Invited talks are important for moving up the academic ladder, so I'd like to know how one maximizes the odds of being offered to be an invited speaker at conferences.

I am aware of the most obvious things like having important results to report. However, apparently this is not always necessary: one often sees in the list of invited speakers some fresh PhDs neighboring the really big shots. So, are there any non-obvious strategies to increase the odds of becoming an invited speaker at a conference?

I realize that the advice may be field-specific, and I am most interested in the tips for conferences in mathematics and physics.

4 Answers 4


Give some colloquia (departmental seminars or lab-specific talks) in the departments of organizers of conferences. You can sometimes invite yourself by writing to the organizer of their seminar series and offering yourself as a speaker but better might be having your phd advisor write and recommend you.

This will increase your name recognition with the critical people and can give you a reputation for giving good talks. Organizers are unlikely to take a chance on someone that is junior and none of them have heard speak. If you can give a talk somewhere that will be videoed and posted online, that would also help with this issue.

Finally, if you work with a more famous friend (or phd advisor) in the same area who is frequently invited to give talks, you could mention to them that you are trying to do this and they may recommend you for talks they have to decline.

  • 1
    this is one of the best answers, I agree completely Commented Apr 11, 2012 at 10:58
  • Do great research.
  • Give great presentations of your research.
  • Become known, not only for your research, but by actively participating in conferences, workshops and other meetings.
  • I don't disagree, but where you say "actively" and no doubt mean that in the best possible sense, folk will be pushy, busy-body, credit-snatching, backstabbing...
    – Deipatrous
    Commented Dec 3, 2021 at 7:48

Find out which conference organizers your PhD advisor knows and see if he'll recommend you to them.

Present an amazing poster at a conference and spend some time getting the word about prior to the conference about your work, so that when the organizers come by the poster session, they see your poster mobbed with people.

One thing you shouldn't do is respond to any of those conference solicitations for conferences you've never heard of, usually located in some Middle Eastern or Asian country. It's spam and they usually just bought a list of email addresses and did keyword targeting.

  • There would be many genuine "conferences you've never heard of, usually located in some Middle Eastern or Asian country", especially for beginning researchers (~ OP). Of course, some may be spam too. Unless you tell the OP how to filter out spam from the genuine ones, the advice in Para 2 is not very useful. Besides, this type of advice, given on a platform which isn't specific to any specific country and is certainly capable of catering to the "Middle Eastern or Asian countries" can easily land you up in deep trouble.
    – 299792458
    Commented May 18, 2015 at 8:38

Volunteer to help organise meetings yourself & invite people. Even if this doesn't directly help you get attention (which it might), at least you'll understand the process better.

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