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.
I was speaking at a conference with tiered speaker perks. So speakers would ask me if I was going to an event and I would be surprised and embarrassed to say I didn’t know anything about it.
Speaker rooms help speakers to get to know one another. In any case, we all need a quiet place to test our equipment, tweak our slides and recharge our batteries, literally and figuratively.
Having a volunteer in the room to help with AV, room set up, other issues is awesome. Most conferences have this, so it stands out when this doesn’t happen.
It can have a negative impact on my talk when A/V people are being really aggressive about setting up my laptop, I usually know more than they do about how to adjust settings.
I was scheduled dead last on a Sunday night at 5pm (I know, someone has to do it)… not only did they do nothing to encourage people to stay, the organizers even started packing up the hall before I was done!
Finding out at the last minute that my talk slot is longer (or shorter) than I’d expected is frustrating & difficult.