5 ideas for better conferences

Last week I've presented at the conference and before that help a workshop. This reminded me of a few ideas to make my life as a speaker so much better and experience of participating at an event so much more gratifying.

  1. Let speakers know the planned duration of their talk upfront and notify them if anything changes along the way. I vaguely remember maybe a couple of events when I did not have to derive my time allotment from the conference agenda.
  2. As much as conference organizers are eager to get the exact title and description of the talk we, the speakers, would die to know who signs up to attend. There is nothing worse than getting on stage to discuss low-level UNIX stuff with front-end web developers.
  3. It is good idea to gather feedback from attendees. It is even better to share their feedback with speakers and ask the speakers how to improve the event next time.
  4. As a speaker you never get enough time between preparation and answering questions after your talk to attend other talks. Given that on a typical 1-day conference there would be up to a dozen of speakers it would be great to have a chance to talk to all of them. This can easily be achieved with a mail list for speakers to communicate before and after the event. At least share their contacts within the group.
  5. No matter how many people would come to the conference only some of them will attend you talk. Even smaller part will take notes. This renders references to books, articles, videos or products you make in your talk almost useless. Wouldn't it be great if each speaker could send a summary of his talk with all the references to useful stuff in a post-event newsletter?

Happy speakers make for happy attendees, happy speakers and attendees make for great conferences.