Learning from my time on the Devoxx UK Program Committee

I was fortunate enough to be invited to sit on this year’s Devoxx UK Program Committee, and this was an awesome experience. Not only did I get to meet (and interact with) some very talented people on the committee, but I also got a peek into how the talk submission review process works. I’m sure this will be invaluable for other conferences I submit proposals to!

I wanted to quickly share my learnings, and also highlight the key things to remember when submitting a talk to a conference CFP:

  • Please don’t just submit a one-liner for an abstract. Unless you are really well-known with an excellent track record then it’s hard to judge the proposal (and even if you are wellknown, then it’s still difficult for us!)
  • Please don’t try and hide a thinly-cloaked sales-pitch as a conference talk. Even the most inexperinced of us sitting on the committe had been to enough conferences to spot this
  • Do include your previous speaking experience (including links to videos and slides), and also any references. This makes the committee’s job of verifying you are a good speaker easier. I do appreciate that not everyone will be an experienced conference presenter, but even a link to a user group talk session you gave can be helpful.
  • Submit to the correct track. If in doubt, then send an email to the organisers asking their opinion
  • Make sure you submit your talk with the correct session type – BOFs are considered and schduled seperately (and sometimes at a differnet meeting than main conference sessions)

On a related topic, Richard Warburton and I presented a ‘How to get your talk accepted at Devoxx UK’ presentation earlier in the year – I’ve included the slides below, as this includes much the same advice as above, but in a nicer format 🙂



At this point I have to say thanks again to the steering committee of Devoxx UK for inviting me to participate, especially Mark Hazel, Ellie May, Stephan Janssen and James McGivern – you guys rock!

If you have any questions about my learnings or the slides above then please feel free to get in touch!

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