Become a Speaker

speakersA really great WordCamp needs to offer a wide variety of talks and discussions about and around WordPress. To make WordCamp Ottawa 2014 great we are looking for people excited about WordPress who can show our attendees a good time while teaching them about it.

If you’d like to be a speaker at WordCamp Ottawa 2014, please complete an application form on the Speaker Application page. Please note that speaker applications must be submitted by 6:00 p.m. (EST) on Friday, March 21, 2014.

Why become a speaker?

Presenting at WordCamp takes some work but is very rewarding. You get to show off how smart you are, convince people you’re worth hiring and help make everyone smarter about WordPress, all at the same time.

Being a speaker at WordCamp takes time, effort and love that is worth much more than the cost of a ticket. Speakers receive a free pass to WordCamp, but you will probably find that the satisfaction of participating and teaching others is more rewarding than the money you save on admission.

Who are we looking for?

The ideal speaker has a WordPress-related topic they are passionate and informed about that they can present with coherent slides and explanations. You don’t need to be a professional speaker. But you do need to be comfortable presenting. You could have 200 people hanging on your every word. So make sure you’re comfortable speaking to a crowd, and make sure you know your stuff.

Our goal with every session is to educate. Your topic should be something generally interesting about WordPress, such as how to do something, pitfalls involved in some element of WordPress or advice about WordPress. We know you want to show us what you’ve made with WordPress and we want to see it, so include it in your presentation as an example of what you’re talking about. Also make sure to explain how you did it, or what you learned in the process. Give us some code examples or 10 important lessons you learned with tips to avoid the problems you encountered. You can do this through a case study, a live or scripted example, or any number of ways. But this isn’t the time to promote your business, your custom plugin or the theme you’re about to release.

See the topic ideas section below for example topics and ideas if you’re not sure what to present. The subject must be related to WordPress in some way (subjects like front-end development, how to manage freelancing, social media, SEO etc., will be accepted as long as you can talk in light of how they relate to WordPress – make sure you note this in your speaker submissions).

We reserve the right to turn down talks we don’t think are appropriate, sorry. Hopefully we can work out a relevant presentation idea together if there are problems with your initial proposal.

Users, designers and developers are all welcome! We want as much diversity as possible in our talks and are looking for all kinds of speakers.

On Saturday we are plan to have three tracks of presentations:

  • Content Creators:  Using WordPress to deliver content on the web.  Topics for those who want to learn how to publish content on a WordPress site.
  • Site Creators: Using WordPress to create websites and blogs.  Topics for those who want to learn more complex tasks to create new websites, but aren’t designers or developers.
  • Code Creators: Customizing WordPress to create unique websites.  Topics for designers or developers who want to learn about site set-up, theme design, plugin development, development best practices and more.

On Sunday we are planning to have 1 hour and 45 minute more in depth talks and/or workshops.  Topics can cover any of the 3 tracks above.

So please, send us your ideas! Nothing is too hardcore, advanced, simple or beginner. We want the full range. If you are an advanced or intermediate user please also remember that even though you think something is obvious there are lots of WP fans out there who don’t even know about it! You should teach what you know. So pick something you think is easy and impress the noobs :) .


WordCamp talks are usually 35-45 minutes long, with a few minutes for questions afterwards.  Workshops on Sunday will be 1 hour 45 minutes long.

Slides help people understand you. We assume that all talks will be accompanied by visual slides to be projected behind the speaker. The format, whether PowerPoint, KeyNote, Prezi or another program, is up to you.

Applying to speak

You can submit as many session proposals as you like, but we reserve the right to select which topic(s) we’d like you to speak on.

Note that the Ottawa WordPress Group meets on a regular basis, so if you want to speak at a smaller venue, or during the rest of the year, contact the group through our meetup The Ottawa WordPress Group or our website.

Topic ideas

Here’s a list of topics we’d love to see at any WordCamp. These are just examples! Tell us what you want to present about that isn’t on the list and we’ll love you, but if you’re stuck and can’t think of something why not tackle one of the talks below? If you want to use one of these ideas you can change/add/remove whatever you want to make it just right for you. You may also find inspiration at  where videos of many past WordCamp presentations can be found.

NOTE: We have an introduction to WordPress (“WordPress 101”) covered in our Thursday pre-camp.  For our beginner sessions, we are looking for topics that follow logically after that.

Content Creator topics

  • Finding the perfect theme for a WordPress site
  • The best/most popular/must use plugins for a WordPress site
  • First 10 things you should do on your WordPress site
  • Blogging for business websites
  • Attracting community and readers to your site
  • Writing for the web and blogs
  • SEO
  • Social media for your WordPress site

Site Creator topics

  • Case studies of large projects with lessons learned
  • Security
  • Typography
  • Design advice for WordPress sites
  • CSS tips for WordPress
  • Editing themes and using template tags
  • Creating themes or child themes (intro or in-depth)

Code Creator topics

  • Creating plugins (intro or in-depth)
  • GPL/free software and what it means for WordPress plugins and themes
  • Intro to Apache/MySQL optimization
  • Developer tools/setups
  • Custom post types and taxonomies
  • Security
  • UX principles and user experience design

Sunday Workshop topics

  • Any of the above in more detail or in a hands on environment
  • Installing a local WordPress development environment
  • Installing WordPress

If you would like to speak at the next WordCamp, please complete an application form on the Speaker Application page.

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