Best Practices to look out for when submitting talks to PyCon India

PyCon India is the largest gathering of Pythonistas in India for the Python programming language. The 13th edition of PyCon India will be taking place online from 17th September to 20th September 2021. So, whether you are someone submitting a proposal for talks for the first time or want to share what you have been up to with Python for a long time. This is YOUR time to shine!

We are looking forward to seeing beginner, intermediate, and advanced proposals on diverse topics from speakers of different expertise and experience. To submit a proposal, you don’t need to be a veteran who has spoken at a dozen conferences in the past. For making our conference truly diverse, we are looking for all kinds of people. That’s what our community is comprised of, and that’s what this conference’s schedule should be genuinely made out of. As you think about your experiences, skills, and knowledge that you would want to bring to the table. We also want you to focus on the proposal that you will be submitting to us. A well-thought-out proposal could mean a chance for it to be selected and presented at PyCon India 2021. Take your time to go through our team's advice on preparing a kickass proposal that turns heads (virtually):

  1. Know the deadlines, follow the Deadlines.

Unlike other iterations of the event, we are determined to stick to deadlines that have been enforced and provide minimal extensions this year. Hence, please make a note of important dates as mentioned below:

  • CFP closes on 7th May 2021
  • Schedule will be released in the last week of July
  • Selected speakers will present their talks online on 18th and 19th September 2020

Try to follow the deadlines, and don't miss out on submitting the proposal in the first place. Start with drafting your proposal today.

  1. Just like variable names, titles are essential

Give your talk a name that accurately describes the focus of that session in regards to potential attendees. The title is going to be the one-line elevator pitch for your talk. This is going to be your first impression for both the selection committee and the audience. Your title will be listed with hundreds of proposals from various speakers when the selection committee goes through them. Even though selection doesn't solely depend on the talk's title but remember, the first impression is the best impression. Your title will also be listed along with all the talks on the conference day for the audience to go through. They are going to decide which track to attend based on your title. Some of them from last year being,

  1. Under and Dunder - Python secret functions
  2. Taking a peek under the hood - Interpreting black box models
  3. How I built a Ray Tracer in Pure Python
  4. So, You Want to Build an Anti-Virus Engine?
  5. Developing a Single-Sign-On Service using Django
  6. Logging the right way!
  7. Meme Saheb - Using Dank Learning to Generate Original Meme Captions

Read more into all the proposals mentioned above and more on our archived submissions page.

  1. Documentation is critical, so is the Description

A brief description of the talk is needed here. Do provide as much detail as you can to guide us through your plans to cover the topic. The talk duration needs to be 30 minutes. Hence, a rough timeline detailing how you will be spending time explaining the concept would be a great idea to start with. Keep your description elaborate. It should state the problem, how you tried to solve it, and the major takeaways for the audience. Remember, description is where you can convince the selection team that you know what you are talking about.

Also, to make it better, you can add an outline section at the end of the description. The outline should list out the topics you cover in the talk and roughly how much time you are going to take to deliver them.

  1. Getting the Audience Level right

At what level of Python and other topic-specific experience or expertise is the talk aiming for? We realize this may be too narrow for a talk; for example, if the talk is aimed at experienced programmers but novices to Python, but give it your best shot. Reviewers need to know what level of Python experience is targeted and what level(s) of domain-specific expertise is targeted, such as networking, SQL, database, etc. Please also add references or requirements, if any, in regards to your talk that attendees need to take care of before joining in.

  1. Propose early and be worry free!

This year, we will be starting the review process as the proposals come in and not at the end. Proposals submitted early will get more attention from the reviewers, who would provide you the proper feedback.

  1. Don't forget about the COC

Read our Code of Conduct (COC), and be mindful of it. The gist is, be nice and avoid using sexist or discriminatory language.

  1. Adding the video and making it even better

The more details you add to your proposal, you will bring more clarity to the selection committee. If you have your slides ready, don't hesitate to attach them to the proposal. It need not be complete; just a skeleton would also do.

Recording a 2-minute video clip about your proposal and linking it in your CFP really goes on to help the reviewers make informed decisions. Check the guidelines for making the video before hitting that record button. The video will showcase your presentation style and increases the odds of your proposal getting selected.

You can check out a sample proposal outline here.

  1. Talking about Promotional content

The talk content should not look promotional. If you're talking about a commercialized project (including an open-sourced one), make it sufficiently generic. Cover the alternatives and the flip sides. Make the language-neutral and objective. For example, instead of - Simplified infrastructure using AWS Lambda try something like Simplified Infrastructure using function as a service, a comparative study across AWS, Azure and GCP.

Have any more questions? We are here to help!

Feel free to ping us on Zulip or IRC (#pyconindia) or contact the coordinators through email:

We look forward to seeing your proposals filling our inboxes in the coming months! Till then, stay safe!