CFP Workshop Recap

On Wednesday, the DDD Sydney team ran a CFP Workshop with the goal of helping people increase their chance of having their presentations voted into DDD Sydney. You can download the slides from the workshop here.

The DDD Sydney’s CFP (Call for Presentation) is open until the 14th of July, be sure to submit your sessions via sessionize before then!

Some of the concepts that were discussed during the workshop on Wednesday are described below.


Being concise with a title is important, people will be reviewing over 100 potential talks. Similar to an email subject, a concise title tells the reader what is the purpose of the body text quickly. A title that is long and doesn’t communicate the intent of the speaker quickly, risks being rejected by a reviewer even before they’ve finished reading it. Ensure concise titles by getting to the point and cutting out unnecessary words.

For example, instead of

Choosing a microservices architecture taught us about domain driven design


Choosing microservices taught us domain driven design.


There are three perspectives in the English language: The first person, second person, and third person. Each of these have their use depending on the message that is desired to be communicated to the audience

The First Person

This perspective refers to yourself or a group where you belong. This is where the words ‘I’, ‘me’, or ‘we’ are used. This perspective would be used in talks where the message to convey is something emotional or comes from experience. Often, talks like this make the speaker slightly vulnerable as the speaker is exposing their own emotions or experience to the audience. At the same time, talks like this will engender trust quickly, create a connection with the audience, and thus become very enjoyable and engaging.

The Second Person

This refers to the perspective of addressing someone else. This is where the word ‘you’ is primarily used and is often used for challenging or empowering the audience. Talks which use this perspective will at times make the audience slightly uncomfortable and challenge them. At the same time, the speaker has to avoid preaching and being too challenging. Respect must always be shown to the audience, whilst trying to convince against potential pre-conceived ideas or empowering them. Talks which use the second person often leave the audience with a sense of improvement, change, or action.

The Third Person

This perspective refers to speaking about people or things. Words such as ‘they’, ‘he’, she’, and ‘it’ are used. The use of the third person is used to convey a more objective or neutral analysis towards a situation. Specifically, talks that are analytical will use this perspective in order to communicate minimal emotion or bias and to maximise objectivity or neutrality.

Successful submission patterns

There are common successful submission patterns seen at conferences, adjusting a submission title to fit into a common pattern may increase chances of a submission being voted in as a talk at DDD Sydney.

Asking a question

What do microservices really look like in prod?

How would you get started with Docker?

This technique invites the audience to be curious about a specific subject. When asking a question, the speaker has already outlined the outcome of the talk and the audience is seeking an answer to the question in the title or at least enough information to answer the question themselves.

A respectful challenge to the audience

Stop mocking, start testing

Zero to hero with Docker in 1 hour

Talks like this challenge the audience on a certain behaviour or practice. When reading a title like this, the audience desires to know why a certain behaviour or belief may not be ideal, this leads to a desire on how to improve moving into the future.

A play on words

Docker FROM scratch

Playing on words or syntax attracts the audience as there is often an element of clever humour associated with the talk title. Please note: titles which play on words have to be inclusive enough to be understood by enough people to be accepted as a conference talk.

From the trenches

DDD from the trenches

Docker from the trenches

From the trenches talks appear at conferences because they outline both positive and negative experiences of a particular practice or technology. Attendees appreciate hearing about difficulties associated with particular practices or technologies as they are honest, come from real life experience, and can be used to minimise future difficulties if attendees wish to adopt them.

Personal talks

Overcoming fear, anxiety and doubt as a developer

How I became brave enough to use Docker

At every conference, there’s one or two talks that are personal and come from the heart. Attendees like these talks as they provide a break from technically heavy talks, at the same time, the delivery of talks like this can be hard as the speaker is making themselves vulnerable and revealing a lot of emotion to the audience.


There are a variety of language techniques used to communicate a message more effectively. When writing titles and abstracts for a submission, it’s important to take these into consideration in addition to examining common succesful submission patterns. Be sure to checkout past DDD Sydney agendas to see these common patterns and see what works for you! Don’t forget, you need to actually submit a session to have any chance of being voted in! All the best and good luck!