How to set up your talk or tutorial proposal for a Python conference
PyLadies Night With Cheuk Ting Ho
On July 29th, Pyladies Ghana hosted another session of our monthly Pyladies Night series. We welcomed Cheuk Ting Ho, who shared her expertise on “How to set up your talk or tutorial proposal for a Python conference.”
Cheuk is an avid open-source contributor and organizer of PyData London and Humble Data community events. She’s also a PSF Director and fellow and an advocate for Open-source software (OSS) Security.
She began her career as a data scientist and learned about conferences. She joined a supportive community and submitted her first proposal, which was rejected. Undeterred, she submitted another proposal to a different conference, and it was accepted. She continued to submit proposals until she ultimately switched careers to developer relations (DevRel) in order to begin giving talks full-time.
Why should I speak publicly?
Cheuk categorized reasons for public speaking as personal or community gain. Personal reasons include sharing knowledge, building credibility, and a career in DeVRel roles.
How exactly do I start?
When preparing for a talk, it's important to keep in mind two aspects: mentoring and safe environments.
Local meetups with supportive audiences
Internal events at the workplace (if they're supportive)
Communities that support inclusion and diversity
Events that have an effective Code of Conduct (CoC)
Online events that accept recorded talks
Join a Mentorship program (e.g. EuroPython)
Ask a colleague or friend for guidance and rehearsal
Ask in a supportive community
If you're just starting out on your public speaking journey, we highly recommend beginning with a lightning talk that lasts between 5 and 10 minutes. To avoid feeling overwhelmed, it's a good idea to consider recorded or live talks instead of giving physical talks. Also, it's best to refrain from doing live demos.
Tips to look out for when submitting a proposal
Do it before the deadline
Talk about something that you care about
A use case at work may be a good start
Avoid sales pitches
Deliver the educational value of the talk (why should people attend your talk):
State that you identify as a minority in tech
And remember, it is okay and common to have your proposal rejected. Don’t give up; try again. Perhaps you can make a career out of it.
Gain confidence in approaching your first speaking opportunity and discover a new phrase introduced by the speaker by reviewing the session recording.