22 Aug 2013

22 Aug 2013

WordCamp Europe’s Selection Process

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Category: Blog, WordCamps

WordCamp Europe’s Selection Process

I’m a little late to this, but I really found the WordCamp Europe Demographics and Selection Process to be very interesting. I wish more WordCamps put something like this out – maybe something not to this level of detail, but at least stating a general thinking of how speakers were selected. If you put guidelines out in public – especially BEFORE your call for speakers – you should have a better selection of speakers to choose from. Also it can always help those who DIDN’T get selected to determine WHY. I would like to think everyone applying to speak for WordCamps have degree of maturity, but you would be surprised something what some people think in their heads if they aren’t selected for a presentation (and especially if they aren’t told directly why).

Anyway, back to Europe. I found myself nodding as I reading this – everything made sense and would be things I would be looking for if I was throwing an “overseas” event like this. I especially like this statement:

Lots of talented people were turned down. It was a difficult process and there was lots of back and forth discussion to get it right.

For WordCamp Miami, it’s becoming harder and harder to decide on speakers for the event – and this is when the event has grown from a one-day to a three (even four) day event. For WordCamp Miami 2013, we had over 100 applications (not individual people, but it was close). We turned ALOT of people down.

The other thing I thought was interesting about the selection process for Europe is that you don’t see sex (male/female) mentioned at all. No mention of trying to balance men vs. women or trying to get a good “man to woman” ratio. As it should be. Getting a balanced group of talented people that represent your area (and beyond) is the focus. It was the same for WordCamp Miami. I get asked “how many women spoke at your event?”. Like that’s a badge of honor, I suppose? Honestly, I couldn’t say off the top of my head. I look at men/women as people – so I could tell you how many PEOPLE spoke at the event.

In closing, let’s get more public disclosure on the selection process (and even stats) of those applying and accepted to more WordCamps. For 2014, I’m planning on making something public for WordCamp Miami’s selection process when the time comes.