Speaking at a WordCamp – Do’s and Don’ts

Are you thinking of speaking at a WordCamp?

WordCamps are locally-organized, annual conferences covering everything related to WordPress. They bring together WordPress community members from all over the world at a common place, providing a chance to gather in a new location to share insights and experiences, do business, make connections and talk about WordPress.

One of the best bits of WordCamps are the Speaker sessions. We listen to talks from people from different areas of life talking about their experiences with WordPress and sharing the knowledge they’ve gathered.

The mere fact that you thought of speaking at a WordCamp is a great deal in itself. Speaking at a WordCamp isn’t just about sharing knowledge and experiences, it is also about gathering them.

WordCamps are huge conferences filled with people. Although it does sound daunting, speaking at a WordCamp boosts your confidence. It isn’t easy speaking to hundreds of people sitting across you but once you do that, you’ll come out much more confident than you ever were.

If you really want to be a speaker at a WordCamp, there are a few things you may have to keep in mind.

Especially if you’re a first-timer, it can be easy to miss out on details or not know about some information. So, to help you, we have compiled a list of the Do’s and the Don’ts of speaking at a WordCamp.

Speaking at a WordCamp – Do’s

1. Apply

It doesn’t matter if you are unsure that your talk will be accepted or that you are actually eligible to be speaking at a WordCamp. Just apply. No matter if you’re a user, designer, or developer, at WordCamps you can share what you’ve learned about WordPress and how you’re working with it.

2. Try Speaking at a Local WordCamp

WordCamps, by default, are local events. They’re asked by WordCamp Central to aim for a 80:20 ratio for local speakers:visiting speakers. So, if you apply to speak at a WordCamp in your locality, chances of your selection are higher.

3. Tell a Story

Have you been to a WordCamp and watched a speaker give a tutorial or instructions? Yes? Did you go home, remember it and try it? Probably not. Instead of focusing too much on technical details, try to build up your talk into a story line. Tell your own story of WordPress. You’re sure to inspire the attendees and be remembered that way.

4. Be Original and Unique

All the talks on WordCamps are available on WordPress.tv for everybody to watch. Check them out and plan your talk in a way that is unique and original. Let the viewers, too, have something new to look at. If you’re interesting, people will talk to the organizers and let them know you were great.

5. Prepare

If you are speaking at a WordCamp, there’s one thing you absolutely have to do – Prepare. Know your topic and have your slides ready for organizers to review a few weeks before the event. Write out your talk, practice it for more than a few times and time it as well. Come conference day, you want to have all your arrows in your sheath not lying everywhere.

Speaking at a WordCamp – Don’ts

1. Expect Remuneration

WordCamps don’t pay speakers. Speaking at a WordCamp is completely volunteer basis. Also, WordCamps don’t cover speaker travel/accommodations. What you do get is a free ticket to the event, at most. So, don’t expect any monetary gains.

2. Pitch Products

WordCamps are educational, but not “marketing” educational. So no one would like to hear you talk for 30 minutes about your product. Just because you found out that WordCamps have a lot of people, don’t try to turn a speaking session into a long infomercial.

3. Under-deliver or Go Overboard

As a speaker at a WordCamp, you’ll be talking about something you are deeply familiar with. The attendees are sure to ask you questions. When they do, don’t stand there with a blank stare and leave the question unanswered. The awkwardness that follows won’t just be yours.

Additionally, don’t take more time than you’re allocated. There are a lot of things going on at a WordCamp and things have to get done on schedule. You don’t want to be the reason the schedule went haywire, do you? So end on time or early. Never later.

4. Neglect Trademarks or Logos

We still see a lot of people writing “WordPress” or using the Fauxgo! The “P” in WordPress is Capital. And use the real WordPress logo.

5. Jest Inconsiderately

WordCamps are open to people from all areas of life, ages, backgrounds and inclinations. Make sure you keep your presentation G-rated. Try your best not to make jokes that might alienate anyone in your audience. Your talk should be friendly and polite and not offend anybody.

Speaking at a WordCamp is a great learning experience. It is a wonderful opportunity to give back to the community. It is an amazing platform to connect, network and share your stories.

Stay genuine and you’ll surely marvel at your talk in the next WordCamp!

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