How we choose our speakers (and why you should apply to be one!)

Summer in Berlin means a few things: barbeques in the park, outdoor movie theatres, street festivals, and for Berlin's growing tech community, eurucamp. As the weather gets warmer and the cherry trees start to blossom, all thoughts are turning to the conference, and how to make this year's, somehow, better than the last.

Finding the right speakers

An integral part of any conference is finding the right group of people to talk about a wide range of exciting topics. Last year's lineup boasted an almost 50/50 gender ratio, and talks were presented in all shapes and sizes. Attendees were treated to a live game coding session, advice on how to debug applications with ease using the scientific method, a lesson in creative note-taking through doodles and sketches using... gasp!, a pen and paper, and many many more.

The diversity of speakers and topics is thanks in part to our stricly "no invited speakers" rule, meaning that only the keynote speaker is invited. The rest of the slots are filled with accepted submissions from the public, and everyone is encouraged to submit proposals about interesting new developments in the world of tech, as well as the social aspects of programming.

Let's answer some questions

"But organizers" you may be thinking, "I've never talked at a conference before! I don't know the first thing about speaking in public, in fact, the thought TERRIFIES ME!"

Don't worry speaker-newbie, we have you covered. eurucamp offers those thinking about submitting a proposal all kinds of help. From brainstorming to public speaking, to putting together slids, your friendly neighbourhood eurucamp organizer is here, just get in touch. In fact, first-time speaker Tworit Dash applied to be a speaker last year after watching talks from eurucamp 2013, and discovered it to be "the best conference for new speakers".

"OH NO!" you might then think, "I submitted a talk that I thought was really good, but then I heard that local-famous-ruby-person also submitted a talk! I don't stand a chance of being accepted, I'm not nearly as famous!"

Take a deep breath newly-experienced-talk-submitter. eurucamp has anonymous submissions. In the first round of judging, your name, as well as local-famous-ruby-person's name, will be removed from the the papers, and talks will be judged on a scale of 1 to 10. The top 50 submissions will then be rated on a three point scale, and then names are put back in. Decisions about the final line-up are made based on a number of factors in order to ensure a conference brimming with diverse speakers with a wide range of experience. You can read all about the process here.

"YAY/SH*T!" will probably be your next reaction. "My talk was accepted! But I've never actually given a talk before!"

Never fear eurucamp speaker (congrats by the way)! We have an unconditional mentor policy. Think of them like stickers: you go to a conference, you get a sticker, you speak at eurucamp, you get a mentor. This is to make sure the speakers don't have to ask for help, they just get someone who is there to answer questions, flesh out ideas, and offer suggestions. Tworit describes the mentoring as one of the best things about speaking at the conference:

Ben Scofield was my mentor and I got everything from him to make my talk experience much better. He taught me how nervousness can be helpful for a better talk. And as he was absent during the conference, José and Roman mentored me there. I was so influenced by their advice that I spoke very frankly and fearlessly.

Rin Räuber also speaks highly of her mentoring experience, and despite not being her first conference talk, says that it was her best one "by far":

[The mentoring experience] was pretty cool. My mentor Piotr rocked. He gave me valuable feedback, we practiced the talk several times, and to have him somebody in the audience who had seen the talk grow from its alpha version to the final one was cool.

Mentors are also encouraged to give feedback after the talk, so that speakers can continue to grow and improve, making their next talk even better. If you feel like you don't need a mentor, that's fine too. You'll still get one, and we suggest at least getting some post-conference feedback from them.

What do you have to loose?

Doesn't that sound great? This year's call for proposals closes May 1st, so there's still some time to brush up on that talk of yours and hand it in.

Good luck, and see you at eurucamp!