A thoughtful post from Troy on ways that some conferences mistreat speakers.
Reading through the post and the comments was an eye opener to me – for all his items (except perhaps 3 and 7, see below) – I was surprised that things like this still happen at commercial conferences. Admittedly my experience of conferences lately has been Inbound – which is at the premium end – the way they treat speakers is excellent.
However, a few thoughts related to:
3. Sharing slides
One thing that can provide tons of value for attendees is slide decks. Perhaps it’s different for largely demo driven talks (which Troy’s would mostly be), but in many cases making slide decks available afterwards is a quick and easy way to save attendees frantically scribbling notes during your session, allowing them instead to stay focussed on your speaking. There’s a relief when a speaker say ‘don’t worry about taking notes of the resources, they’ll all be available in the deck afterwards…’
If the sessions is recorded and made available afterwards, that’s even better, but is often not an option at smaller conferences. Also, there’s usually a delay of at least a week or two after a talk while they are produced – something else making the slides immediately available overcomes.
7. Covering Travel and Expenses
This is an interesting one. For drawcard speakers (and Troy is certainly one) this is of course to be expected. And in many cases the headline speakers are paid appearance fees on top. That’s all totally fine.
However, there is an interesting discussion to be had at the lower end of the speaker ladder. For an unknown speaker, getting in front of an audience, and paying for the privilege of doing so may well be a good investment.
Also, compare it to exhibiting at a conference or tradeshow.
As conference sponsorship prices increase, it may actually be a lot cheaper to pay all your own expenses in exchange for getting a conference ticket and the chance to speak to a room full of interested attendees…