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 spoke at a conference in Moscow, and was told that transport from the airport had been organised , but the organisers took too long to reply, I spent 2 hours in the airport with other speakers trying to figure out what we were supposed to do.

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.

Several times I’ve been to speaker events that essentially left us in the hands of the organizers for transportation. This can be frustrating if you are feeling unwell, tired, or anxious. I’ve very much appreciated organizers who have announced alternate/ad-hoc travel arrangements for those who need them, and wish more would.

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.

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)

RubyC in Kiev picked me up from the train station and generally made sure one of their team was on hand at all meal times to help with translations (English in Ukraine isn’t as common as in western Europe).