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

One conference, I lost my voice overnight, and had a presentation mid-afternoon. The organizers sent somebody out to get a pharmacopoeia of throat lozenges, cough suppressant, you name it, it was in the bag.

Web Directions gave me a super high-quality water bottle that I still use. It’s right next to me now.

I was part of a lineup which included only one woman speaker. Raised it to organiser who was surprised it was even an issue.

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.

Goodie bags with snacks when you arrive after a day of travel is so appreciated! Confab does an excellent job of this. Organizing a speaker dinner is a big plus as well.

I think there’s a churn where people speak for free, do it for a bit/get popular, then either a) get sick of it and stop or b) start getting paid to do it. Doing it for free is NOT SUSTAINABLE. I’ve noticed many confs extending their CFPs and that can only mean one thing: they’re getting fewer quality proposals.