Thank you for your interest in speaking at Keep Austin Agile 2018. Delivering an inspiring presentation or workshop takes a great deal of time, energy and courage and we appreciate your commitment to our community. It is you, the speakers, that make the conference great!

In the sections below, we have done our best to describe everything you need to know about speaking at the conference. If you still have questions after reading this information, please contact the speaker committee at speakers@agileaustin.org.

The Conference

The Keep Austin Agile 2018 conference is a single-day, agile-focused conference to be held on May 24, 2018 at the JW Marriott hotel in downtown Austin, Texas. The conference will include a kickoff event, and approximately 35 sessions.

All sessions are 60 minutes in length. Session times include a brief introduction by a Keep Austin Agile (KAA) staff member, presentation of the session content, time for questions and answers, and a few minutes for attendees to complete evaluations.

Why You Should Apply

The Keep Austin Agile conference brings together a compelling cross-section of Austin’s tech community as well as engaging agilists and speakers from across the country. With an expected 750 attendees from over 200 companies, your ideas will reach a broad audience in one of the country’s most vibrant and fastest growing tech communities. Speaking at KAA 2018 will allow you to connect with our community on a new level. Speaking is a terrific way to raise your profile, network with engaged community members, and give back to the agile community.

If selected as a speaker, you will get:

  • One free admission to the conference with paid parking at the JW Marriott*
  • One flyer placed on the Agile Austin Booth
  • If you or your company are putting on an event one week prior to one week after KAA 2018 (5/18-5/30/2018), You can send in one announcement of that event to the committee which will then be sent to all KAA 2018 participants
  • A speaker gift as a thank you for speaking
  • An invitation to the speaker happy hour the night before

*We encourage any arrangement of speakers on the submissions. However, only co-presenters (up to 2 total speakers for a given session) will be given free admission to the conference and any changes to the speaker list after selection have to be reviewed/approved by the committee.

Who Should Apply

Great speakers come from all walks of life, disciplines, and industries, but what they have in common is an idea and the passion to share it. While we enjoy presentations from seasoned, nationally recognized speakers, some of our highest rated sessions are delivered by people who work in the trenches every day and simply have a passion for what they do and the skill to present their ideas in an interesting way.

We’re looking for compelling, entertaining and engaging sessions. Your presentation should be something you are proud to have your name on. If you are passionate about your ideas and up to the challenge of crafting those ideas into an amazing presentation, we’d love for you to join us on stage at KAA 2018.

How to Apply

Selecting speakers for the conference is very challenging. We receive many terrific applications and deciding between them is very difficult. Please help us give your application the consideration it deserves by being thorough and thoughtful in your submission. The quality of your application will directly impact your chances of selection.

It will be helpful to review the complete speaker application form to ensure that you have all the necessary materials before submitting your application. Below is a summary of what you will need to prepare before you apply.


If you have not spoken at a past Keep Austin Agile conference or an Agile Austin monthly meeting (SIGs and classes do not count), we require a video demonstrating your presentation style and capabilities. You can submit an existing video of a past presentation, or you can create a 3-5 minute video to accompany this application. In both cases, it is important that the video includes you presenting material, as you would in a conference setting. The video quality itself is not an important factor, as long as you can be seen and heard clearly. However, the content is important. Since this video provides our only opportunity to see you present, it will play a significant role in the speaker selection process.

You may submit your proposal without the video and follow-up with a link to a video at a later time. However, a video must be provided before the submission deadline.

If you have presented to Agile Austin in the past, submitting a video may still improve your chances of selection, as many participants in the selection process may not have seen you speak.

Tips for a compelling video:

  • Use what you have (including a smartphone) - we simply need to see you and hear you clearly
  • Present standing up
  • Shoot from farther away (avoid the talking-head style of video)
  • Present a topic - rather than describe what you would present
  • Prepare - this is an important part of your application!

If you have additional questions about the video requirement, please contact the speaker committee at speakers@agileaustin.org.

In addition to the video, please be prepared to answer the following questions as part of your application:

  • What is your talk about?
  • Why will people benefit from your session?
  • What will make this a great live presentation?
  • Why are you passionate about this topic and uniquely qualified to discuss it?
  • Who will benefit most from this session (job type, experience level, etc.)?

Submitting your Session Proposal

To submit a session proposal:

  1. Click here to create an online account
  2. Once you've created an account, you will receive an email with a link to log in. If you already have an account, click here to log in
  3. Click here to access the online application
  4. Fill out the online application (if submitting a video, specify the URL that links to your video)
  5. Use the Preview Button to see your application and identify any missing information
  6. After you’re satisfied with your application, use the Submit Button to save and submit your completed application

Submission Changes

It is important that your submission includes an accurate topic and description, as well as detailed bios and videos for all presenters. Selections are made based on the submission information, and any changes to presenters or topics after selection may impact your ability to present at the conference.

Tips for Creating a Compelling, Well-Attended and Highly-Reviewed Presentation

This is our sixth year hosting Keep Austin Agile, and over this time we have discovered some characteristics common to presentations that are well regarded by our community.

  • Create a title that hooks people Don’t just state what your presentation is about - market it and make it sound unique, interesting and compelling. Attendees will be making tough choices about which presentations to attend, so ensure that yours stands out.
  • Create a succinct, concise abstract that supports the title Describe your presentation clearly, with a brief description, a list of topics it will cover, the intended audience, etc. Getting the right people to your presentation will have a significant impact on its success.
  • Strengthen your presentation skills There’s no substitute for great presentations skills. If you’re a veteran speaker, then this likely comes easy to you. However, even less experienced speakers can do a terrific job with thorough preparation and some coaching.
  • Solicit audience participation Involve the audience as much as possible. Remember, attendees will be sitting and listening all day. Audience members will have more fun and will likely remember more of your presentation if you find ways to involve them.
  • Present a current and relevant topic Even if you’ve spoken on the topic in the past, try to present new, timely, and interesting content, rather than simply relying on previous topics and materials.
  • Present a unique angle on a common topic Some of the most useful topics at an agile conference are those that identify common challenges and opportunities. However, simply presenting ordinary analysis and approaches readily available elsewhere, does not add enough value. The most compelling presentations are those that deliver a new way of approaching old obstacles. Challenge attendees to think differently.
  • Match your presentation to its description Nothing is more important than delivering on expectations. If your presentation is selected, you must adhere tightly to its description. This requires careful thought as you submit your application.
  • Provide actionable takeaways Our attendees value practical advice that can be applied immediately. Even if your presentation is forward thinking, help attendees understand what they can apply immediately to improve themselves and their teams.

What to Expect When You Apply

Submitting early provides you with a greater chance of receiving feedback and on iterating your proposal before the submission deadline, offering you the best chance of being selected as a speaker.

The application process closes on December 1, 2017. No new applications, nor changes to existing applications (including videos), will be accepted after this date.

During the review process, it may be necessary for us to gather additional information from you. If the need arises, we will contact you via email and may request a phone call. Although we may reach out to you for additional information, it’s important to note that a lack of sufficient detail within the initial application may disqualify you altogether, so please be thorough in your original submission.

Final selections will be made no later than February 1, 2018. At this point, all applicants will be notified via email.

Note that Agile Austin does not provide compensation for speaking, nor reimbursement for any expenses incurred.

Ensuring Your Success

The real fun begins once you’re selected as a Keep Austin Agile 2018 speaker.

When you are notified of your selection, you will be provided with a speaker packet that details all the important dates and deliverables. In addition to this schedule, you will be provided with tips on how to best prepare for your session and information regarding help available to you as a selected speaker. We very much want you to succeed and will do our best to support your efforts.