5 Reasons to Apply to Speak at WordCamp DC

Perhaps you’ve been thinking about applying to speak at WordCamp DC, but you’re still not sure if you should. Maybe you’ve already applied, but you feel queasy with nerves each time you think about it. There are a lot of reasons to apply to speak at WordCamps and other professional conferences, but we have five very special reasons why you should consider applying to speak at WordCamp DC this year.

#1 This is the FIRST WordCamp DC.

Washington, DC is unique in that we’ve had a large, thriving WordPress community for a long time, but have never actually had a full-fledged WordCamp. That also means that we have rarely had the opportunity to share the depth of our community with folks beyond DC. We want to showcase the amazing work that happens with WordPress right here in the District. Wouldn’t it be exciting to be able to say you were an inaugural speaker at the inaugural WordCamp DC?

#2 You’ll get to meet the other speakers and lots of other people too.

Speakers will have the opportunity to attend a thank you event along with volunteers and sponsors. This event will be our way of saying thank you, but also will be a time where you can connect and get to know the other speakers in a smaller venue. This type of event can really help ease social nerves when preparing to speak because you’ll be able to chat with other people who feel the same way.

You’ll also meet plenty of folks that you’ll see around the conference throughout the weekend. When you stand up to talk about something you’re passionate about, chances are lots of people who are also interested in that subject will come up and want to talk with you about it. This is exciting in lots of ways: where else can you find other people with such similar interests?

#3 If you’re new to speaking, you’ll have mentorship.

We will have a mentorship program for all new speakers that will help support you as you prepare for your talk. We’ll make sure you have someone to review your presentation with in advance of the conference so that you can be as confident as can be going into your session. If you have experience speaking already and feel like you’d like feedback, we will also work with you to make sure you are supported in your conference preparations.

#4 You’ll learn a LOT from putting your talk together.

Every time I give a talk, I realize that I’ve learned more from putting the talk together than anyone might learn from listening to it. Constructing a talk in your area of expertise will help solidify your knowledge because when you need to process the component parts of what you know so that you can present this knowledge to someone else, you’ll relearn your topic in a much deeper way. Public speaking is great in that way because you have the opportunity to internalize your knowledge all while sharing with other people. Everyone wins!

#5 You’ll be giving back to the WordPress community.

WordPress is an open-source project and community. Many of our businesses and vocations are possible because of the success of the larger project. Many of us have learned a tremendous amount from attending meetups, WordCamps, and perusing the support forums. Many of us have made life-long connections with the friends and professional contacts we’ve found through the community.

Speaking at a WordCamp is a contribution to the larger WordPress community. Attendees at WordCamp DC will learn from your expertise and people across the globe will be able to learn from your talk through its publication on WordPress TV.

We want to ensure that WordCamp DC is a fantastic learning experience for everyone involved and are committed to supporting our future speakers in making that happen. If you’re interested in submitting a proposal, please make sure you do so by midnight on May 26th!

Questions About Speaking at WordCamp DC?

We have been thrilled to see folks in the DC community and beyond interested in applying to speak at WordCamp DC. We’ve also had lots of questions about applying to speak, so I’m answering all of the most common questions here! Of course, if you have other questions, please ask!

Does it matter if I haven’t spoken at a conference before?

Not at all! If you have a topic or area of expertise that you are excited to share, we want to hear from you.

We are committed to supporting all of our speakers, especially newer speakers, in being prepared and confident for their talks. As you’re thinking about applying, check out some of the super helpful resources over at Get Speaking! that will help you think through how to put together an application and prepare your talk. We will have a mentorship program for all new speakers that will help provide support in preparing your talks and calming your nerves. Speaking of…

Any tips on not being so nervous?

Absolutely. Applying to speak at a WordCamp takes a lot of courage and speaking itself requires more of the same. As you’re thinking about applying, ask a friend to talk through your ideas. Then, once you’ve written up your application, have someone else edit it before you submit.

If your talk is selected, we’ll be providing mentorship and support in advance of WordCamp DC to make sure that you are as calm and prepared as you can be going into your talk.

A first time speaker at WordCamp London 2016 wrote a fantastic post on her experiences creating and presenting her first talk that I highly recommend you read to learn a bit more about what speaking at a WordCamp can be like.

How much detail should be included in my application?

You can include as much or as little detail as you like though there are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Your bio will be published on the WordCamp DC site if your talk is selected. Please make sure what you submit is appropriate to publish and is short enough that it can easily be scanned by WordCampers.
  • Likewise, your topic description is what will make it onto the schedule. Be sure to provide enough detail to let WordCampers know what you will be talking about, but keep it short enough that folks will read the whole thing. One to three short paragraphs is usually great!

How long will talks be?

We anticipate that each slot in the conference schedule will leave about 30-40 minutes for each talk or workshop session. This includes time for questions.

Are live demos ok?

Live demos ARE ok, but proceed with caution! I’ve seen awesome demos, but I’ve also seen some great speakers fumble with live demos due to a typo or bad internet connection.

Some pointers that will help make your demo awesome:

  • Do not rely on the internet. Local installs are your friend!
  • Avoid lots of real-time typing.
  • Prep your files in advance and uncomment things rather than type.
  • Consider using animated gifs instead of a live demo.

I haven’t been using WordPress that long. Surely you’re not interested in hearing from me?

False! We would love to hear from you! If you’ve worked in any way with WordPress or with the internet you likely have a perspective or skill to share that would help others learn. Take a look at the next question for some topic areas that are not super WordPress-specific where you might have expertise.

Is this WordCamp only focused on museums, security, and government? Do I have anything to contribute?

Yes, you have something to contribute!

This is a TRADITIONAL WordCamp with some subject-specific tracks on museums, security, and government.

We are dedicated to making sure that we’re putting together the most WordPressy WordCamp we can. To us that means that it is important that we have talks on topics important to all WordPress users like building and using WordPress sites, design, development, and digital strategy skills that support our WordPress sites. Consider topics related to the following:

  • All steps involved in building a WordPress website
  • Plugins
  • Theme development/child theming
  • User experience design
  • Design
  • Business
  • Digital strategy
  • Accessibility
  • HTML/CSS/JavaScript/PHP
  • Case studies involving WordPress sites

What are these subject-specific tracks about?

Many WordCamps have subject-specific tracks, for example WordCamp Baltimore had an education track last year. Most of the time these tracks aren’t publicized too much in advance of the selection of speakers. We decided to share what our dream specialty tracks are in advance so that we would encourage folks to submit talks related to those themes. Of course, we might adjust how this will work based on the talk submissions we receive.

This year’s dream subject-specific tracks are:

  • Security
  • Government
  • Galleries, Libraries, Archives, and Museums
  • Introduction to Web Development

We are looking for all sorts of talks related to these subjects: case studies, technical talks, content-related talks, etc. The introduction to web development track is envisioned as a safe space for beginners to learn through appropriately leveled workshops and talks.

How do I submit my talk?

If you’re ready to submit your talk idea, please apply using our handy Speaker Submission Form!


Apply to Speak at WordCamp DC 2017

The inaugural WordCamp DC is looking for WordCamp speakers who will educate, inspire and inform  attendees about topics related to WordPress. We are hoping to heavily feature local speakers and so we are calling for speakers from the DC metro area and beyond to submit a talk idea and share your experiences and expertise!

What We’re Looking For

WordCamp DC is going to be a little different than other WordCamps in terms of the format of the conference because we want to make sure we are addressing some special topics specific to the DC community. Check out the schedule outline to see what we’re talking about!

In addition to topics focusing on designing, writing content, building businesses, or expanding functionality, we are interested in topics and case studies related to the following areas:

  • security
  • government
  • galleries
  • libraries
  • archives
  • museums
  • introductory web development

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