Until last week, I had not submitted a speech to any tech conference. I have watched a lot speeches given by others, always thinking that "one day I'll be up there". Submitting a speech is the first step for getting me on that stage. Wish me luck!
This year, many things have made this possible that I was able submit a speech to a conference. Firstly, I work for a company which encourages its employees to share their knowledge at different comminities of practice (for example, every week at Fridays we have an hour long TechWeeklies presentation). Secondly, my employer also encourages us to participate to conferences. Last, but definitely not least, I have the amazing possibility to work and talk with out wonderful developer advocate, Juhis about conferences and what it's like to speak in them. I definitely wouldn't have submitted my speech without Juhis. Thank you.
Having the slides and a good idea of what you want to say, makes it possible that you can submit the speech quickly. You already have the title, possibly a short description of what the speech is about, and the slides at your disposal. You can submit to conferences that have a tight deadline (think about how painful it would be whip up a presentation out of thin air in two weeks, just because you want to submit it to some conference). And if need be, you can also modify the speech a bit, if for example, the conference or the track you're submitting to has a theme that is not at the core of speech, but can be added on top or a sideline.
Read all the questions in the submission form, and make sure you have a list of all you need [and get them in time!]
Now, I thought that I had read through all the questions, and that I knew what I needed. Turns out, I was wrong.
One of the requirements of the application, was a headshot photo. I thought this would be straightforward, I'd just use the same photo that I use at work (a black and white one that was taken when I started at Futurice a year ago). As it turned out, on the very last day of submissions, the conference requested a colorful photo...
In the end, I found the colorful version of that same black and white photo, and luckily the conference required only a very small (400px x 400px) photo, because the colorful one had a really bad resolution.
Another asset that I thought was readily available, but actually wasn't, were the company brand guidelines. This comes from the possibility, that if I am representing my employer, and the employer is okay with the conference using their logos and brand at the conference marketing, the conference needs a guideline how to use their logo and other brand materials. I thought that we would have something like that publicly available (many company's have press kits), but I was wrong. In the end, a lovely colleague from marketing made a presskit for me, put it available and I was able to link them in the submission form.
I came across (not on this conference submission form), but in some other conferences form, a checkbox question of if this speech or its materials are already publicly available on the internet. I had to ask a colleague, Juhis, who has submitted to and spoken at many conferences, would it make sense for me to try to optimize these things, and not make some videos of my speeches or presentations public on the internet. His answer was no - most of the conferences don't sell their tickets due to the exclusive content. It's a lot smarter to get yourself out there, practice presenting and gather a portfolio of presenting experiences, than try to optimize getting in to some conference with some exclusive speeched. He also told me that if I continue presenting, I will also get some ideas that will be so fresh they are exclusive when I submit, but that majority of speakers (himself included), have a portfolio of ever-green topics, that they rotare from conference to conference. Which is totally fine, because they are important topics, and can stand the tooth of time.