Fork me on GitHub

Only one speaker per talk, except in very special cases.

All talks at #GCRC14 will be with only one speaker. Except in very special cases.

A few talk proposals at #GCRC14 come through with two speakers recently. Talks with 2 speakers are very unusual at regional ruby conferences. RubyConf India events seem to have set a precedent of having many 2-speaker talks with no special justification for having 2 speakers.

A common reason why people pair up while giving a conference talk is because they feel it is an easier task with 2 people on stage.

However, as Leah Silber - the organizer of Golden Gate Ruby Conference - explains, that doesn’t work according to the speakers’ expectations:

I’m not a huge fan of 2-speaker talks. Which is to say, in my experience the second speaker rarely adds enough value to account for their comped pass or anything, really.

In fact, in more cases than not, it leads to a far more scattered talk, with poorly divided up responsibility, and rocky flow.

Writing and delivering your first talk is indeed hard; needing to account for a second speaker’s nerves, idiosyncrasies and workflow doesn’t really make that easier. The exception to this rule are people who are already good at speaking, and have a track record of being a pair. A la Ryan and Eric back in the day. Or Damon and Ron Evans. Tom and Yehuda :p

In those sorts of cases, double the speaker can often mean double the awesome.

2 speaker talks - when they are successful - are among the most memorable of conference talks. One such talk I have seen is by Uncle Bob Martin and Micah Martin at RubyConf 2011, the video of which is below:

As can be seen from the video, the talk involved a hell lot of preparation from two people who have done a whole lot of public speaking and presentations before.

It is justifiable to have 2 speakers in such cases.

However, having a 2 speaker talk just because either of the speakers are scared to do it alone is an injustice to the audience, and doesn’t help the speakers as well.

Talk proposals with 2-speakers at #GCRC14 will be judged along these lines by the selection panel.

comments powered by Disqus