Get Out of the Box with Your WordCamp Session Format

Everyone knows and loves the quintessential WordCamp session — a 25- or 30-minute talk with slides and 15 minutes of Q&A afterwards. It’s the staple of WordCamps the world over.

BUT…

If you’d like to dip your toe in the WordCamp speaking waters but aren’t in love with the lecture-style,

OR…

You’re an out-of-the-box kind of the person and the same old, same old just doesn’t cut it for you,

Then this is the blog post for you.

Get Out of the Box with Your WordCamp Session Format

This year, we’re making a concerted effort to branch out at WordCamp Seattle and include more out-of-the-box types of sessions. So put your creative thinking caps on and let’s look at some other session formats you might consider…

Lightning Talk (With or Without Slides)

There are lots of short talk formats like Ignite or pecha-kucha that show how much someone can communicate in just a few minutes. A 5- or 10-minute lightning talk is a great way to try out speaking for the first time or to wow folks with one specific point or skill you’re passionate about.

We hope to get enough lightning talk submissions that we can put together a few sessions of talks where the audience gets to see four or five presentations in the time others only get one!

Panel

Lots of people don’t really love being up in the front of a crowded room all by themselves. So how about dragging some buddies up there with you? Round up a couple or three friends who love to sit around and talk about WordPress and bring your own panel to the party.

Here are some off-the-top-of-my-head ways to approach a panel:

  • There are three ways to do everything in WordPress, right? Bring together folks that represent different ends of the spectrum on a subject like the best ways to optimize for speed on your website.
  • Or, sometimes a subject is so broad that one person can’t know it all. You can have different folks focus on differing aspects of a  broad topic like membership or eCommerce sites.
  • One of the most memorable panels for me was a few years back on “How to Become a Better WordPress Developer“. It was funny and entertaining and so informative to hear about the different experiences different people had with bettering their WordPress skills over the years. (And I admittedly still have a little developer-crush on Kronda Adair from when she was a panelist at this session.)

A moderator is a crucial asset in this type of format to keep the conversation focused and moving forward, help corral questions from the audience, and/or provide targeted questions for the panelists. If you’ve got your panelists lined up but no one to moderate, let us know. We may be able to help with this piece.

Networking Facilitation

Do you like connecting people who have something in common? Do you like not listening to someone just talk for half an hour? Consider helping other people get to know each other and stay social during the conference!

We’d love to hear pitches from people interested in facilitating more social sessions like a freelancer’s support group, connecting people with needs and those looking for work, or leading a group to brainstorm around the future of WordPress. Interactive activities and sessions that may not need slides are welcome. Get creative!

Interview / Ask Me Anything (AMA)

Some people thrive in the hot seat. If you’ve got deep knowledge about some WordPress-related (SEO, blogging, social media, etc.), then this might be the format for you. You’ll need a willingness to put yourself out there and the ability to think fast on your feet.

For example, last year, we had a session called “There are No Dumb Questions: Beginner Q&A”  presented by the indomitable Kelli Wise. In 2015, she partnered with Leslie Stewart for a similar session, both of which turned out to be immensely popular.

Don’t worry – getting people to ask questions at WordCamp is easy. (Getting them to stop asking questions so the session can wrap up, on the other hand…) But if you’re really concerned about it, you can plant some questions with folks in the crowd to get the ball rolling.

Multi-Session Workshop

Who doesn’t love rolling up their sleeves, getting down and dirty, and actually doing while they’re learning at WordCamp?

We’re working on putting together some workshops targeted both at beginning WordPress users with a WP 101 type session as well as a developer-focused workshop track this year.

If you’ve got the itch to teach and  enjoy presenting in a more hands-on format, this could be the session-type for you. Think about how you can help people learn a concrete skill with a hands-on training in a few hours.

Something Else

Something you don’t find at every WordCamp is Zumba! But last year, one of the most intriguing sessions focused on postural ailments those of us techies who hunch over a computer all day suffer from. And the remedy? Zumba! with Catherine Bridge. It was a fun, energetic way to kick off a full day ahead of what else, but more sitting?

If not Zumba, then yoga might be your thing.

If not yoga, maybe you could do a walk ‘n talk around downtown Seattle.

If not a walk ‘n talk, perhaps you have an idea we haven’t thought of yet.


So what do you think? Did any of these spark an idea for you for a session you might like to present? Go ahead and…

APPLY TO SPEAK TODAY!

Deadline to submit your speaker application is SATURDAY, AUGUST 5th.