Issue #15

Welcome to the newsletter! I hope you are enjoying these as much as I am writing them! πŸ˜„

Here’s the deal. I’ll try to be: (1) brief (2) target to organizers, speakers, and/or attendees. Trying to keep this ad free but I’ve left a spot at the bottom for “misc things”.

Feedback: (1) ping me on Twitter (2) email me (3) i’m going to leave comments open for now for approximately a week on the website posts if you want to leave your own feedback/$0.02.

Thank you!

You can find this issue on the website:

Organizers πŸ˜Š

I made a comment about women’s sized t-shirts on Twitter and that lead (naturally) to a few mini-discussions, including if t-shirts for small and volunteer based conferences are worth it at all. Here’s a list of the pros and cons, in my experience and from comments on that tweet:


  • Shirts are appreciated by many, especially new conference attendees and the youth.
  • Shirts make good promotional swag, more reusable than most swag (maybe outside of reusable water bottles). It’s nice to see people wearing shirts promoting the conference in photos and videos.
  • Shirts are relatively easy to get (at least in the US/Canada) and relatively inexpensive especially on scale.


  • Getting the right numbers and sizes, ordering them, etc. can a headache especially if you are already tight on volunteer resources. It simply might not worth it, especially if your conference attendees are indifferent to them.
  • No matter what (unless you have a tailor on site) 100% of the shirts will be a good fit for everyone. Mark makes an excellent observation.
  • Basic shirts aren’t typically costly, but that is an additional cost that isn’t “life or death” and one has to question if the costs can be diverted elsewhere.

In The End

I still believe unisex size shirts won’t be pleasing for everyone – if you are considering shirts then consider providing women’s sizes, as the myth for them being more costly really isn’t true depending on where you look.

That being said, if you are on the fence of providing shirts – offer the option for people when they register to choose “no shirt” instead of a size. Some attendees have enough shirts and they are conscience of the cost and “waste” sometimes these shirts can produce, in their eyes at least.

Of course you can offer no shirts at all. That’s completely your decision. Some smaller and volunteer based camps have done this. I personally think shirts are options to consider, but they should be well designed. I have seen my favorite WordCamp Miami shirts worn at other conferences. I have other shirts I got at conferences that have sponsor logos on them that I’ll never wear again.

Speakers 🎀

Last issue we had ten tips, so we will keep this week shorter.

It might be tempting to script out your entire talk – putting all the words in the various scripts in Keynote, across multiple slides… but for many speakers this puts even more pressure to learn (or frankly memorize) the talk itself.

What many experienced speakers do is establish an outline with the main points documented… and then use that outline to cover the key aspects of the talk but so you can deliver in a more improvised, natural way. This will take time and practice. You’ve seen speakers speak without a script in front of them – walking away from their computer confidently giving their talk. They don’t have the talk memorized, but they are following an outline of some sort. Make it a goal to get to that point, and you’ll be pleased with the results.

There are ways to make this easier. For starters see if you can include some of the key points in your outline in the slides themselves (quotes, headline slides, etc.). If you are just starting out as a speaker, more scripting in the speaker notes is a “nice if i need it but I should try not to use it” security blanket.

Attendees πŸ™‹πŸ½β€β™€οΈ

In part of your planning to attend sessions at conferences, set (silent or vibration) alarms on your phone or smart watch for those talks you especially want to attend. I sometimes set alarms for 1-2 hours prior to the talk and about 15 minutes prior, if the talk is important to me (sometimes why I came to the conference in the first place).

Setting alarms is important because you’ll always bump into someone you know, someone you’ve wanted to catch up with, a potential new contact, a talkative sponsor, etc. and you might tend to lose track of time and forget about that talk you wanted to attend!

Another great tactic that many follow is that if you don’t have any place to be, get to the same room early and be there for the previous talk. No way you can miss your desired talk if you stay in the same room. Of course, if the talk you wanted to see starts first thing in the morning give yourself plenty of time.

Misc. Stuff πŸ€·β€β™‚️

These tips were written and/or gathered by David Bisset, someone who’s been helping organizing conferences (such as WordCamp Miami, but others too) and meetups for over a decade. He’s still learning so share any of your tips and it might be included in a future newsletter.