Issue #9

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

Last issue we dug into CoC a bit and the “before”, “during”, and “after” time periods of making sure conduct and reporting violations is accessible to everyone and done in a respectful manner. I appreciated some of the private feedback I got on that newsletter. πŸ™‚ I wanted to let you know more issues in the future will dive deeper into specific parts.

This time around, wanted to keep some reminders in mind if your event is “family-friendly”. It’s not a bad idea, especially for many tech conferences (with lower ticket prices) to market themselves as “family-friendly”. For starters, having youths attend or even speak gives out great opportunities and honestly it’s good PR for many events. Granted, it’s not a priority for all conferences but generally making something family friendly follows a lot of best practices conferences should be giving thought to in the first place. Here’s a few bullets to think about:

  • Limit the profanity on printed materials – especially when it comes to talk titles and descriptions. We covered advice to speakers about this in the last newsletter. While it’s up to you to ask speakers to not swear, at least your conference can maintain a professional and family friendly setting (although if you think it’s “cool”, check with fellow organizers and determine your path).
  • Determine how accessible alcohol will be at your event.
  • Is your after party located in a venue that requires people be of a certain age? I’ve seen conferences have networking parties and even critical events at clubs or bars that require people to be 21 or over (and one conference had a speaker that was 17, so she couldn’t even attend).
  • If you truly want to have your event family friendly – make some sessions youth friendly. Invite youths to speak. Go as far as providing day care (this is becoming more popular at WordCamps, and there are people with experience to talk to about such services).

Speakers πŸŽ€

In most cases, keep the “about me” part of your presentation as short as possible. You know the part I’m talking about – usually very early on in the presentation. Many speakers – even some that have spoken in a while – use valuable time (even in 10-15 minute lightning talks) just telling people who they are.

Maybe it’s ego, or maybe speakers want to validate themselves with the audience. “They won’t know me so I have to make it clear i’m authority.” That is fine on paper, as they say. And true. If i’m listening to a talk about brain surgery then I would think the person on stage would identify themselves as a doctor or surgeon. Just don’t overdo it.

My rule of thumb: you shouldn’t have more than one slide with more than three bullets or tidbits about yourself. The tidbits probably shouldn’t be your name, location or origin, company, or social media info (you can state this on the cover slide or at the end of your presentation). Slide URLs tend to be at the end of presentations too.

Talking about yourself is USUALLY a turn off for the attendees past a very quick point, so just keep that in mind. Exceptions do exist – mostly for talks that require you to go into a back story to make the base point for your talk. As per usual advice, ask fellow speakers and friends about the length of your introduction to get their feedback.

Attendees πŸ™‹πŸ½β€β™€οΈ


I’m dead serious.

If you travel for a conference it’s easy to get tired or run behind on your sleep. You try to go to bed at a “normal time” but the stress of traveling or the old jet lag gets to many. It’s a little harder to fall asleep in a hotel room, especially for the first night. There are also after parties or dinners – and often people feel pressured to stay late.

Overall, keep in mind that attending a conference usually means spending time in an unfamiliar place on a schedule you aren’t completely used to. Get your rest. Especially if you are the type that gets drained in social settings.

Set an alarm on your phone that gives you enough time to get back to your hotel at night (add in time for the Uber or ride back) and time to “settle” before you go to bed. Avoid food or alcohol that might delay you getting to sleep sooner. Regardless, the more rested you are the more you’ll get out of the conference and the more alert you’ll be talking to other attendees.

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.