Talks

We're glad you're interested in speaking at PyCon 2021!

Conference talks will be held virtually on May 14-15, 2021. All talks will need to be pre-recorded, 25 minutes in length, and submitted by April 28, 2021. You will be asked to attend live during your scheduled time to interact with the attendees via a chat platform.

To learn how to submit a proposal, visit the main Speaking page.

This document is a guide to help you submit the best possible proposal and offers tips to make your proposal more likely to be accepted. Please keep in mind that many more proposals are submitted for talks, tutorials, and posters than can be accepted. But following the recommendations provided here can increase your chances of acceptance.

PyCon does not want expenses to discourage you from submitting a proposal. This year the grant will offer assistance to ensure speakers have the needed recording equipment. When you create a speaker profile, check the box to indicate that you require a speaker grant. This is not seen by the proposal reviewers and does not affect the review of your proposal.

After proposals are selected, we’ll reach out to you regarding your needs. We understand situations can change, and are here for you. If you have any questions about the speaker grants let us know at pycon-aid@python.org

Important Dates

Talk proposals are due this year on 12 February 2021 AoE. You can view what time that is locally to you here.

  • December 22, 2020 — Call for proposals opens
  • February 12, 2021 — Talk proposals due
  • March 16, 2021 — Notifications sent to presenters
  • March 23, 2021 — Deadline to confirm participation
  • March 30, 2021 — The schedule is posted here on the PyCon website
  • April 28, 2021 — Deadline to submit pre-recorded presentation

Topics and Advice

What excites you about Python development or the community lately? What do you wish someone had told you when you were starting out? What has been the slowest or most frustrating thing you’ve had to learn over the past few years, and could you put together a talk that would assist in that process for the next Pythonista who tackles the same problem?

Recent articles, blog posts, tweets, and open source projects from the community can be a good source of talk topics and ideas, as can your own experiences as a developer.

As you consider different topics, you might be interested in reviewing the slate of talks selected to appear at PyCon in previous years:

There are also community members who have blogged about the talk proposal process. Here are a few of the most prominent resources, and a Google search will yield you several more:

Mentoring

PyCon organizes a mentorship program to assist Pythonistas with the following:

  • Exploring and brainstorming interests to help identify hidden topics that would make great talks
  • Connecting writers with experienced speakers to help develop proposals and talks
  • Reviewing outlines, slide decks, or notes

First-time speakers are welcomed and encouraged. We want you to be successful and have a good time telling other attendees about your ideas!

You’ll find checkboxes for both giving and receiving mentorship on the Speakers Profile page.

Good Ideas

  • Submit your proposal early. The program committee will provide feedback on talks that come into our system, and we will work with you to improve your proposal, but this is only feasible if your proposal is submitted well before the deadline.
  • Be sure to answer some basic questions:
    • Who is the intended audience for your talk? (Be specific; “Python programmers” is not a good answer to this question.)
    • What will attendees get out of your talk? When they leave the room, what will they know that they didn’t know before?
  • Your outline should be an enumeration of what you intend to say, along with time estimates.
    • It is not necessary to have completely written your talk already, but you should have an idea of what the points you intend to make are and roughly how long you will spend on each one.
    • All sessions timeslots will be 25 minutes, be sure that your proposal will fit within this timeframe.
  • Ensure that your talk will be relevant to a non-trivial set of people. If your talk is on a particular Python package or piece of software, it should be something that a significant number of people use or want to use. If your talk is about a package that you are writing, ensure that it has gained some acceptance before submitting a talk. If a tool you’re excited about is not used widely, consider shifting the focus of your talk to a related best practice or theme which will have broader applicability and a larger audience.
  • Include links to source code, articles, blog posts, videos, or other resources that add context to your proposal.
  • If you’ve given a talk, tutorial, or other presentation before, especially at an earlier PyCon or another conference, include that information as well as a link to slides or a video if they’re available.

Bad Ideas

  • Avoid infomercials.
    • That doesn’t mean you can’t talk about your work or company at PyCon. For instance, we welcome talks on how you or your company solved a problem or notable open source projects that may benefit attendees.
    • On the other hand, talks on “how to use our product” (or similar) usually aren’t appropriate.
  • Avoid presenting a proposal for code that is incomplete. The program committee is very skeptical of “conference-driven development”.
  • Avoid “state of our project” talks, unless you can make a compelling argument that the talk will be well-attended and that attendees will gain value from it.
  • Do not assume that everyone on the Program Committee will know who you are simply because you have presented at PyCon in the past. Everyone should submit a detailed proposal. During the first round of review, we won’t even see your name on the proposal!