What I learned from Write/Speak/Codes “How to Write Killer Conference Proposals”

Note: WordPress seems to be removing Paragraph formatting.  For Easier reading of Notes: http://lunacodes.tumblr.com/post/122415903376/reflections-from-write-speak-codes-how-to-write

I just got Back from Write/Speak/Code NYC’s event “How to Write Killer Conference Proposals”.  It was a wonderful event & there was definitely lots to learn & get from the panelists.  A lot of the panel covered things I already knew (I’ve performed at Conventions, as well as Moderated & Participated in panels before … though I only gave my first “Tech” presentation very recently).  There was still lots to be learned though … In the middle of the talk, Debbie from Stride asked “Who wants to write a blog about this panel”, and since my MO is basically compulsive note taking & then posting it to my blog, my hand shot up.

So this is an experiment … usually, I view my role in blogging about panels as a bit more passive: I’m essentially a reporter/transcriber, and I just post the notes I took during the talk.  So for this Blog Post, I went back through my notes, and pulled out the things that I had either freshly learned, or that stood out the most to me.  This had the extra benefit of allowing me to organize the thoughts a bit better, and improving memory consolidation/recall.  I think in the future, for the sake of time and energy, I’ll return to my usual method … but perhaps doing things this way is worth considering.

What I Learned:

1.  Always tell a Story:
2.  People Like Hearing Stories – especially stories about how we’re all Human
3.  Combine Story with Practical Advice

Getting Noticed:
1.  Respond to something controversial that has already been written
2.  Use Twitter to Network & Build Relationships
3.  Presenting at Conferences Builds your Credibility & is a great Networking tool

Applying to Conferences:
1.  Your job is to make the Conference Organizer’s life as easy as possible.
2.  You are cultivating confidence with the Organizer that your presentation is a great fit for the event
3.  Form a Relationship, Submit Early
4.  Send 5 potential Talk Titles & ask “Which two are your favorites”
5.  Give them everything put together in a nice package
6.  Be Concise
7.  Give the same talk 4-5 times, Ship It all over.
[My Addition: Get Video of Everything You Do.  This is the best way you can give a Presenter confidence that what you’re doing will work]

1.  Wear Solid Colors – it shows up better on Cameras
2.  Don’t wear Logos that will cause licensing issues, preventing Conferences from using your footage

Planning & Preparation:
1.  If you’re unsure of the vibe/culture of a presentation, use Twitter to ask people.  Use Topsy to go through Social Media Archives & see what was said at the time.
2.  Have ALL the technical details sorted out
3.  Bring ALL the Dongles (someone will always need one)
4.  Be prepared to do your presentation with no visual support at all
5.  Be able to Roll With Anything
6.  Memorize 1 “Kickoff” word for each slide prior to running through the presentation

1.  Do “Bear Arms” for power right before presentation
2.  Be prepared to post to Speaker Deck & be prepared for the questions & follow up around your presentation

Getting Ideas:
1.  Write everything down
2.  Keep a log of what you do/learn, interesting programs, etc
3.  Things you’d like to see done different; Things that are missing
4.  Jot down random thoughts
5.  If you blank, start reading something (you can pull ideas from another blog)
6.  Curate the best 10 books/tweets
7.  Curate other peoples’ thoughts
8.  Put your own spin on a Big Topic

Imposter Syndrome:
1.  You know more than you think you do
2.  Talk to people outside your office and normal group & this will become clear
3.  Figure out WHY you want to talk in the first place & let that guide you

Presenting While Being A Woman:
1.  From an Organizer’s perspective, this works in your favor.  They are concerned with balance.
2.  People form impressions within the first 5-10 seconds of meeting you
3.  Show up as your Best Self & be Comfortable
4.  Don’t wear Sweatpants!!
5.  If you’re going to wear Sweatpants, OWN it
6.  Being a Presenter makes Small Talk vastly easier
7.  Someone invited you to be Here.  You belong.
8.  Q&A can be difficult in some conferences, and can be accompanied by Mansplaining or Misogyny

Methods For Dealing With Misogyny:
1.  Say “I’m not going to take questions, you can find me on Twitter”
2.  Plan Talk Times to Minimize Q&A, and make people find you 1 on 1
3.  Don’t let it affect your confidence:
4.  “If this person knew more about this topic than me, they’d be up here presenting”

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