Between January 1st and March 1st we will be accepting presentation proposals for THAT Conference 2019, and we thought it would be helpful if we talked about how and when to submit a proposal, what we’re looking for, how we select speakers, etc.
Call for Speakers Policy
THAT Conference is not like most other conferences. We welcome people from all disciplines and backgrounds to talk about a wide variety of platforms and technologies. We want our presentations to engage the audience, spark discussion and inspire new ideas. The following is a list of a number of “Dos and Don’ts” which you can consider when writing your proposal and your presentation. Please don’t feel constrained to fulfilling all of these, they serve as guidelines, not rules, and there may be many valid reasons to break them.
Do you disagree with these guidelines? We would love to hear feedback from you. Please contact us at Hello@THATConference.com.
Tips for making your abstract epic:
- Counselors have roughly 60 minutes to teach their fellow campers.
- Descriptive and edgy titles are best. Bonus points for Summer Camp Geek references.
- Make sure your abstract description contains enough detail so we know what you're going to talk about. Don’t worry if you make any mistakes we will have the opportunity to fix it later.
- Try not to pull any switch-a-roos last minute and talk about something completely unrelated. Campers don't like that. If something changes, please work with THAT Conference.
- We can't make too many promises but if there are issues with the final speaker schedule we will do our very best to accomodate you.
- Be passionate about your chosen topic.
- Feel free to submit more than one abstract. We have to maintain a balance across all of the tracks and their topics. It will just help us and potentially you.
- Consider how your presentation is relevant to all technologists, but don’t feel constrained to avoiding a talk on one specific programming language, platform or technology.
- Consider what discussions could be sparked by your presentation. THAT Conference is all about meeting people and discussing ideas; consider what people will talk about after your presentation.
- Explain what benefit your presentation will bring to the audience.
- Tell a story.
- Show real world examples, especially your own experiences, to support your ideas. Show code samples or demonstrate product capabilities only where appropriate.
- Make sure you can keep the documented session time limit.
- Stay near the stage or podium after your presentation, encourage the audience to come up and discuss the presentation with you.
- Please invite the audience to discuss your talk with you face to face rather than just at the end. Better yet, continue the conversation in our Open Spaces.
- Respect our anti-harassment policy (see below).
- Use your presentation to specifically promote the superiority of one platform, language or technology over all others. Instead talk about pros and cons of the demonstrated subject, and invite the audience to share their own experiences related to your discussion.
- See your presentation as a platform to market your company or product.
- Include unnecessary animation or sound effects in your presentation that will distract from your content.
- Use this guide as structure for your presentation.
THAT Conference is dedicated to providing a harassment-free conference experience for everyone, regardless of gender, age, sexual orientation, disability, physical appearance, body size, ethnicity, or religion. We do not tolerate harassment of conference participants in any form. Sexual language and imagery is not appropriate for any conference venue, including talks. Conference participants violating these rules may be sanctioned or expelled from the conference without a refund at the discretion of the conference organizers. More details on the THAT Conference Code of Conduct.
Selecting the best speakers for THAT Conference is a long and difficult process, as we receive so many inspiring abstracts from truly impassioned people. When reviewing potential speakers and session abstracts, we remove all information about the speaker (name, bio, email, etc.) while we’re reviewing the proposals, to avoid any subconscious bias. We always strive for a good mix of speakers, and we want to encourage everyone to submit a proposal.
After the submission deadline, the THAT Conference speaker submissions review board together with a few other people we trust will review all of the proposals, and select the ones that we think will make the most interesting mix at the conference. We aim to have all speakers confirmed by April 17th, 2019.
If you’re selected as a speaker
All speakers get a free ticket to attend the conference. Travel related expenses, meals (outside those specified as provided by the conference) and additional accommodations are the responsibility of the speaker. Every year we plan for spouse and family related activities. We want them to have fun too.
In addition to the free ticket, this year we are happy to announce that we are able to comp two nights per accepted session at the Kalahari for our cherished speakers (subject to the following: (max of three nights per family of speakers; if the session is being presented by multiple speakers, we will only be able to reimburse the primary speaker, room upgrades are the responsibility of the speaker). Please remember this is a community conference brought to you by volunteers in our industry, your peers. We're a not-for-profit whose goal is to support and educate our great community while having some fun.
With that said, we’d love to see a proposal from you! What are you waiting for? Submit your proposal now!
Examples of Sessions from Previous Years
Just in case you were wondering what kind of sessions we're looking for. Here's a list of great examples from previous years: