As a member of the NDC London 2017 agenda committee, I give a behind the scenes look at the agenda process and some things to improve your talk abstracts that may increase your chances of being selected.
I use cats in my abstract examples so they are technology agnostic. Plus, everyone loves cats, right?
Links from final slide:
How to get your submission
accepted at NDC London
● Thank everyone for coming to NDC London
The Continuous Delivery
● Self Introduction & why on Panel
● Why I’m doing this lightning talk -
● want the best conference ever and that means the best talks
from the best submissions
Eirik Langholm Vullum
● Describe Panel and who makes it up
● Pre-selected speakers and talks - bigger names need time to
book and arrange.
● 8 rooms
● 1 = functional track
● 1 = C++ track (new for 2017)
● 6 tracks left - 114 slots including ~ ⅓ pre-selected, so about
● Review over 700 submissions - 75 slots!
● First pass - lots of typos (show lack of care), not relevant
(sloppy or too generic)
● Second pass - learn about the speakers - demonstrable
subject matter experience, speaking experience
● Group into themes
● Choose from talks covering same topic
● Attempt to whittle down the numbers
● Attempt to fit into agenda slots alongside pre-selected talks
● Reshuffle to avoid similar themes at the same time, attempt
to avoid women speakers at the same time, big names in
Have you ever wondered what your cat is trying to tell
you ? Are you curious why they show you their bellies
only to slice your hand to shreds? Ever wanted to know
why they run around your flat at 200mph at 3am? Come
to my talk!
● Rhetorical Questions
● What is going to be the content?
● Can we take that gamble? Will attendees?
● Don’t work up for a big reveal - tell us straight up. Helps
everyone decide whether to attend
In this talk we’ll discuss the best methods for walking
your cat. Though I’ve never owned cats, as a professional
dog walker, this guaranteed method works regardless of
breed and chosen leash.
● Controversial topic from a non-expert
● We’d choose topic expert over beginner (as I’m sure
attendees would too!)
Sisal is a more satisfying scratching material than cardboard.
● Short and sweet
● Shows lack of care - will the talk be similar in this regard?
● Opposite: Essay - people give up reading
How I learned to stop worrying and love catnip
How I learned to stop worrying and love the Domestic Longhair
How I learned to stop worrying and love cleaning cat litter
How I learned to stop worrying and love scratched furniture
How I learned to stop worrying and love yearly vaccinations
How I learned to stop worrying and love hairballs
● The shotgun submitter
● “One of these has to be accepted, right?”
● Varied topics, we have no confidence in your expertise
● We ask for 1-2 of your best talks - lack of respect for
In this talk we’ll discuss the process for introducing a new cat
to a resident cat. I’ve been fostering cats for many years and
have successfully introduced both stray and abandoned cats of
all ages to my busy home of 5 cats with an 80% success rate.
We’ll cover steps for the first few days to successful integration
- from creating a safe space to scent and room swapping and
more. With these techniques you’ll have a happy catty home!
● The Beginner
● Excellent abstract - do we gamble on a newbie speaker?
● Tells us about your speaker experience, any videos, linkedin,
● Submit a lightning talk instead - reduced gamble for
Tell us what you’ll talk about - don’t hint
Tell us why your experience matters
Provide a sufficiently detailed abstract
Send your best, targeted talks
Assume a knowledgeable audience
Help us to find your presentation experience
● Summarise tips
● Wish you luck for next year
Why Your Excellent Conference Talk Was Rejected
- Sarah Gray
Make me an offer I can’t refuse - Writing abstracts for conference organisers
- Niall Merrigan
- volunteers will review your abstract
Presenting for Geeks ebook
- Dirk Haun