Frequently, I’ve been getting requests about how to start speaking at conferences.  Aside from the information within a submission, specifically for Agile2017, there are some general tips that I recommend:

  • Topics: This is probably the trickiest part of starting…what are you going to speak about?  Personally, I struggled with “am I really the expert to share about something” so my place to start was sharing personal journey/experiences. They are mine – not source issues. They are valuable to others. They may conflict with others but that doesn’t make them right or wrong. Another trick I will often use to help someone is to write a list of “advice” they gave over the week. Chances are there is a topic in there because people are going to you for that advice.
  • Research: Review previous conference programs…what were the topics? what are the topics that they are targeting to cover now?
  • Prepare Materials:  You will need a bio. You will need a picture that is not a selfie in the kitchen (lol…I have no idea why that came to my mind. This is something that I would never do – be in the kitchen).
  • Practice: National larger conferences want history of speaking. Volunteer to speak at a local user group, at your company, at another company, etc to gain experience with your content and your delivery.
  • List of conferences:  Compile a list of conferences that you want to consider speaking at in 2017. I’m not sure if Yves keeps this calendar up to date but I used this when I was starting.
  • Timing:  Call for submissions are often 6+ months ahead of the conference. For example, Agile2017 is in Aug but the call for submissions is open in Dec.
  • Consider alternate approaches to learning: I am not a natural writer, submission writing was very difficult. I ended up volunteering to review submissions, which dramatically helped me to understand what should be in a submission to increase the odds of acceptance.
  • Don’t give up:  If you want to speak, then you have something to be heard. There are a finite number of slots in a conference and typically more submissions than spots. Getting selected is not a guarantee for anyone.

When you started speaking, what did you find helped during the submission process?

Tricia Broderick

Tricia Broderick

Tricia Broderick is a leadership and organizational advisor. Her transformational leadership at all levels of an organization, ignites growth of leaders and high performing teams to deliver quality outcomes. Tricia has more than twenty years of experience in the software development industry. She is a highly-rated trainer, coach, facilitator and motivational keynote speaker. Beyond her extensive knowledge and skills, her biggest offering is inspiring people to believe anything is possible.


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