I wonder this in particular with having 15 amazing, wonderful and brilliant people in my session. Out of 2500.
I've grown to realize that I'm seriously introverted, to a point where I experience social anxiety if I don't manage my situations well. I've just paid to live a week in what I could frame as a nightmare: 2500 people, mostly strangers and very few of my peers I would find easier to connect with. All moving around in a mass of people.
I usually speak at conferences, because the personal connections to people who I can learn with are valuable. Speaking enables people to approach me, to mention they share some of my interests (yay!) and after that all the connection problems vanish for me. I love talking about things I love, and that is probably why no one ever believes me being introverted.
With that said, I believe there is a big problem we have on conferences: a lot of them make the speakers pay to speak. This means that only those of us with privilege to afford paying all this and taking time away from work get our voices into the conferences have a chance of being heard.
I believe we are losing two main categories of voices:
- People who have done this enough to know that the not paying is just an excuse and you can choose the conferences you speak at more smartly.
- People who can't take the financial burden, because their companies don't support them and they are not self-employed needing to keep themselves visible for sales purposes