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

Lanyards in the hotel room on arrival - I don’t really need a swag bag, it’s an amazing gesture, don’t get me wrong, but to not have to worry about getting my lanyard on the day is great.

If an event has been run before, the imagery of previous events is important to me. If it looks like a sea of white dudes then I don’t want to go and be uncomfortable as a lone woman.

2 days of conference cost me the PTO that it takes 7 weeks to save up.

A negative experience was when I was keynote speaker at one event. Wasn’t paid, had to arrange own travel and accommodation at own expense.

A speaker hit on me and then called me a bitch when I reminded him he is married. I never told anyone.

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.