Organizing & Speaking at Tech Conferences

About this site

I’m Rachel Andrew - a web developer, author and frequent speaker. I presented at ConfConf - a conference for conference organizers - in May 2016. I was asked to talk about what speakers needed to help them have a great conference and be their best at the event. As I didn’t want the talk to be all about what I personally like, I opened up a survey.

The results of that survey were enlightening to me as well as for the conference organizers who heard that talk. I felt that the things people had shared deserved a wider audience than the people at that conference so the bulk of the content on this site is quotes taken from that survey. I’ve edited only to anonymize comments, and have chosen to only “name names” when the story is a positive one - giving credit where it is due.

Speakers Said

I think timings are important. Recently a speakers dinner I attended was started at 9pm the night before the conference, we all tried our hardest to get back to the hotel as early as we could, but it wasn’t before midnight.

What does it cost to speak?

  • In the past, I had to take time off to speak ($700/day)
  • Meals & drinks ($150/day)
  • Airport Parking ($100/trip)

Midwest.io 2015 provided a ride to/from the hotel, a speaker dinner, let me see the venue before it was open, gave me some nice little gifts (legos, chocolates), and asked for open, honest feedback.

Lanyards in the hotel room on arrival - I don’t really need a swag bag, it’s an amazing gesture, don’t get me wrong, but to not have to worry about getting my lanyard on the day is great.

I love speaker dinners and various parties. Knowing that there are planned opportunities for networking makes it more pleasant. There are way too many conferences to choose from, so I might as well choose those that are fun.

I’ve had a conference where I requested very clearly that I needed internet access for my workshop, not provide it at the last minute. they apologized, but it was really tough to scramble through.