The Art of Conference Speaking with Kevin Murphy

Ruby For All – Episode 50

In this episode of Ruby for All, join Andrew and Julie as they welcome Kevin Murphy, a software developer at Pubmark, to discuss the fascinating world of speaking at conferences.  Kevin shares his journey as a speaker and describes his experiences at conferences. The conversation dives into the nuances of submitting conference talk proposals, the challenges in the review process, and the importance of feedback.  They also explore of the dynamics of attending and presenting at conferences, both virtually and in person, and they share some valuable advice for those interested in sharing their expertise through speaking engagements. Don’t miss this insightful and supportive discussion about the Ruby community and the art of conference talks. Press download now! 

[00:00:52] Kevin reveals he has spoken at seven or eight conferences and shares more about his journey about getting into speaking at conferences. 

[00:01:56] Kevin talks about attending RailsConf in Chicago 2014 as his first Ruby-related conference and Julie tells us about her first conference.

[00:03:48] We hear Kevin’s story about going from Java to Rails. 

[00:04:39] Andrew shares his conference origin story. 

[00:06:43] Kevin explains the process of submitting conference talk proposals, mentioning that it varies from conference to conference. Andrew suggests submitting CFPs early for a better chance of receiving feedback from reviewers. 

[00:09:24] The discussion continues with the challenges and intricacies of the CFP review process and how recognition can influence the outcome, and getting rejected doesn’t mean the content isn’t valuable or that it can’t be presented elsewhere. 

[00:11:02] Julie mentions meeting Kevin through Philly.rb and asks if he also presented the same talk at a conference. He discusses his talk practice at meetups before presenting it a conference and the importance of meetups during the pandemic. 

[00:12:07] Andrew asks Kevin if he prefers giving talks virtually or in person, and Kevin shares the advantages and challenges of both formats, and he talks about being a good audience member, as well as the value of engaging with speakers after their talks and the significance of even simple feedback. 

[00:17:25] Andrew and Julie talk about their experiences as speakers and how they felt about post-talk interactions. Andrew discusses his post-talk interactions and the balance of enjoying the attention but having a limit to social interactions. Julie shares her experience as a co-speaker and the support she felt during and after her talk, including people approaching her for advice. 

[00:20:04] The discussion shifts towards Kevin offering advice to people interested in giving talks, especially those who are earlier in their careers. 

[00:22:35] Julie highlights the role of supportive communities like WNB.rb in helping individuals get started with speaking, emphasizing mentorship, proposal reviews, and dry runs. 

[00:24:46] Julie asks Kevin for advice on getting CFPs accepted, and he underscores the importance of clear top-line content and context-specific details in proposals, while Andrew adds that clickbait titles can attract attendees. 

Andrew Mason
Julie J.

Kevin Murphy



Creators and Guests

Andrew Mason
Andrew Mason
Senior Product Developer at Podia, co-host of the Remote Ruby podcast, and co-editor of the Ruby Radar newsletter
Julie J
Julie J
Software developer at Codecademy
The Art of Conference Speaking with Kevin Murphy
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