I’ve been speaking at some conferences lately. Â I knew I needed to get better with my submissions and hoped Alistair or Edd would write a blog post about how to improve. Â Alistair did except it got out of hand and became a book.
This book becameÂ Propose, Prepare, Present. Â It was exactly what I needed to improve my submissions. Â He doesn’t just cover the tactics of what makes a submission good or bad. Â I appreciated this well-rounded approach.
The book shows some of the cardinal sins one can commit. Â These aren’t just problems with a submission that will get you rejected; there are the ones that get you on the informal black book of conferences. Â Some of these are obvious and some aren’t.
He also gets into the behind the scenes of the conference industry to show why things happen. Â I run our local developers group and I’ve always been curious about the inner workings of a big conference. Â I experience many of the same problems, but at a much, much smaller level. Â The book shows the politics and money that the big boys deal with. Â It covers the review process and sheer number of submissions that conference gets. Â A good conference isn’t lackingÂ submissionsÂ and the odds are low of getting picked. Â This is the time when a poorly written or a typo laden submission will get you tossed quickly. Â It’s nothing personal and someone else put the effort into making theirs better.
I’d like to add a few tips from my own experience.
- Start at the company or local level and work your way up. Â Speaking at a national conference like Alistair’s means competing against a lot of other people. Â Your local user group has much lessÂ competition. Â Hone your craft there and move on to the national and international levels.
- Software Developers may not be the best public speakers. Â Invest some money in your Developers to give a better talk.
- Bad stands out more than good. Â I can remember the bad speakers at my group faster than the good ones.
- Having to contact a speaker several times to nail things down sucks. Â It takes time from other things and the organizers will appreciate it.
- Say thanks! Â Very easy to do, it happens rarely, and the organizers appreciate it on an otherwise thankless job.
The verdict? Â Buy it. Â I’m curious to see how much my submissions improve.