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.

UX Poland - looked after personally by conference hosts. Taken to dinner each night and shown the city. All ancillary expenses covered.

A few years ago a woman was speaking at a front-end conference on a non-tech topic. Twitter was flooding with negative and sexist comments. I left the conference as the organizers did nothing about it and made no comments after the talk.

Finding out at the last minute that my talk slot is longer (or shorter) than I’d expected is frustrating & difficult.

For my first conference, I arrived at my hotel feeling like an imposter and a small welcome pack a note from the organisers made me feel really welcome and at home.

One time at Agile Manchester I was due to speak, but was ill. I dragged myself there not really feeling up to it and this was pretty obvious to the organiser when I got there. Within 30m the organisers had arranged an alternate speaker, and sent me home. They still covered expenses, accommodation, etc.despite me not speaking.