I’m shy and nervous around people I don’t know and in places I’ve never visited – especially if I don’t speak the local language. I really appreciate it when the organizers facilitate getting to know the area and also meeting other speakers who are there. Help me figure out public transportation.
At the first conference I talked at I wasn’t really welcomed. I just went to the room where I talked (which was very small, they could have told me) and set up my own laptop and didn’t know if I was doing the right thing. The talk went terrible because it made me even more nervous.
I run workshops, and give conference folk a list of needed materials. There have been a couple of occasions where things would have fouled up completely without the emergency stash of post-it notes and sharpies I always have with me.
Having a panel at the end of the day keeps the speakers around, so doing that helps ensure speakers are around for the “hallway track. Also, the “sit down” meals should have round tables. Long tables aren’t as conducive. Sit down lunch is a must.
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.
Tech conferences that don’t have a separate wifi network for speakers during presentations – usually live coding demos – are providing a bad experience for speakers and attendees, because network issues are disruptive during a talk.
I’ve had a conference where I requested very clearly that I needed internet access for my workshop, not provide it at the last minute. they apologized, but it was really tough to scramble through.
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.
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.
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!
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.
DockerCon – speakers had private wifi in the speakers’ lounge while preparing and rehearsing for talks.