How To Speak At DEF CON

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Getting a speaking gig at DEF CON, or indeed any hacker conference is clearly massive endorsement to your research within your subject matter.

To get accepted to talk and present at a highly reputable conference like DEF CON is tricky of course but they’ll give you a fighting chance if you submit and apply yourself properly.

Here are some ideas and tips to get you to secure a speaking gig for DEF CON 28 in 2020, and DEF CON 29 in 2021.

Create Captivating Content
This is obvious but make sure with complete certainty that your content (security related) subject matter is totally on-point. A good example could be the infamous car hacks that were demonstrated and widely reported back in 2015. The speakers were pretty much guaranteed a spot at any major conference which they were at Black Hat. Clearly, the subject matter was timely and captivating and generated a ton of press. So think – what is that truly fascinates you and then start to sketch out all the points and examples that you’d be able to make.

DEF CON content is definitely more “cutting edge” than other Cybersecurity Conferences so to apply to get a speaking opportunity we’d recommend that you make yourself as pioneering as possible.

An example of a “cutting edge” presentation took place at DEF CON 26 would be Marcus Hutchins WannaCry talk which was clearly extremely topical at the time.

The Title Is Key
Any journalist or Internet Marketer will tell you that half of the battle in getting people’s interest is in being able to write a catchy title that creates excitement and sets the stage for what is to come. We have a resource on some TED InfoSec Talks that may give you some inspiration, as well as our “recommended 5 DEF CON, talks since 1994” and in that, an example of a title we like is: “That Awesome Time I Was Sued For Two Billion Dollars”.

Make Sure You Submit Your Well Written CFP Early!
Kinda a no brainer here but of course make sure that your CFP Proposal is submitted as early as possible thereby making sure it is received and of course, make sure it is well written! Following the guidelines precisely and accurately because any inconsistencies and your CFP will be rejected.

Look At Past Events
One of the awesome things about DEF CON (of which there are many) is that you can see the past talks and presentations that took place all the way back to DEF CON 1! Seek out talks that you can relate to and, of course, use them for inspiration.

How To Apply
This is the [now past] CFP for DEF CON 27 in 2019. Just slightly change the URL structure for DEF CON 28 in 2020.

Good luck with it!

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