High quality content, speakers and talk topics will determine event success.

Some basic guidelines for building a good event program include:

  • Encourage bold, innovative thought-provoking subjects
  • Recruit a diverse slate of speakers
  • Make sure one organization does not receive too many speaking slotsMake sure that all content is sensitive and appropriate
  • Promote fun and participation
  • Encourage interaction between attendees
  • Specify what languages are acceptable for talks

Recruiting Speakers

Along with sponsorships, this is one of the most challenging parts of running an event. The CNCF Speakers Bureau  is a great place to start. Regardless you should anticipate spending some time recruiting speakers and speaking proposals. With this in mind, here are some ways to make recruiting speakers easier:

  • Build a stock of proposal ideas for potential speakers either to adopt or use to spark their creative process
  • Offer to brainstorm with potential speakers to help create content
  • Reach out to known event speakers on the CNCF Slack and ask if they have speaking ideas (or if they want to speak at the event!)

Recruiting a diverse speaker slate requires extra effort. Some ideas for this include:

  • Contact organizations like Women Who Code  and Black Girls Code 
  • Check relevant meetups for past speakers
  • Consider bringing in speakers from outside the region to improve diversity
  • Make sure you have two female speakers on each panel (Kubernetes Community Days prohibit all maale panels so two women speakers means even in case of a cancellation you will have gender diversity)
  • Give speakers at least six weeks of notice so they can make travel arrangements

Judging proposals

  • Announce your “Call For Proposals” early to give speakers and your team the most time to find quality speakers and content ideas
  • Minimize bias, by creating a transparent proposal rating system
  • List proposal rating criteria (e.g. originality, big idea, new speaker, high-quality speaker)
  • Have a panel of judges award each proposal points against each criteria
  • Add up the points and award the speaking slot to the highest rated proposals
  • Publish the names of the programming committee
  • Be prepared to explain any programming decisions

Content considerations

  • Give higher priority to content that has not been previously presented
  • Try for a good balance between local and out-of-town speakers
  • Prioritize new event speakers: Kubernetes Community Days is a supportive environment to encourage new voices in our space

Set up a clear timeline on content reviews

  • Regularly check-in with speakers to ensure they are making progress
  • Offer content development assistance and presentation coaching
  • Review every presentation in advance to ensure appropriate content
  • Schedule at least two live video run-throughs of presentations before the event
  • Identify all A/V requirements for each presentation
  • Do they need video playback?
  • Live coding?
  • Preferred microphone types?
  • Check in with all speakers on event day to make sure they are ready
  • Provide constructive post-event feedback with concrete advice