When you #PayToSpeak, many presentations have a sales pitch knack on them. Not all. But some. There's some reason for someone other than the conference organizer to pay you to show up.
I go to quite a number of conferences. I review conference proposals for some. Some of them I have very high respect for and would recommend to others without a blink both as participants of conferences and as speakers. These two tend to be connected though. Good speakers create better experiences from the contents to the participants.
The #TestBash series (TestBash, TestBashNY, TinyTestBash) are on top of my list. The amazing Rosie Sherry works with integrity unlike any other, pouring her heart into making the events great both for participants and speakers and succeeds for years in a row. Rosie's conferences don't make the speakers pay for speaking: she covers travel and stay, and her actions show she realizes how much work speakers (like me) put on their presentations. It is only fair we don't #PayToSpeak even if we are not paid to speak.
The second category of conferences I vouch for are ones where the community is so strong that the contents turn out great, even though the speakers will pay for showing up. I'd like to recognize CAST and Nordic Testing Days in this category. I have paid to speak at CAST (and it costs a lot to travel there from Europe, and my employer does not pay for me!) and I could speak at NTD since it is so close by. I hear Copenhagen Context and Let's Test might be similar, but I have no personal interest towards them so far, for very different reasons.
The third category is conferences I have spoken at, but would no longer do that unless invited (and paid for). These include EuroSTAR, STPCon and other typically commercial events. I get that the commercial success is partly based on volunteering speakers, but I also believe that it means they get a very biased view into the world of testing. It's sales oriented and new speaker oriented, new speakers that still seek to invest in having their first mentions of reputable conferences under their belt.
Fourth category are conferences where you pay entrance fee to speak. These are usually framed as from community to community. Sometimes they appear like commercial conferences (like XP201x), sometimes they are open space conferences. For open space conferences, I get the idea that everyone pays the fee, but it tends to be cheaper and extends then to everyone.
European Testing Conference seeks to join the first category. We believe that great speakers with practical messages to share should not #PayToSpeak, quite the contrary. So we pay the travel and stay. And when we are financially successful, we also create a model of paying honorariums for the work. Creating a presentation is a lot of work. It's valuable. It's is the second main reason people should join conferences. The other is to meet the community. But content we confer around is relevant.
Have you already let us know about your interest to speak and the story you would have to share? Look at our call for co-creation. And if you are not a speaker, did you get your ticket already for learning from some of the greatest speakers we can find under the case of paying them instead of making them pay? We've published 3/4 keynotes and the ticket price goes up again at the time all of the speakers are announced, so get yours now.