A conference is always an opportunity to see old friends and meet new like-minded people, learn new things and jump into interesting conversations. One could say that this socializing part is the most interesting. The reason is simple: in such a context you can discuss what is of interest to you, and share your experiences instead of just passively consuming the content presented by the speakers. That’s why, this year, we’re experimenting with attendee lightning talks.

But why?

Lightning talks are ideal for practicing public speaking, and experimenting with explaining or pitching something in a short time. They don’t need to be perfect and they offer a good opportunity for trying topics before submitting a proper conference talk. They might even save you from having to get on stage in front of hundreds of people and realizing you don’t really know how to give a memorable talk!

We wanted to give every attendee the chance to share valuable information with other participants. Lightning talks are created and presented by the attendees, and they are a fast, fun, and simple way to share something they have learned (perhaps the hard way), something that may or may not have worked for their team, or something that excites them and they think everyone should hear about. This year, you may get a chance to shape the conference program and increase the topic diversity by submitting and presenting your own talk!

Sounds great, how do I do that?

If there is a topic relevant to the conference that you want to present to other attendees, there will be a whiteboard next to the registration desk where you can post your talk title. Then it’s time to put your marketing skills to good use and get other participants to vote for it! Every attendee will have a couple of colored sticky dot labels (one for each day, with a different color for each day of the conference). This means you get to vote for one of the proposed talks each day. The voting will take place until lunch break, and the most popular topics will be presented in the lightning talks session, along with the lightning talks given by invited speakers. This means that if you submit a talk and it is selected, you need to move fast and either create a short presentation of up to 5 slides or be ready use a flip chart / whiteboard to present your topic. Then, the stage is yours for 5 minutes and you get your chance to shine!