Speaker FAQ and Resources

This FAQ is a guide for those interested in presenting and voting for sessions at DrupalCon Denver 2012. It is intended to provide potential speakers and attendees with an understanding of what will be expected of this year’s speakers, as well as an overview of the session selection process. We ask that anyone interested in presenting read this FAQ to ensure that they fully understand the responsibilities that come with speaking at DrupalCon Denver. All speakers and attendees of DrupalCon are expected to follow the Drupal Code of Conduct. This page will be updated often, so please check back for the latest speaker information.

When are important dates I need to be aware of?

  • : Presentation Deck Due

  • What’s the process and timeline for session selection?

    Sessions proposals can be submitted by anyone, starting August 8th. Session proposals are due by October 26th. By November 17, the DrupalCon Denver team will announce 80% of selected sessions. A preliminary schedule will be posted on December 7th. The final session selection will be announced January 11th and the final schedule will be available January 25th.

    Who will be making decisions about which sessions get picked?

    Sessions for each track will be evaluated and selected by 2 track chairs per track. These track chairs will work in coordination with each other as well as the Denver team leads and DrupalCon Organizing Group to make the final decisions regarding session selection and scheduling.

    The track chairs for DrupalCon Denver are:
    • Commerce: Greg Knaddison "greggles" & Michael Meyers
    • Site building: Lindsay Odgen "lindsayo", Carl Weidemann "c4rl" & Allie Micka "Allie Micka"
    • Coding and development: Kevin Bridges "cyberswat" & Larry Garfield "crell"
    • Design and user experience: Ken Woodworth "kenwoodworth", John Ferris "pixelwhip" & Roy Scholten "yoroy"
    • Drupal community: Karyn Cassio "techgirlgeek" & Greg Dunlap "heyrocker"
    • Business and strategy: Justin Toupin "justin2pin" & Michael Meyers "michaelemeyers"
    • Mobile: Scott Reynen "sreynen" & Todd Nienkerk "toddross"
    • Nonprofit, Government & Education: Brian Hiatt "civicpixel" & Matt Cheney "populist"

    Track descriptions

    Do I get paid or compensated for presenting at DrupalCon?

    Tickets for speakers giving a full session at DrupalCon Denver will be free of charge. If there are two speakers, i.e. one co-presenter, only the main speaker will get free admission. Please note that this does not apply to panelists or lightning talks. Panelists and speakers of lightning talks may purchase their tickets at an Early Bird price until February 21, 2012 (23:59:59 UTC/GMT -7).

    • The primary speaker in a 2 person session gets a free ticket
    • The moderator in a panel discussion gets a free ticket.

    What should I keep in mind when submitting a session for DrupalCon Denver?

    While we understand that it’s not always possible to know exactly what you’ll be talking about months in advance of a conference presentation, especially when dealing with fast-moving technologies like Drupal, we do ask that speakers think carefully about their intended audience and what they want attendees to take away from their session when formulating their proposals.

    The best panels and presentations are the ones where the presenter devotes a significant amount of time to the process of developing their session. You should be prepared to spend a significant amount of time during preparing for your session (and communicating with any co-presenters).

    In order to give speakers the ability to focus on developing the highest quality sessions possible, we will be limiting the number of sessions that any single speaker can participate in to no more than one solo presentation and one panel presentation (if a speaker does not present a solo session, he or she may participate in up to two panel presentations). Panels will be limited to no more than three participants plus a moderator. Dual sessions (those with two presenters) are considered panels.

    When making your submission, be sure to identify a single point of contact for your session. If you end up not being able to attend, we may cancel your session and replace it with another, even if you are able to find a substitute presenter.

    You may be asked if you are willing to work together and/or combine your session with another presenter.

    We may check in with you in the weeks leading up to the conference to make sure that your session preparation is going well and you have everything you need.

    You will be asked to sign an agreement if your session is selected for DrupalCon. This agreement will give the conference the right to use your name and image in DrupalCon promotional material (such as the conference website and printed program) and provide the conference with a Creative Commons license to any recordings made of your session so they can be distributed on places like archive.org.

    If your session is selected for DrupalCon, you will be asked to check in at the Green Room at least a half-hour before your session. The Green Room is a special speakers-only room that provides a place for presenters to go over their slides and make any final preparations before the start of their session.

    You will need to provide your own laptop for your presentation. Presenters will be provided with projector specifications and slide templates in a variety of commonly-used formats. Even if you do not use the provided templates, presenters are asked to use special opening and closing slides to assist in the creation of session videos and enable audiences to submit feedback.

    What are the expectations around language?

    Presenters should keep in mind that DrupalCon is an international event that attracts diverse people from a wide variety of ethnic, cultural, and religious backgrounds. Speakers should avoid humor that occurs at the expense of any individual or group of individuals or that relies on stereotypes about culture, religion, race, ethnicity, gender, or sexual orientation. Speakers should strive to use professional language and avoid profanities.

    DrupalCon Speaker Training - 1 - Getting Started

    DrupalCon Speaker Training - 2 - Your Slide Deck

    DrupalCon Speaker Training - 3 - Delivery and Your Audience

    Speaker Presentation Slides

    Speakers should prepare early for their presentation(s) as sessions will be held for very large audiences. Deadlines are established to help planning and maintain quality, so speakers should adhere to the following deadlines and have slide decks available for track chairs to glance through.

    • : Presentation deck due
    Starting decks are available in the following formats:

    Speakers can upload their slide decks to their session nodes.

    What are some tips I should follow for creating slides?

    A key element of your DrupalCon presentation is your electronic slide preparation. The audience will base its evaluation of you and your subject matter partly on the appearance of your images. An attractive, legible, and organized presentation will reflect positively on the content, and therefore on you. Please review these basic guidelines to ensure that your DrupalCon presentation is the best it can possibly be:


    Find out how much time is allowed for your presentation. Plan your talk and the number of slides to allow for a relaxed pace. Think of what you would change if the presentation had to be shortened or lengthened. Practice your talk before the conference. Time yourself. Force yourself to slow down a little. A rushed presentation will create more stress for you and won't be compelling.


    The session rooms at DrupalCon are large, and your presentation must be legible from the back row. If you can stand two meters away from your computer's monitor and easily read your slides, your text is large enough. To achieve this, limit each slide to eight lines of text or less and limit each line of text to 30 characters or less. Use a bold typeface, no smaller than 28 points, with generous line spacing.

    Use key words, so that your slides will be quick and easy to read. You want the audience to hear your presentation, while the slides accentuate the points to remember. Use standard fonts. That way your presentation will be truly portable. Incorporate only the essential parts of a diagram and simplify whenever possible. While it is tempting to include detail for the sake of accuracy, too much will make the slide difficult to read and become a distraction. Break up complex diagrams into sections if you can, so that each section can be made larger and therefore more legible.


    Avoid the use of ALL CAPITAL letters. Words written in ALL CAPS are harder to read and take up more space on the screen. Use bold face and italics for emphasis, or use a bright color such as yellow text when normal body text is white. Underlined text is not recommended.

    Color and Contrast

    Make good use of color and contrast. Dark backgrounds tend to be easier to view, especially with light text and graphics. Good background color choices are black, blue, maroon, or gradient dark colors. Good text colors are white or yellow. If you use a light background, use black or very dark text and graphics.

    Maintain consistency throughout your slides. Using the same background color, text size, text color, and uniform fonts throughout all the slides makes it easier for the audience to follow the flow of your ideas.

    What are some good resources for preparing my presentation?

    We highly recommend the book slide:ology: The Art and Science of Creating Great Presentations by Nancy Duarte, which provides practical advice on how to create presentations that effectively communicate your message.

    Emma Jane Hogbin has given pre-conference workshops on presentation techniques for DrupalCon speakers. You can view the video of her 2009 workshop at: http://dc2009.drupalcon.org/session/presenting-you.html

    You can view a video of Lullabot’s Matt Westgate on The Art of Presenting at: http://www.lullabot.com/blog/art-presenting
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