ChicagoRuby is a group of developers & designers who use Ruby, Rails, and related tech.

Speaking at ChicagoRuby Events

Would you like to speak at a ChicagoRuby meeting or WindyCityRails conference? We welcome you! Of course, we have guidelines that we ask all of our presenters to follow. The guidelines ensure that:

  • ChicagoRuby members receive value from every presentation.
  • Speakers receive value through interaction with our members.

We want all stakeholders to benefit from ChicagoRuby: Attendees, presenters, and sponsors.

Speaker Guidelines

  1. You and your product must LOVE Ruby as much as we do. This is the perfect opportunity to preach to the choir. You might be presenting some new-fangled JavaScript library, or advancements in other languages like Erlang or Clojure, but bear in mind that you’re presenting to a fanatical Ruby audience. If there’s a way to present your topic in terms of how it relates to Ruby, or why we as Ruby developers would really appreciate your product, that should be your “angle”.
  2. No hard sell. ChicagoRuby is an informal group of professionals who get together every month because we want to, not as part of our jobs or career development. The meeting is definitely not meant as a means to be sold new products. So leave the sell sheets and the brochures at the office. Don’t call us, we’ll call you. Focus on making a good impression on a human level, rather than on a product level. Chances are, if we like you as a person, we’ll be more inclined to check out your product.
  3. Attend some of our meetings prior to presenting. This is arguably the best way to get a sense for the community you’ll be addressing. If you can’t make it to a meeting, take a look at the videos from our past events. The videos will show you what our audience expects.
  4. Your product should work on Mac OS X or Linux. It can work on Windows, too, but bear in mind that the overwhelming majority of our community is Mac-based, and enjoys being so. If your product is primarily Windows-based, chances are your product isn’t a good fit for ChicagoRuby.
  5. Use high-contrast presentation slides. If you use Keynote/PowerPoint slides in your presentation, make them high-contrast. Our presentation room is brightly lit and we have no control over the lighting. Dark characters on a black background will render your presentation invisible to the audience. Black letters on a white background will give you great visibility. You can experiment with other colors if you like, but the end result should be high-contrast, or your presentation will be invisible. If you use Vim, the :TOhtml tool will keep syntax highlighting intact as you copy code from Vim to Keynote. Other editors have similar tools.
  6. Remember your display adapter. Our projector is HDMI. You will need a [your laptop display port]-to-HDMI adapter in order to connect to the projector. It’s almost funny: After putting so many hours into an outstanding presentation, many presenters forget to bring the right display adapter! It’s a small detail, very easy to miss, and that’s why we mention it here.
  7. We record many of our presentations on video. Videos are shared on the web. You’re welcome to use the video on your own blog or web site.
  8. Presentations last for 45 minutes. You can do 30 minutes of speaking followed by 15 minutes of Q & A, or you can use the entire 45 minutes interactively. Your call!
  9. Additional polish. For more tips on creating a great presentation, check out John Nunemaker’s Improve Your Presentations In Under $50 article and Inc.’s 21 Quick Tips.

Typical Meeting Agenda

Most ChicagoRuby meetings (except hack nights) follow this agenda:

  • [30 minutes] Networking + eating refreshments (if provided).
  • [45 minutes] Speaker presentation + Q&A
  • [? minutes] The crowd heads to a local restaurant for after-the-meeting conversations.

Next Steps

If your talk fits the guidelines and you’re ready to go…

  1. Visit the ChicagoRuby Calendar and pick a few dates when you would like to present. 

  2. Contact the ChicagoRuby Organizers with the following info:

    • Your name
    • A link to your Twitter handle, personal web site, GitHub page, or other page where you want the audience to learn more about you.
    • Title of your presentation
    • Brief description of your presentation (about 100 words).
    • Brief bio (about 100 words) about you.


Drop us a line. We look forward to seeing and hearing your presentation!