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Conference Speaking 101

Conference Speaking 101

Given at Baltimore Women in Computing. A short guide to getting involved in conference speaking.

Samantha Quiñones

June 25, 2015
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  1. Conference Speaking 101
    Samantha Quiñones
    BWIC, June 2015

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  2. I am a Public Speaker
    • ~30 conferences, user groups, podcasts & events in the past 24 months

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  3. Why?
    • Speaking will boost your career
    • You will learn a ton
    • Affordable way of attending more conferences
    • Make new friends
    • Cynical networking opportunities

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  4. Almost No One Thinks They
    Belong Here

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  5. You have something valuable
    to share.

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  6. Technical Conference Speaking
    101

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  7. Selecting Topics
    • Expanding on a tool or process you’ve used…
    • Stuff that you’d like to learn more about…
    • Personal interests…

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  8. Writing An Abstract
    • A short pitch for a topic in under 300 words
    • Good abstracts define a problem and promise a solution

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  9. Caching is among the most vital parts of a modern system,
    and it is one of the most cost-effective ways of squeezing
    that extra bit of oomph from an app. Thankfully, we now
    have more caching techniques and tools than ever, but
    knowing know how they fit together is difficult. Memcached
    and redis are just the first step on a journey of building
    leaner, faster apps. We'll go from reverse proxies like Varnish
    and NGINX to the newest features of redis 3.0 and beyond!
    After this session, you’ll have everything you need to create
    the right caching game plan for your application!

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  10. Getting Help
    • http://helpmeabstract.com
    • Find speakers who are open to mentoring (easier than you might think!)

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  11. Calls for Papers

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  12. Finding Open Calls
    • http://calltospeakers.com
    • http://twitter.com/callbackwomen

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  13. Conferences are Different
    • Regional / National
    • Community / Corporate
    • Monotrack / Polytrack

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  14. Speaker Packages
    • Uncompensated - It’s on you
    • Assistance available - Expenses may be covered based on need
    • Expenses covered - Some or all expenses covered by the event
    • Compensated - Speakers receive payment

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  15. The Selection Process
    • Selection Committee
    • Blind Review
    • Thematic Coherence
    • Demographic Balance

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  16. You will get rejected.

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  17. Getting Accepted
    • Keep communication with the organizers open
    • Be clear about who is arranging travel and lodging

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  18. Constructing a Talk
    • Think length first, then pace
    • Play to your strengths
    • Don’t be afraid to develop your own style

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  19. Find Your Practice Routine
    • I do…
    • 2-3 reads in the week leading up, even with familiar material
    • 1-2 mirror performances as close as possible to delivery

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  20. Show Time
    • It’s OK to be nervous.
    • The time goes by REALLY quickly.
    • Remember, your audience wants you to succeed!

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  21. Learning from Feedback
    • Learn to separate constructive criticism from garbage
    • A tiny minority will be nasty. They will probably drown out most of the
    positive feedback you get. It’s normal.

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  22. Resources
    • http://helpmeabstract.com
    • http://calltospeakers.com
    • http://callbackwomen.com
    • @ieatkillerbees

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