We are once again in the heart of the planning season for the DotNetNuke DevConnections and SDC conferences. It is that time of year when we ask all of you to submit your session abstracts for this years DotNetNuke North American conference. Later this week we’ll be opening up the official Call for Speakers on DotNetNuke.com, but I wanted to take the opportunity to give speakers a heads up so they could start preparing their abstracts so that they are ready once we open the submission form. Like the last three years, we are accepting session submissions in 4 different topic areas: Development, Design, Administration and Open Source.
Development – These are basically session dealing with code. Whether it is topic on module development or building custom providers or dissecting the internals of DotNetNuke, anything that would appeal to the software coders is fair game.
Design – This topic area is targeted at the web designers. This goes beyond just talking about skins. It also includes topics like SEO, and accessibility and can even include Localization. These sessions should focus more on the aesthetic and usability aspects of building a DotNetNuke website.
Administration – This topic area is where speakers present sessions that address the needs of the end user. How do they install DotNetNuke, how do they configure it for a Web Farm or to run in the cloud(this is different that writing a module that uses cloud services), how can they improve site performance. These sessions really focus on the day to day use and administration of running a DotNetNuke website. This topic area is also a catchall for any business related topics.
Open Source – This final topic area is designed to show attendees how they can incorporate other Open Source tools into their development, design and administration tasks. It might be a topic on using Watin for testing or using GIMP and Paint.Net for creating your skin elements. The idea here is to expand the attendees view of the Open Source community and to bring in fresh and complimentary ideas from other Open Source projects. These sessions should still be relevant to DotNetNuke in a very meaningful way. A topic showing all the wonders of using Wordpress for blogging is not appropriate.
Frequently Asked Questions.
Q. What are good topics?
A. Every year I get asked by speakers as to which topics would be good choices. There is no good answer because we have to balance topics so that we cater to a wide variety of attendees. We need topics for beginners as well as advanced users. We need sessions on staples like security, but we also want sessions that cover cutting edge topics like hosting DotNetNuke in the cloud. At the end of the day, speakers need to ask themselves this question – Would anyone pay a couple thousand dollars to attend your session? Every user who attends one of the DotNetNuke conferences will spend a couple thousand dollars on lodging, transportation, meals, time off from work and conference registration. Will your session appeal to a large enough number of attendees and make them feel like they are getting their moneys worth? Will your session appeal to employers who will ultimately make the decision whether to send their employees or not?
Q. How can I improve my chances to get selected?
A. Every year we have speakers who submit really good topics. Unfortunately, they only submit one or two sessions. In order to keep our costs inline with conference revenue, we require speakers to present multiple sessions. If you only submit one or two sessions you significantly reduce your chances of getting selected. If you only submit sessions on one specific topic area, you likewise limit your chances. The most successful speakers have a range of sessions that they can deliver. For example, if you are a designer, consider submitting sessions from three or 4 topic areas like SEO, XHTML compliance, CSS frameworks, or skinning basics. If for some reason the selection committee did not like your SEO topic, then you still have other options that give the committee some flexibility.
Once you have identified key session topics, spend a little time developing good session abstracts. The goal is to convince readers that your topic is both relevant and interesting. You may have the greatest presentation ever created and be an awesome speaker, but the selection committee won’t know that unless you can convey in one or two paragraphs what you plan to talk about and why people will care. Spend a little time reviewing the session abstracts from previous conferences. Speakers will often spend weeks and weeks developing material, so don’t shortcut the process and only spend 5 minutes on the session abstract. This is the résumé for your presentation. Make it count.
Q. Who Should Submit?
A. Every conference relies on the quality of its speakers and as proven over the last three years, the DotNetNuke community has a lot of great speakers. While we anticipate that some core team members will want to speak, we are also interested in having speakers from the broader DotNetNuke community as well. So please don't hesitate to offer your speaking services. Even if you didn't get selected in past years, please submit sessions. Every year we make a concerted effort to bring in fresh speakers who did not speak at the prior year’s conferences.
Q. How do I Submit my Sessions?
A. Instructions for submitting your sessions will be provided when we officially open the call for speakers for the two major conferences.
Q. What do I get if I am selected to speak?
A. In the past we have provided free conference registration and lodging for speakers. We are still working on the final details for this year’s conferences and will announce the benefits when we officially open the call for speakers.
Q. When and where is the Conference?
A. This years DevConnections conference is being held in Las Vegas, Nevada at the Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino from November 1st through the 4th. There will also be pre-conference and post-conference workshops available.
Additional conference details will be posted on the DotNetNuke website as they become available.