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So you want to be a conference speaker? Refine your stories!

So you want to be a conference speaker, and you set your sights on the best conference in your field. You spend hours thinking looking at the tracks they have available, thinking about potential topics and maybe even writing a few user stories:

As a speaker

I want to write compelling abstracts

So that I am accepted to speak at a conference

You're ready, right? Not exactly!

Your best topic and most compelling abstract won't always get selected. But there is something that does work, and it's something you've probably done many times as an agilist, Refinement! Many conferences offer feedback on your submissions. Move past your pride (or is it just mine?) and take what they're offering.

If you're involved in an agile community (and I highly recommend that you are), ask to present your topic before you click submit. Ask for feedback from the people who attend. Let them know you value their feedback, and especially if something didn't resonate with them. Then take the feedback and improve what you've written. You might even find yourself rewriting it completely, or coming up with a new topic if it didn't go well. Either way, you'll be improving.

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