Speaker FAQ

When does the RSA Conference 2020 Call for Speakers open? When are submissions due?

1. Call for Speakers for Full Conference track sessions and Learning Labs opens July 9 and closes on August 2 at 11:59 PM Pacific Time.

2. Call for Speakers for Hackers & Threats tracks and RSAC Sandbox opens on July 9 and closes on August 16 at 11:59 PM Pacific Time.

There are no extensions and submissions received after that date will not be reviewed.

When will I find out if I have been accepted?  
Speakers for all sessions will be notified mid-November.

What speaking opportunities are open? What are the different types of sessions?
There are three formats to consider when submitting:

  1. Full conference track sessions, including submissions for the Hackers & Threats tracks, can be solo or joint presenters or panel format. These sessions are 50 minutes long. All submissions will by default be considered for Full Conference track sessions. If you have an unusual idea for a format, we welcome it! Please be sure it’s fully explained in the “session detail” portion of the submission so that the Program Committee clearly understands your innovative idea and know how to best consider it.

  2. Learning Labs are facilitated, hands-on experiences designed to immerse attendees in interactive exercises and discussions. By design, Labs have a limited amount of presentation material and maximum focus on leading participants through the content and exercises, challenging them to apply what they are learning and engage with one another. Learning Labs are 2-3 hours long. If you would like your submission to be considered as a Lab, please be sure your “session detail” portion supports how you’ll best deliver in a Lab format. Also be sure to indicate “Learning Lab” in the comments section.

  3. RSAC Sandbox sessions are live demos, trend and analysis-based presentations, offering a deep dive into the latest threats. RSAC Sandbox sessions take place in the RSAC Sandbox and are 30 minutes long. If you would like your submission considered for the RSAC Sandbox, please be sure the session detail portion clearly supports this format type and also indicate “RSAC Sandbox” in the comments section.

How many speaking slots are available?
We anticipate more than 400 sessions within our 20+ tracks, Learning Labs and RSAC Sandbox. 

How are sessions selected?
A volunteer Program Committee, comprised of more than 60 hard-working security professionals, technology experts, researchers, government employees, attorneys, and scientists, review all submissions and make selections based on quality of submissions and balance of topics desired to be covered. 

What resources does RSA Conference offer to speakers?
We are invested in the success of our speakers and provide many resources to help them shine.

  1. Professional Speaker Coach  All selected speakers are offered the opportunity to work directly with a professional coach who’ll provide speaking skills guidance and feedback on presentation decks. 

  2. Program Committee Review  Every session is reviewed multiple times by the Program Committee, industry experts who offer perspective and depth to the presenters to enhance their session materials.

  3. Onsite Practice with Speaker Coaches – Our speaker coaches are available onsite for rehearsals and last minute advice, recommendations and refinement.

  4. Copy of session scores and audience feedback – Post-Conference, we share directly the feedback of the audience, offering speakers the ability to know how they performed individually and comparatively to other speakers at Conference.

How do you assure you have timely material if the sessions are submitted so far in advance?
Final presentations are reviewed within a few weeks of RSA Conference and the Program Committee helps presenters to seek and include up-to-date examples and content. Additionally, there are some RSA Conference sessions that are open and added at the last minute to allow for “breaking events” to be addressed at Conference.

It seems like the same people get selected year after year. How do I increase my odds of getting selected?
Last year more than 60% of our speakers and facilitators were new to RSA Conference. While RSA Conference does have repeat presenters, these presenters do not have any seniority in getting accepted. RSA Conference is a vendor-neutral event.

RSA Conference values diversity of thought, background, gender, orientation, ethnicity, nationality and experience—let your unique perspective and expertise shine in what you submit. Well thought out, complete, unique submissions with clear and specific detail or technical depth will definitely improve your chances of being selected.

What are the main reasons sessions don’t get selected? 

1. Incomplete submission. Believe it or not the #1 reason is incomplete submissions. The session detail portion of the submission is the most important piece of the entire submission.

2. Vendor pitch. It is very clear on the review end when a marketing or PR person is tasked with the submission—the title is catchy and the short abstract is solid, but the detail is sketchy and the expertise of the actual proposed presenter often isn’t clear. Don’t fall into this trap. Sales pitches are also extremely easy to spot and our Program Committee quickly eliminates them from consideration.

3. Multiple submissions on the same topic. We get a lot of very similar submissions, and with a limited number of sessions, the Program Committee must pick the sessions and the presenters they think best address the topic. The Program Committee seeks diverse experts who really come through in the specific detail and examples included that differentiate them from the other proposals.

4. Final tip. RSA Conference has a sophisticated audience well versed in cybersecurity. Basic sessions aren’t as well received nor are past presenters who’ve been poorly evaluated by attendees in the “avoid commercialization” category (beware the temptation to sell!).

What are the most popular sessions at RSA Conference?
Our session attendees are very seasoned, with an average of 11 years in the security industry. They are looking for information they can apply to their jobs and technical deep dives that don’t skimp on details. Don’t make it about XYZ product (smells like a sales pitch!) but rather “business changes and benefits realized through the deployment of this sort of solution”, for example. Practitioner perspectives shine, especially when you’re willing to share what hasn’t worked alongside what has. Content that is intermediate to advanced scores the best—this audience is well beyond entry-level definitions.

This document was retrieved from on Sat, 20 Jul 2019 22:18:50 -0400.