Navigating CFPs in 2024

Navigating CFPs in 2024

Hey DevRels 👋🏻

As we wrap up this year, I decided to share some personal notes and thoughts about how I am preparing to apply to host public speaking sessions for 2024. Let’s start the year ready and excited to make some noise 🗣️

I felt that this year was a little different. It felt like the momentum was slow, even though demands, requests, and work responsibilities were high and smashing our neurons, and maybe you did too. So I figured I’d go full transparency, tell you about the hard stuff, and then tell you why CPFs and public speaking are a great thing.

Public speaking can be an essential tool for Developer Relations folks to showcase their abilities and knowledge in different niches, but also expand your influence in the tech community.

Hosting sessions puts you under a shiny spotlight within the tech world, allowing you to contribute significantly to conversations and highlight your expertise around any trends. By breaking into the public speaking and conferences world, you can help others to understand any complex tech concepts in an digestable way. Heads up! This is not just about presentation but also about inspiring and educating others.

Together with that, this will help you to advocate for yourself when working in a particular company, developing campaigns, and showcasing your ideas. In my personal opinion, this is an underrated skill for personal authority.

CFPs… what?

Well, “call for papers” are open slots and invitations for speakers to submit ideas for keynotes at conferences and events. They're a starting point for you to share your expertise and ideas with a broader audience.

This process involves crafting a proposal that highlights your unique perspective on a topic. CFPs are a chance to spotlight new ideas or insights that might not yet be widely recognized in the developer community.

Why CFPs matter
Engaging with CFPs can elevate your career. Share what you do best and consume what others know, which ends up fostering both personal and community growth.

Successfully hosting sessions and delivering good presentations can lead to more speaking opportunities, widening your network, which ends up being a ripple effect, leading to more collaborative projects, increased visibility, and enhanced credibility in your field.

Identifying the right events

To find CFPs, use your professional network and platforms like LinkedIn or X (former Twitter…).

Consider not just the size or how famous an event is, but also its audience and the types of conversations typically hosted. Not all CFPs and events will suit your goals, events that align with your niche or offer an audience keen on your expertise can be more beneficial than larger, more generic conferences.

Crafting your speaker proposal

A strong proposal clearly defines your talk's objective. It should be concise, structured, and directly address the problem you're tackling.

Highlight the value and uniqueness of your presentation. Explain why your talk is important and how it will benefit the audience, using specific examples or experiences to make your case stronger.

Tailoring your proposal
Adapt your proposal to the event's theme. Understand the audience's background to align your language and content with their interests.

Research previous events to understand their tone and content. Use this insight to customize your proposal, ensuring it not only fits the event’s theme but also stands out for its relevance and originality.

Must-have skills

Effective public speaking in DevRel involves clarity and engagement. Use simple language and express your points clearly.

Practice varying your tone and pace to keep the audience engaged. Use pauses for emphasis and to give the audience time to absorb complex points, making your presentation more impactful.

**Engaging your audience
**Keep your audience engaged with relatable examples and stories. Practice your delivery to maintain a steady pace and clear articulation.

Incorporate real-world scenarios or personal experiences to make abstract concepts more tangible. This approach helps in creating a connection with the audience and makes technical topics more approachable.

Preparing for the talk

Practice makes it perfect, as we know 😉 Rehearse your talk multiple times, focusing on clarity and timing.

Record your rehearsals to have a little 1:1 with yourself. Watching your performance can pinpoint any areas for improvement, such as body language or the use of technical jargon.

Technical prep
Ensure your slides and demos work flawlessly. Try to integrate fun elements to your slides, if it makes sense for the presentation and audience. Familiarize yourself with the setup and troubleshoot any potential technical issues.

Check all technical aspects, from slide transitions to video or sound integrations. Ensuring smooth technical execution helps maintain audience focus and minimizes distractions.

Delivering your presentation

Use real-world examples to make your talk relatable. Start with an icebreaker to establish a connection with your audience.

Encourage audience participation through questions or quick surveys. This interaction not only enhances engagement but also provides instant feedback on your presentation.

Interaction and feedback
Encourage questions and interactions. Have fun! Make some jokes and connect with those who are committed to listen to your talk. Be prepared for a Q&A session and use it as an opportunity to deepen the audience's understanding.

Your ability to think on your feet, revert questions with thoughtful responses will showcase your expertise and enhances your authority 💪

Last but not least…

Public speaking and effective CFP engagement are critical in DevRel. These skills help you share knowledge, connect with peers, and grow professionally.

Keep refining these skills. Every presentation or CFP is a learning opportunity, helping you become a more effective communicator and a valued member of the developer community.

Let's connect on Twitter(X) and LinkedIn 👋