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

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.

Adam Culp from ZendCon and SunshinePHP has always impressed me with how easy he has made the process of speaking and how he’s went out of his way to make sure everyone feels safe and comfortable.

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.

ArrrCamp 2015 – My train was involved in an accident while I was on the way to the airport in Brussels. I pinged the conference organizers on twitter and they called the airline to notify them of the issue, and were extremely helpful when it came to any other travel assistance I needed.

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.

EmpireJS organizers were really great. They put up themed posters, 1 per speaker, with the speaker’s face on them it, on an easel on the day each speaker was up. It was fun to get to take a selfie with a poster of myself! They also gave speakers copies of the posters as keepsakes. Very silly & fun & appreciated.