Speaking of Passion, We’ve Relaunched SpeakerRate

Brian Williams, Co-Founder & CEO

Article Category: #News & Culture

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I’m not one for grand speeches. I don’t crave the spotlight, seek out the mic, or hop on stage every chance I get. That said, thanks to a couple of acting classes, good mentors, and years of practice, I’m comfortable on stage, in the spotlight, with a mic — or just in a room talking with a bunch of people. I think you should be, too.

Public speaking is consistently ranked as our #1 fear, ahead of heights, snakes, and scary clowns. Yet, being comfortable speaking in public — that is, getting up in front of a group of people to tell a story, share an idea, or persuade them of your point of view — is one of the most valuable professional skills a person can have.

At Viget, we’ve always cultivated this view. Internally, everyone at Viget has opportunities to speak in front of the company, most notably at our weekly staff meeting in a segment we call LabShare.

LabShare is a brief (10-15 minute) talk followed by some Q&A. It’s a friendly audience of encouraging peers. There’s a small support team who helps the speaker prepare and practice. Topics range from software development process to how to eat wild mushrooms. As part of the audience, I can honestly say it’s one of my favorite Viget traditions. What I’m most proud of is the way people have improved their speaking skills over their years at Viget through preparation, practice, and constructive feedback.

Outside our walls, we encourage our team to attend, speak at, and even organize events and conferences. We budget for each person to attend one major conference each year, and do our best to provide a great speaker at relevant events when we’re asked. When we do, it’s a very rewarding experience.

Mid-Atlantic Marketing Summit talk

Suffice it to say, public speaking is a passion for us here at Viget, which led to one of our most significant projects that we launched under our Pointless Corp. banner: SpeakerRate.

SpeakerRate exists to help make public speaking better for all involved. With SpeakerRate, we hope people will organize, attend, and give better talks.

SpeakerRate homepage

The idea for SpeakerRate and its initial launch came many years ago. I helped organize a web conference that featured (less known at the time) speakers like Gary Vaynerchuk, Tim Ferriss, and Brad Feld (who wrote about the experience here).  

As an organizer, I was frustrated finding speakers. I wanted to know who came highly recommended from actual audiences, what talks they’d given in the past, and who would be the best fit for my event. I wanted a directory of speakers, with each speaker profile serving as a resume demonstrating their ability to fill and engage a room.  

As an attendee, I wanted a way to share feedback on the talks I’d attended. I wanted a way to applaud a talk digitally — through a rating — so the speaker could benefit in the future, or to share constructive feedback on a talk in the comments, or to simply recommend a speaker that I love to see on stage.

As a speaker, I wanted a way to get all this feedback to help me improve. I wanted it to live in an ecosystem that would grow over time (like LinkedIn or Product Hunt) where the recommendations and ratings from my audiences would help me earn future speaking gigs.

We built SpeakerRate to do all these things. Over the years, it’s grown to more than 30,000 speaker profiles. Today, we’re officially relaunching SpeakerRate.

It’s vastly improved with a modern, responsive design, feature enhancements like one-click recommendations, and a renewed sense that it can be a valuable tool for almost anyone. From industry conference headliners to conference room heads, from SXSW to a local meetup, and for anyone who has ever sat through a talk, we believe SpeakerRate can be useful to you.

I encourage you to give it a try. Anyone can add an event, talk, or speaker. If you’re an event organizer, add your next event agenda and ask attendees to rate talks and recommend speakers (then invite back the most highly recommended one). If you’re a speaker, add your talk history and ask those who have attended your talks to rate them and recommend you.

If you’re an attendee, recommend your favorite speaker or event.  


SpeakerRate profile

Or find (or add) past talks you’ve added and rate them.  


We hope you find SpeakerRate to be useful. We’ll continue to make improvements in the weeks and months to come based on your feedback. Don’t hesitate to contact the SpeakerRate team.

Brian Williams

Brian is Viget's co-founder and CEO. He does everything from advising our clients to building our conference tables with his bare hands in our Falls Church, VA, HQ.

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