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What speakers need from conference organisers

Collected from experienced speakers, these questions are intended to help conference organisers make things easier for speakers (many who don't get paid for their contribution to conferences) which in turn makes the conferences run more smoothly. This list is intended for speakers to give to organisers so they can make decisions and be prepared or for organisers to use as a guide for speakers.

GitHub allows for collaboration and contruibution so please feel free to submit edits or additions into the document.

Before applying

What is the offer?

  • Do you cover expenses, what for and how much? (consider hotel, travel including taxi's / public transport, food)
  • Will you book the travel and hotels or do they need to do it?
  • Do you pay speakers?
  • Will there be a speakers dinner or socialising events? (speakers often come to events to network, so this is a good idea)
  • Will there be childcare?
  • What else are you offering speakers?

Preparing for the talks

What information can you tell speakers about the conference?

  • What is unique about this conference? What's it's vision?
  • What sets it apart from other existing conferences?
  • Who else will be speaking?
  • Who are the sponsors?
  • What is your code of conduct?
  • Do you have a diversity and inclusion policy?

What information can you tell speakers about the audience?

  • What sectors do they work in?
  • What is their experience in the topics that the speaker is covering?

What details can you tell speakers about projecting slides?

  • Can speakers use their own laptop? (Many speakers prefer to use their own kit because it is set up in the way they like and many edit slides up to the last moment)
  • What projector connectors will the conference provide? (HDMI, VGA)
  • What is the aspect ratio and resolution of the projector? (give plenty of notice before speakers make their slides)
  • What power cables will the conference provide? (will their be adaptors for international plugs?)
  • Will a remote slide changer be provided?
  • Will there be an additional screen that only speakers can see and what will they see on it? (some speakers want to see the next slide and their notes)
  • Should video be embedded in the presentation or provided as a separate file?

Will speakers need to use a microphone?

this might affect what people can wear (e.g. not all dresses have belts)

If so:

  • is it handheld? They may need some guidance on how to hold it
  • is it a lapel mic and battery pack? They will need a belt, waist band or a pocket for the pack
  • Anything else that they need to know?

Are you filming the talks?

If so:

  • have you sent (and have they signed) a release form?
  • does it have details of what will be done with the footage?
  • can speakers walk around the stage, will the camera follow the speaker, or is it fixed at the podium?

Is there the option to have sound?

  • Will audio out be supported via 3mm headphone socket or HDMI or either?

Will speakers be introduced or introduce themselves?

  • Do you need any information in order to introduce them
  • Will someone be in the room, or should they just start

Is there any other equipment provided? (e.g. flipcharts, post-it notes, pens)

How is the room set up?

  • How will the chairs be laid out?
  • How big is the room / How big might the audience be?
  • What time are the speakers on? (a post lunch talk might need a bit of extra interaction)

How will time keeping be done?

  • Will there be a timer on the stage?
  • Will there be someone holding up signs with 10, 5, 3, 2, 1 minutes to go?
  • Will there be lights indicating time to get off the stage?
  • Is it up to the speaker to keep an eye on the time?

Will the organisers be collecting feedback?

  • How will feedback be collected?
  • How will it be shared with speakers?

At the venue

Getting set up

  • What room is the speaker in and how do they find it?
  • What is the line up of the conference?

What food will be provided?

  • Does food meet dietry requirements and have you asked speaker for their requirements?
  • Where can speakers get (good) coffee nearby?

Is there an internet connection available?

  • Is there wifi and what is the password?
  • Is there a speakers' only wifi and what is the password?
  • Is there a wired internet connection available on stage?

Are there any quiet spaces?

  • Is there a space to work in / prepare for talks? (if yes, where is it?)
  • Is there a prayer room or other space where people can be alone?
  • What else is available?

Accommodation and venue info

Where is the hotel and conference venue?

  • How can they get to the hotel from airports / train stations?
  • What is the easiest route to the venue?
  • Are there any preferred cab firms?

Will there be transfer from the airport / train station to the hotel and back?

  • Are you providing a car to pick people up?
  • Is someone from the organisers be at the airport to welcome speakers?
  • How long is the journey from the airport and what does it cost?

Please also see the Diversity charter considerations for event organisers to create better diversity at conferences

This list was initiated and moderated by Emily Webber

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