Mandy Arola/ July 19, 2018/ Get Involved, Knowledge

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Mandy Arola

Marketing Guru at Nashville Software School & TechFed
July 19, 2018 · 5 min read

Feature: Why You Should Submit a Session for ProductCamp Nashville

One of the awesome things about Nashville is all of the opportunities to share your passion or craft with others. ProductCamp is one of those opportunities.

You Know Something I Don’t Know

No matter your level of experience, you can add value to an unconference like ProductCamp by presenting a session. Whether you’ve been a product manager for a decade or you recently transitioned to a product role, you have something to share.

I spoke at my first unconference last fall and the hardest part was deciding on a topic. It’s a large barrier that prevents many people from submitting a session. Fortunately, ProductCamp attracts a wide audience, all who are looking to learn something new. In attendance you will find people who are just getting starting in the product world, all the way to product experts that have been in the field for more than a decade. You will have founders, product managers, and those that liaison with product teams, such as marketers and designers.

With a wide range of attendees, you definitely have insights that someone at ProductCamp needs to hear.

What Should I Speak About?

Still need some ideas on what to speak about? Here are some that our team came up with. Make them your own and don’t let these ideas limit you.

  • A successful product launch…what did you learn that others could take to t heir organizations?
  • A failed product launch…what did you learn that would help others prevent the same missteps and how did you (or the team) pivot?
  • Share your experience transitioning from another career or related job to a product role. How did you do it? What did you learn?
  • Work with a product team? What should product people know about your role? How can you help them? How can they help you?
  • Work in a startup? What have you learned about product development that other startups could benefit from?
  • Give an introduction to product management: product management 101, brainstorming techniques, product teams
  • Product growth: finding early adopters and advocates, pricing strategies, sales strategies, marketing strategies
  • Product maturity: end users vs. internal stakeholders, roadmapping and prioritizing features, technical debt, evaluating performance
  • Product decline: sunsetting a product, innovation vs. obscurity, pivoting, recognizing bad product choices

What If I’ve Never Spoken At A Conference Before?

Good news – no experience is required! Speaking at an unconference is a great way to get your feet wet in the speaking world and Nashville is a supportive audience. Go watch your favorite Ted Talk and make some notes about how the speaker captivated you. Did they tell stories? Were their visuals compelling? You can then incorporate those elements into your own presentation. And don’t forget to practice! Record your practices and watch or listen to hear how you can improve. Before long, you’ll be submitting sessions and speaking at regional and national conferences.

What If My Topic Would Be Better As A Panel, Workshop, or Roundtable?

Your session does not need to be a solo endeavor. Grab a colleague or friend and present together. Want to get your audience involved? Lead a hands-on workshop or roundtable discussion. Want to present multiple perspectives? Put together a panel discussion.

How Are Sessions Chosen?

One of the great things about an unconference is that the attendees choose the sessions! Sessions can be submitted until the day before ProductCamp. On the morning of ProductCamp, unconference attendees will vote for the sessions they want to hear or participate in the most. To get people to vote for your session, come early that Saturday and start talking with your fellow attendees and encourage them to vote for your session. Also make sure you have a compelling title and description for your talk.

What Are You Waiting For?

The time to start thinking about presenting at ProductCamp is now. Not sure if your idea is compelling? Attend a Product Meetup or drop in the Nashville Product Slack group. These are both great places to share your idea and ask for feedback.

Ready to submit? You can do so on our Submit Your Session page.