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This week we’re taking a look inside something that every speaker brings with them to conferences: their bags. With everything that goes into preparing yourself for a speaking gig, it can be easy to forget practical stuff. Every speaker has been in the situation where you get up on stage and realize that you’ve forgotten something. In this newsletter, we discuss those essential pieces of speaker kit.

  • Richard


“This may seem obvious but it’s the obvious things that can be forgotten when the pressure is on. Your phone is the ultimate piece of multi-purpose kit, be it for tweeting from the conference, making new contacts, taking photos for use in your self-promotion, or keeping track of time during your talk. Make sure to have your phone fully charged” (which brings us to our next two pieces of kit)…


Power strip

Hotel rooms are notorious for having insufficient power outlets. Bring your own power strip so that you can charge up everything all at once. Your camera, phone, laptop and tablet will all need sufficient juice for a long convention day.


Portable battery chargers

“While at a conference, you rarely have time to go back to your room and charge your phone. With extensive social media and phone usage, you often end up with your phone going dead before the day is over. This is why I always carry a portable battery charger to ensure I have enough power on the most important networking tool (my phone).”

Syed Balkhi

Laptop, tablet

“Make sure you have a fully charged laptop or tablet with you at conferences. Don’t just rely on your tablet, however, because you may still need your laptop to do other tasks that a tablet may not allow you to do. You can always leave the laptop in the hotel room and bring it only when needed.”


Danyelle Little

Anti-nausea medication

“Whether it’s food poisoning or the flu, an upset stomach can take even the best presenters down. After a particularly ugly incident, I always keep a supply of stomach soothers in my bag.”


Kindra Hall





Voxgig Podcast

Coming Soon… 

I am delighted to announce that  voxgig is starting a podcast series! The title of the series is ‘Fireside with voxgig’. In each podcast, I’ll be interviewing leading experts from the events industry.  The aim is to deliver high quality insights, valuable public speaking tips and enjoyable personal success stories, all in a relaxed, informal and chatty style. Keep an eye out here for the first podcast in the series, coming soon. 

Speaker Profile

Chris Anderson on stage at Tedx

What makes a great talk … great
Chris Anderson

As we look at the essentials that belong in our speaker tool kit, it’s important not to forget the foundations of the presentation itself and the building blocks that make a great talk great. Chris Anderson shares his thoughts on keys to giving a good talk and how to do so authentically, without forcing it. Listen for the many great points he highlights as he stresses the power of a well-structured talk. Some might even surprise you!

Learn from the Best


Public speaking essentials

Magnetic Messengers Academy

This is a very practical guide to essential speaker kit—and with in-flight bags getting smaller every day, you won’t need a bigger bag to keep them all in.

Tell me…

What is your biggest challenge as an event speaker?

This newsletter is for you. I want it to resonate with you.

So go ahead, hit reply, and tell me what you want to read about. Or email me at richard@voxgig.com. You can tweet too: @voxgig.

I’ll address the most pressing issues in each edition.

Book of the Week

Book Cover image for The Checklist Manifesto, with list check mark

The Checklist Manifesto
Atul Gawande

If you’ve been reading this newsletter or the newspaper articles for a while, you know that The Checklist Manifesto is one of my all-time favorite books.  It’s exactly what you need to get things done.  A great read and full of practicalities.

Blog Post

The best tech gadgets for event professionals

Despite the title, the tips in this blog post apply equally well to event speakers. It’s one of the best lists I’ve come across of indispensable conference gadgets. My favorite item is the cord wrap—if you’ve ever undergone the embarrassment of your bag exploding cables in front of a crowd, you’ll know what I mean.




Three Conferences



Are you a React enthusiast? Then Reactathon in San Francisco is the perfect way to spend two days in September! The JS/React community comes together for a special edition event to learn from the best and brightest in the industry through talks and workshops. An evening reception rounds out the agenda for excellent networking opportunities too. If you’ve not been to the beautiful downtown headquarters of GitHub, this is a great opportunity to see this amazing space while enjoying the Reactathon lineup.

DevSecCon Boston
DevSecCon Boston


DevOps and security brings inspiring talks and interactive workshops by key industry experts. With over 200 guests and speakers from around the world, it’s a great opportunity to interact and connect with your peers throughout the conference and enjoy some of the sights of Boston too.The DevSecCon conference returns to Boston for two days of insights, inspiration and practical takeaways. 

JavaZone 2018
JavaZone 2018



2018 marks the 17th anniversary of JavaZone, the biggest European community-driven conference for modern developers. With 200 speakers, attendees will enjoy seven parallel tracks over two days, along with nine workshops the day before the conference. If you’re in Norway, or find yourself looking at tickets to Oslo, you’ll want to check it out. And don’t forget the AweZone – JavaZone’s conference party tradition!




CFP Calendar

These are the CFP deadline dates and submission pages.

Speaker Training

Do you speak at conferences? Want to learn how to give the very best talks? Or are you just starting out and want to overcome the fear of speaking on stage?
We are running speaker training workshops in Dublin, Ireland and London, U.K. over the coming months.

There is a 10% OFF early bird discount.

To find out more follow the links below.

Public speaking with Debbie Forster

London, UK – Thursday October 18, 2018 | More Details

Giving great talks with Russ Miles

London, UK – Thursday November 8, 2018 | More Details




A favour…

Can I ask you for a favour? If you enjoy this newsletter, and if you find it useful, please consider recommending it to a friend who is learning to give technical talks, or who aspires to do so. I meet so many cool programmers who have brilliant things to share with the world—that’s you!

Please help me to improve this newsletter – I’d love to hear your suggestions! You can email me directly at richard@voxgig.com. You can tweet too: @voxgig. Thank you so much for reading!

A special thanks and shout out to TammyCora, and David for helping to make this newsletter even better!


Thank you! Please let me know what you think!