For those who have not heard of a WordCamp, it is a WordPress conference. In fact, WordCamps happen nearly every week in just about any major city in the world. The conferences are sometimes 1,2 or 3 days and are jam-packed with topics from using to designing and developing with WordPress.
Becoming a speaker at a WordCamp can be fun, but not necessarily easy to become one as there are many people that apply. There are many things you should know before you send a speaker proposal in to any WordCamp.
You have to fully embrace the WordPress license. Nothing short of 100% GPL is allowed at a WordCamp. If you talk about it or review WordPress related products that do not have the same license that WordPress carries, then you will disqualify yourself from being considered as a presenter.
While it is not necessary to be from the area that the WordCamp is in, you actually have a higher chance of being considered as a speaker than say someone from the other side of the country, or even the world. Let us face it- you can get business from speaking at a WordCamp, especially if your presentation was extremely good. However, this conference is to help people and they are looking for people that show that they really care about helping WordPress users, designers, and developers of all sorts.
Make sure to contact the local WordPress meetup or the WordCamp organizers and check to see if they are are looking to cover certain topics that their community has requested. Working with them shows that you are eager to help in any way. Sometimes the organizers may see that you have a better and more interesting view on a topic that you mentioned on your own website and want you to present on that instead of your original proposal.
Be transparent about yourself and show that you have some type of authority and skill in your niche. You will be asked to for your site and the organizers will check to see who you are. They do want to select the best presenters for their WordCamp that their attendees will learn from.
Becoming a speaking is a volunteer job. You WILL either pay from your pocket or have to seek out a sponsor. WordCamp organizers sometimes hold speaker and sponsor dinners to thank those who helped make their conference awesome, but NEVER expect any form of compensation. As said earlier, this IS a conference that you are helping people. And by the way, you can put the expenses in your taxes. 😉
Be thorough and show your passion in your speaker proposal. It allows the organizers to see how you are knowledgeable and passionate about what you want to present. They want people that will inspire others to do their best with WordPress. List at least 3 take-away points. Also, be open to suggestions as the organizers may want to make sure some important aspects of your topic need to be covered.
Be prepared to be asked questions if you are a speaker. There are a lot of attendees at WordCamps, sometimes even as few as 150 and more than 750. There are some WordCamps that do have a question and answer bar, also known as a Genius Bar or a Happiness Bar. However, you will be approached at anytime and ask questions.
Bring your business cards. Correction- bring PLENTY of business cards. People will ask for them regardless if they will do business with you. They may have questions for you outside the conference or they might refer another person to you for business.
These are just a few things you should know about becoming a WordCamp speaker. If you are considering to apply to a nearby WordCamp, good luck. 🙂
Have you spoken at a WordCamp before? Do you have any advice for future speakers?