having a bad day.  Have a good well thought out idea to approach them with.  If you have to submit something written to send up the management chain, make sure you take the time to write and edit it properly (just like your final abstract!).  Use some of the points outlined below if you need help with your arguments.  If you intend to prepare your presentation in your own time, make that clear and this indicates your interest and commitment to being a conference speaker, making it more likely your management will take you seriously.


The most obvious tactic is always publicity.  Your company name will be up in lights (and your own of course, as well!).  Company logos go up on our website and on screen during our event, both in your own session and at various times throughout the event.  Both you and your company are able to publicise the fact you are a speaker.  Maybe your company would love you to include this in your email signature or talk about it on their social media feeds.  Being a speaker at a well-known established event of the calibre of BILT reflects well upon the expertise of your company in BIM and technology – and they can tell clients about it too.  It also helps attract and retain staff – those in the industry see that your company supports, trains and invests in their staff to enable them to speak at BILT.


We want to make sure all our attendees get great bang for their bucks.  We appreciate the time it takes and the commitment you make to being a speaker,  and for BILT ANZ, speakers don’t have to pay their conference registration.  So that means your company can send you for all the learning and saves some bucks and they only pay for your time, accommodation and flights.   Think about how many hours of work you might have saved last time you attended BILT.  Demonstrate the value of your attendance as against your hourly rates (and if you are teaching or rolling out tools to others – the time they save should be included too).

Client Relationships

Maybe you could use BILT as an opportunity to get to know a client better – by speaking together.  If you think you have the right project and your client would be keen, this is a great idea to present to your bosses.  That way, both your organisations get the benefit of publicity.  Furthermore, you demonstrate some excellent leadership by working together with your client to prepare a presentation, and you will both learn by attending sessions in addition to your own.  Just remember though: only the primary speaker from any session gets complimentary conference registration.

If your project cannot be identified, consider whether it can be used in a de-identified way.  Can you present various content even if you have to withhold it from distributing in your material?  Can you share lessons learned from your project while maintaining confidentiality?  Can you replicate or emulate some of the scenarios you encountered on the project with different content?

And finally – don’t think your project has to be finished or bilt (haha) in order to make a good presentation.  So much of what we do is process and the story of how we get there (including what we’ve learnt along the way).  If it’s a particularly complex project, maybe it could make for more than one great presentation!

Submit your abstract here! 

Image via Flicker “” (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0) by grapefruitmoon

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