Replacing The Opening Talk at Conferences

Over the last couple of years (apart from this year oddly enough) I’ve been to a fair few tech conferences and one of the most annoying things about them (especially YAPCs) are the opening talks. If you’re lucky you get a good keynote. Otherwise you get either a bad sponsor session or even, don’t be afraid - you don’t have to attend, a “Getting the most out of a YAPC” talk.

So now I’ve whinged about it what’s my suggestion to fix it? Have a short session where each speaker who’s presenting at the conference gives a brief peek (and a chance to hook people in) to their talk.

This should be no more than a minute or two, 3-6 slides at most, all using the same laptop and lined up in the front row of the audience to keep it smooth and fast. Although a lot of people already know what they want to see doing this will help people to spot the speakers who have an… “incompatible with the audience” presentation style and may even change their mind about what to see.