July 15, 2014
I was fortunate enough to recently be accepted to the inaugural php[world] conference. Shortly thereafter, a friend of mine within the community inquired about submitting to and speaking at conferences. I thought I'd post the resources I shared with them here for others interested in the same topic.
Whether you're accepted to speak involves several factors. Being known within the associated community certainly doesn't hurt, especially for the topic you're submitting about. However, some conferences do like to have an infusion of fresh blood sometimes, so being new can also be a good thing.
One thing that often helps is submitting several proposals to the same conference. Conferences generally try to minimize the number of speakers they accept to keep costs down, so the more talks you're able to give, the more conducive you are to that end goal.
Also related is your distance from the conference site or, more specifically, what it will cost to physically get you there. If you're just starting out, aim for conferences that are held within your geographical area. Try to find a local user group at which to present your session. This can help in crafting the proposal and improving the presentation itself. After you've done so, post the slides online. In your proposal, link to them and mention which user group received your session and when. This helps give credibility to your session and your skills as a speaker.
The quality of your proposals is also a factor. Make sure you put adequate time and focus into crafting them. Keep them concise, but mention the objectives and high-level points of your session in sufficient detail to communicate your expertise in and enthusiasm toward the subject matter. Ensure they're relevant to the conference's target audience. Calls for papers often mention specific topics of focus; be sure to look for and review these.
- "A Beginner's Perspective on Tech Talks" by Jeremy Privett
- "Tips on Speaking" by Ross Tuck
- "How to Submit a Talk to a Conference" by Beth Tucker Long
- "Writing an Effective Talk Proposal" by Ben Ramsey
- Sample Conference Proposals - O'Reilly Media
- "Tips on how to get accepted as a speaker at a PHP conference" by Cal Evans
- "How to prepare: checklist for great talks" by Scott Berkun
- "How to get your talk accepted, experiences on the advisory board of Semtech & Zendcon" by Joe Devon
- "Designing Presentations" by Idan Gazit
- "Speaking at Conferences: How to write a talk and get it accepted" by Davey Shafik
- "Secrets to success: How to propose a talk and get it accepted" by Laura Thomson
- "Presentation Zen" by Garr Reynolds