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

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.

An after party was far away. It was a 40 minute cab ride. I was put in a van with strangers. Two of whom proceeded to make “jokes” about sexually harassing topics. I finally said that’s a CoC violation and hey yo it’s time to knock that off. They blithely ignored me. I was trapped physically and financially in the van. I didn’t even have my wallet, and had no idea what the destination address was. I was trapped, and unsure as whether to also be scared of what could happen next.

I dislike it if speaker dinner is same night as attendee party so i can’t meet audience.

At Front Trends, I had a SIM card in my welcome package! Super useful as a foreign / visiting speaker from another country when you arrived jet lagged and need to just tell your family that you have arrived.

Essential parts of the speaker package are travel (all or most of the cost), at least two nights at the hotel, conference ticket and lunch. I have made a few exceptions in the past, but am doing that less often now. These things must be offered upfront. I shouldn’t have to “beg” for it or apply for financial aid.

NSConf met speakers at the Heathrow airport and drove us all directly to the conference hotel; we didn’t have to try to find our way around a strange country before we had cell data, and were able to just focus on our talks & the conference.