The Pitch

We’ve been asked how the program is made for UXcamp. You might have heard that the local planning team is only providing infrastructure (rooms, snacks…) – and that the program is made by the participants during an opening session on both Saturday and Sunday. And you might have heard that everyone who’s interested in giving a session is asked to give “a pitch” during said opening session.

What follows is quite a long text, but as one of our previous participants – Jan Dittrich – wrote on Facebook:

The long text just looks a bit scary. So for the newcomers I want to add: It is not hard and there will be enough good examples by people before you in the row.

So how does the pitch work? Step 0 is to stay in line during the opening session and to fill out a blank session card (we will provide those). Then:

  1. Once it’s your turn, say your name and where you’re coming from (optional).
  2. “My session is about…” or “The title of my session is…”. Of course, you could also start with a rhetorical question.
  3. To give prospect attendees of your session more detail, we recommend that you say one sentence about each of these aspects: the topic of your session if not already clear from the title (the What), why attendees should care (the Why), and how do yo want to convey this information (the How). You don’t need to stick strictly to this structure – do what makes sense.
  4. Indicate whether it’s an open discussion, a talk or a workshop. This could be The How.
  5. Indicate whether it’s an introduction to the topic or if you want to dive deep (especially relevant for talks and workshops, maybe less so for discussions). This could be part of The How, for example: “In my talk I will give you an introduction to the topic, what we learned along the way, and I will provide you with some tips on how to do this yourself.” Or: “After a brief overview regarding the current state of AR we dive deep on how we can combine heads-up interfaces with audio feedback.”
  6. State your session number (it’s printed on the card you are filling out while you’re in line to pitch your session). Attendees will probably write down their favorites by jotting down that session number, and will compile themselves a personal schedule for the day after this planning session.
  7. Ask who’s interested in that session. People will raise their hands, and depending on the amount of raised hands, your session will be scheduled to a smaller or a larger room.
  8. Pitch is done, hand the mic to the next person in line. When, go to the session grid and pin your session card to the board (with the help of someone from our team). Afterwards, go to our team member with the laptop on his/her lap, and tell him/her the room and the time of your session, the session number, the title and your name. This is for the digital version of the grid. After that: Relax and enjoy the camp!

These steps will probably be in the region of 20 to 30 seconds, but it should not exceed one minute (we don’t have a timer, though). People finishing their pitch in 10 seconds are quite rare. It’s not about speed, anyway – be as concise and convincing as possible in about 30 seconds.

Don’t worry: You should be prepared, but that doesn’t mean that you have to memorize the exact text of your pitch. But a cheat sheet might come in handy.   :-)

PS: If you intend to give a session, we also recommend reading 10 tips for a great session!