Speaker supporters help transition proposals into engaging presentations – presentations that could have an audience of up to 200 people. Keeping in mind that some speakers may be presenting for the first time, it is your role to ensure speakers are well-equipped to hold a crowd!

Speaker supporters help to determine if a talk is ready to go ahead. No matter how confident or experienced a speaker is, they are obligated to seek your sign-off in order for their session to feature on the final program.

A speaker supporter:

  • Refines a speaker’s message: teases out key points, takeaways and learning outcomes; keeps them on-topic and true to the initial proposal; helps target and connect to the audience (who are they speaking to?)
  • Balances the mechanics of the talk: helps the speaker make the best use of their 50 mins. How much time is spent on each slide?
  • Enhances speaking skills: Is the intro engaging? Can they project their voice? Do they have a strong finish?


We ask that speaker supporters flag with organisers if they think a talk is in trouble and needs more help by Friday 21 July 2017.

We suggest speaker supporters spend about two-three hours in total on a talk; and meet with your speaker/s (face to face or over the phone) about two-three times in the lead up to the Conference.

Your core responsibilities are to:

  • Take on board and discuss any recommendations passed on by fellow reviewers or stream chairs
  • Ask to hear a run through of the talk
  • Encourage a speaker to practice their talk in front of an audience a few times before the Conference (internally, at a practice session set up by speaker supporters, or at a meetup)
  • Ask to see a speaker’s final slide deck (or at least one that is 90% done) before signing off
  • Ask other speaker supporters for a second opinion if needed
  • Be honest! Your feedback is key – if something isn’t clear for you, it most likely won’t be for others
  • Confirm that the talk description in the program is accurate to what the talk will be
  • Confirm via this form that you are happy for a presentation to go ahead by Monday 7 August 2017

If your speaker needs help organising practice runs before the Conference, please flag this with your fellow speaker supporters on slack or via email to We will help make it happen!


Speaking tips

  • During your presentation, make sure that your mobile is switched off – and off vibrate – as this can play havoc with the sound system
  • Smiling at the beginning of your presentation is a good way to kick off 🙂
  • Explaining the format and objectives of the session will be useful to your audience
  • Decide how much time you are going to spend on each slide or point and try not to use too many slides or overload your slides with too much information
  • Bear in mind where in your notes you should be half way through your presentation so that you can check you are running to time
  • Consider any acronyms or terminology that may be new to the audience and make a note to explain it to them
  • Speak to the audience, not to your slides. Resist the temptation to read out your slides! People can read faster than you can say something aloud, plus it makes the presentation less interesting
  • Relax…you have already done the hard work and now it is your time to shine!