The call for speakers is open for the 2011 PASS Summit, being held in Seattle this year Oct 11-14. It’s your chance to be a star, go to the big show, etc, etc. Seriously, it’s a lot of fun to present to a paying audience, and it looks great on your resume. Of course, the competition is fierce, to say the least. Here are my tips on making the most of your attempt to be a speaker this year (I’m not on the selection committee, so these are my suggestions):
- Choose your topics carefully. Look at the schedule from last year, and identify a niche that you know well and that wasn’t covered by someone else. Hard to do? Maybe, but remember that people pay to see the speakers,so the selection team is going to go with topics that will really interest attendees,and they will tend to go with speakers who have been there and done that.
- Spend a lot of time on the title and the abstract. Make sure…make sure…that the title matches the abstract. Easy to go through some iterations and wind up with a mismatch that someone else will notice in a minute. Good titles matter. I’m opposed to overly cute titles, but some humor and sense of fun may work for you.
- Make sure that someone considering your session understand what they will learn and how it can be applied. Does it mean everything has be real world? No, but in general I’d bet real world how-to wins over academics most of the time. People attend to learn, to take skills back. You’re not just presenting, you’re teaching. Tell them what you’re going to teach and make it relevant.
The other tip I have is too late to change, and that is pay your dues. Go to chapters, user groups, Code Camps, and SQLSaturday and practice. Give that presentation until you’re sick of it, and in the process develop the poise you need to handle the stress – and to prove the experience that attendees want to hear about.
The deadline is May 5th, so you’ve got a little time to think, make the most of it, and good luck!