This is a continuation of my earlier “So You Want to Speak at a Security Conference?” post where I cover creating a good submission to speak at a conference. I have spoken a handful of times and am definitely not an expert, though I do want to share some of the best tips I’ve discovered with others. I don’t have all the answers and I’m not an expert speaker. What I do have is some speaking experience at some notable security conferences and the tips and strategy that got me through them. 🙂 Hopefully these posts help you.
After putting together a stellar presentation submission, you receive an email with the words you were hoping for: “your submission is accepted!”
This email arrives weeks if not months after submitting to a conference and typically about 1-3 months before the actual conference date.
After taking some time to celebrate, and you really should since most conferences get more submissions than available slots (often many times that number), it’s time to get down to business. This is also a good time to make travel arrangements (assuming you need to travel). Also review the conference CFP pages and/or speaker section (if available) for speaker logistics.
Before getting started, please read through Speaking.io it’s a great resource and has lots of great tips for speakers.
The important ones:
- Presentation duration – usually 45 – 50 minutes, though some conferences also have other presentation formats, like 20 or 100 minutes.
- Milestone dates:
- Deadline to update abstract/summary and bio.
- Deadline for slides/whitepaper/other material (typically for conference CD/DVD)
- Projector: standard or widescreen (this matters for your slide format)
- Note if there’s a presentation template and/or file type requirement (PDF is typically required).
Also remember that the email address the acceptance was sent to will be the one conference/speaker updates are sent to, if there are any changes (i.e. you switch jobs, etc), make sure the conference contact knows about it.
Creating the Presentation
The first thing to do is to review your submission (hopefully you also included an outline) and start mapping out the presentation narrative. This is the time to figure out how you are going to get all the content in the abstract/summary into the presentation slides.
Make sure that the presentation slide material, including demos, can be covered in the time allowed.