Call for Proposals (CFP)
We would like to be open about our Call for Proposals (CFP) process. This page describes how our programme committee works and what we like to offer to our speakers. This includes tips to provide an even more convincing submission, so that the chance increases your talk is being accepted.
For our conferences we like the following subjects (and more):
- Content Management Systems (CMS)
- Configuration management
- Cryptography and crypto analysis
- Home automation
- Information security
- Internet (standards, technical aspects)
- Interesting events and historie
- Network (analyze, firewalls)
- Open source
- Open standards
- Operating systems
- Programming languages
- Software development
- Web technology
This list is just an indication of the topics that we typically like to see. But other topics can be still interesting, especially if they are related to recent events or ongoing developments within our field of expertise.
A default speaker slot is 45 minutes. This includes the time to answer questions. We are considering to accommodate workshops. It is not yet clear how to do so. One example is to add a complete track with two or three workshops.
Our audience is technical oriented and includes generalists and specialists. Most have affinity with system administration, often with additional knowledge or specialization. Within this audience we also have people who have a primary focus on software development, while others have management experience or doing project management. Information security is another common interest area for our audience.
What do we offer speakers?
Speakers will receive the following benefits:
- Free access to our conference
- Lunch, coffee/tea/beverages
- Invitation to join our speakers dinner
By default we have a wireless microphone, big screen with HDMI input and timer. Most speakers use their own notebook, but when needed our organization can provide one. For specific wishes, including other input options, the speaker can consult with our organization to see what is possible.
Location and facilities
There is an internet connection available within the hotel. Stability of this connection is not guaranteed. We advise speakers to be careful with presentations that rely on a steady internet connection, especially when doing a live demo. Where possible use local resources on your notebook.
We can assist speakers with travel and their stay. Our goal is that speakers don’t have to make costs to present at our conference, or at least to limit it as much as possible. Together with the speaker we look at the options. Such arrangments should therefore always been discussed upfront.
Tips for speakers
We would like to give everyone a good shot in getting selected. Below are tips that may (strongly) increase your chances.
Basics: title, asbstract, biography, photo
The best submission has a great title and a captivating abstract. The first audience to convice is our programme committee. Upon selection, the conference visitors are the next audience to be convinced. So a good and enticing abstract is as important as a well-prepared talk!
The abstract itself tells more about the talk itself. Some generic tips:
- Write the abstract like how you would describe the talk to a friend
- Abstracts shouldn’t be too long, but at least 10 sentences or more are needed to give readers a good insight on what to expect
- Keep things light and add humour where possible
- Focus on readability, so lines should not be too long. Also be careful with terminology and abbreviations, or at least describe them first.
- Check your text and use a grammar checker
- Let others proofread and provide feedback
To get the attention of the audience, a well-written abstract should answer the following questions:
- What is the goal of the presentation?
- What will I learn when attending it?
- What is the requirement level of the subject (beginner, novice, expert)?
- Is some knowledge required and a prerequisite?
- What is spoken language of the talk?
An abstract requires a title. This should entice, yet give a clear indication what the subject is about. Simplicity is often the best, but also humour might have a good place here. Don’t make the title too long, while still covering the subject focus properly.
Our programme committee and visitors of the event are interested in the background of a speaker. They might wonder why this is the right person to tell something about a topic. Therefore it is good to adjust the biography to the talk and include relevancy to the subject, besides generic information. A few related questions that are relevant to improve a biography:
- Why is this subject important to you?
- What experience do you have with the subject and do you use it yourself?
- What kind of work do you do? Where did you work before and what kind of roles?
- Did you contribute to specific or public projects?
- What is your experience with open standards and open source?
- Any software or tools that you created? Which ones and are they available?
- Do you write articles or have a blog?
- What are your hobbies or passions? What makes you tick?
- Any social media that you are active on?
A biography is typically written in the third person. Avoid using “I …” and start with your full name, followed by your first name in any other sentences.
We like to have a complete event leaflet, including a photo of speakers. This way the person behind the name has a face and can be recognized by our organization and audience. We don’t have strict requirements regarding the photo, but prefer a good quality photo, especially regarding the size. The photo should be “decent” and typically a photo of your face is the best suitable. Usually a photo that one might use on LinkedIn is also a good fit for submission.
Too technical is impossible
Our audience loves technical aspects of the field. Therefore it almost impossible to have a talk that is too much in-depth. If you are an expert in some specific field, then feel free to start from the basics and go deeper step by step.
Interaction with the audience
Visitors to our events are not shy to express their thoughts or ask questions. Any interaction with the audience is appreciated and share when questions are appreciated. Just keep an eye on the remaining time, so that you can finish (most of) your presentation.
Commercials not appreciated
Our organization and audience does not like sales pitches. So be careful about what you mention when it comes to commercial products or services. Our programme committee will also focus on this and where possible filter out such talks.
In doubt if a topic is still a good match? Feel free to reach out and contact our programma committee!
We encourage participicants to the CFP to submit multiple submissions. This will increase your chances and also gives the programme committee to select a talk that fits with the rest of event schedule.
Submittion an existing presentation
Already gave the presentation before? Let us know in the submission notes, preferably including a video or the presentation itself. This simplifies the selection and gives us a better insight if there is a good fit.
Behind the scenes of our programme committee
Opening of the CFP
After an event closes, the programme committee opens a new Call for Proposals. We use multiple phases and typically in the first phase we start with the the promotion of the event and the CFP. This includes social media and our website.
Since 2023 we use with a new software system (Pretalx). For every submission the members of the programme committee will add a review, including assigning points. Typically this boils down to:
- Yes, this submission is (very) interesting
- Maybe, the submission may need tuning to make it interesting
- No, this talk is not suitable (yet)
During the meetings of the programme committee, the results will be discussed. Talks with a high score are usually the ones that have a greater chance to be selected.
Sending confirmation and reject messages
When a talk submission looks like a good match, we will send a confirmation message. At this stage we also introduce the speaker to Debbie, our event organizer. She arranges things like travel, hotel, diet wishes, or any other preferences.
When we are not convinced, we let this know by using a reject message. If we are in doubt, then we might contact the speaker to ask a revision or even ask for an alternative topic.
If the speaker has multiple submissions and one of them is selected, the programme committee will inform the speaker what the preferred talk is. The other submissions will then be rejected or possible moved to another event in the future. Another possibility is that we ask the speaker to have a second talk and be one of our backup speakers.
The time of sending out the accept/reject messages depend on the phase that we are in. Especially in the beginning we may wait a while to first gather as much submissions as possible. This gives the programme committee also the chance to reach out to potential speakers. This may include speakers from abroad or those who are a specialist in their field of expertise. When we are getting closer to the event date, it may be possible that we send our early accept messages, especially if the programme committee is fully convinced about the relevance of a talk.
Publication and event schedule
Upon the approval and confirmation of more submissions, the names of speakers and the title of the talks will be added to the event page. This is also the moment when the event will be promoted, such as on our social media channels. When most slots are filled, the schedule of the event will be created. Typically all related topics will be near each other and depending on the availability of speakers, the order will be defined.
Code of Conduct
At the request of speakers and active members, the NLUUG uses a Code of Conduct for members and visitors of events.