Speaker Guidance

Thank you for your interest in submitting a session for SQLBits. We hope the information below will answer any questions you have about speaking at SQLBits, the submission process and be useful to enable you to submit sessions that align with what we are looking for.

At SQLBits we seek to provide fresh content at the very highest standard for our delegates. We expect all our speakers to have some experience, we don’t feel SQLBits is the right place for someone to make their first solo presentation at a large event with the exception of lightning talks where we welcome and encourage first-time speakers.

We are very interested in speakers teaming up and co-presenting, this way inexperienced speakers can work with experienced speakers. See New Speakers.

Benefits of speaking

In recognition of the time and effort speakers invest in their content and in addition to the kudos of speaking at SQLBits, we will provide the following:

  • Lightning Talks (5 mins)
    • Free access to the day speaking
  • 20 minute sessions
    • Free access to the day speaking
    • 1 Hotel night for each day speaking
  • 50 minute sessions
    • Free access to general session days.
    • 1 Hotel night for each speaker for each day speaking + 1 extra night*
  • Full-day Training Sessions
    • 1 Hotel night per Full-day Training Session + 1 extra night*
    • £2500 guaranteed fee + £50 per registered attendee over 25 (see payment details)
    • Free access to general sessions will be provided if you also provide a 50 minute session

Speakers sharing rooms can combine night allocations

* only 1 extra night per person per conference.

Session delivery

We are planning on running a hybrid event in 2022 where speakers can present either remotely or in-person, equally we hope to have delegates attending in-person and virtually. Whilst we really hope that people will attend in-person we fully appreciate that this may not be possible for everyone. As part of the session submission process, we ask you to let us know whether you are planning to present in-person or virtually. If, for some reason, we have to swap to run as a fully virtual event, or you are no longer able to travel we very much hope you will still present your session, if selected, virtually.

If you opt to present virtually, or you need to present virtually due to a change in circumstance whilst we hope you will present your session live we will need a recording in advance. In addition, if we have to make the call to go completely virtual then we will make that decision no later than 4 weeks in advance and will ask you to provide a recording of your session. In these uncertain times we feel this is the best compromise.

We can set up a Teams meeting with you and record the session for you if you would prefer to deliver it to an audience rather than talking to yourself. We don’t need these recordings to be edited to perfection, we’d prefer them to be as if you were presenting live, “warts and all” as it were.

Session length

Sessions can be either:

  • A full-day training session - 28
  • 50 minute session - We are currently planning on having 174 of these sessions
  • 20 minute session – We are currently planning on having 108 of these sessions
  • 5 minute lightning talk – We are currently planning on having 2 lightning talk sessions per day each with 5 lightning talks, totalling 30 sessions over all.

Submitting a session

We are using sessionize to make the process as easy as possible for you to submit. We know you are very keen to get your session submitted, we would encourage you to read the rest of the guidelines as that will give you an idea on what we are looking for, which will give you a better chance of being selected. Once you have read the guidelines you can go to sessionize to submit your session.

The link to sessionize is https://sessionize.com/sqlbits

Session content

Session abstract

Accuracy of session abstract is one of the biggest single reasons for a poor session rating. Providing an accurate abstract is your first step to getting great feedback. It focuses your mind on exactly what you are going to deliver in your session.

There are several blogs from experienced community speakers about how to create and submit a good abstract and we strongly recommend you read these and other successful abstracts from our previous events. An abstract should give the reader a good understanding of what you will be covering and should include:

  • What are the key take-aways from the session?
  • What level of knowledge is required by attendees to gain the most from your session?
  • Is the content industry specific?
  • Is the session technology specific?
  • List what people would benefit from knowing before attending

If you wish us to pair you with a mentor to help review your abstracts, then please email us at speakers@sqlbits.com.

Session categorisation

As well as an awesome, accurate abstract we would like you to categorise your session in a number of ways to enable attendees to find your session without having to read every abstract.

Content area

Is your session talking about “What, Why or How”. By this we mean:

Go into the detail of why you need certain solutions and approaches to problems. i.e. Why do you need a relational DB rather than a lake, Why do you need HA and DR.
Given that you know why you need something, a What session goes into the options to address the why. What products and methodologies can you use, i.e. To achieve HA you can consider...
You know Why and What, but don’t know How. A How session can reference the What and Why but not cover them. i.e. How to structure Data Lake folders and permissions to be agile and ensure compliance. How to implement cross region HA for MySQL...

For all areas the best content is based on the real implementation experience that you can reference. It should help users in the choices that they have to make, what works and what doesn’t and help them avoid pitfalls. Your content should be from your first-hand experience, content repeated from other sources will not be scored highly, equally content that is only based on how to use something will not score as highly.


We are grouping content in the following themes; multiple themes can be selected when you submit your session:

All aspects of managing and releasing systems, Code management, Build, Packaging, Testing, deployment, configuration, logging, monitoring.
Data Integrator
moving data around, transforming data, enriching data, data cleansing
Future DBA
How the DBA can find a role in the new data world
Intelligence and Analytics
Data is nothing without analysis. Manually analysing, machine learning or artificial intelligence. Doing analysis at scale AI/ML data science, Databricks, Spark, R, Python in PowerBI
Managing Big Data
Data Lake, Data Warehouse, Structured and Unstructured. Back and restore, versioning
NoCode Data Engineer
Data accessibility is giving more users more access and more power. Citizen engineers can achieve all aspects of data engineering with no code platforms.
Secure and Govern
GDPR, Encryption, Data Masking, Securing data, Role based access, Governing data access, audit, data classification, data lineage
Visualising and Actioning Data
Beyond ingesting data back into systems, visualising data is one of the primary means to obtain value from data. Further value can be obtained by combining presentation with functionality that enables you to action the data. PowerBI, Tableau, Power Apps, Power Automate,
Operational databases
Most data is generated by applications and has to be stored somewhere. SQL Server, CosmosDB, PostgreSQL, MySQL, Data Lake
Non Technical


The objective categorises what aspect of the data engineering process, multiple objectives can be selected.

If the session is a technical one then use

The ability to get your data systems made available for use, whether manual delivery or automated delivery, using a platform such as Github actions or a built-in capabilities such as releases in Power BI
Topics covering the processing of writing your data platform, authoring code, use of editors such as VSCode, portals such as Data Bricks workspaces
How do you manage your platform, keep it well tuned, not run out of space
All running systems need to monitored to check they are running correctly. Whether
Data has to be modelled to, platforms need to be designed.
Making systems better, faster, cheaper, more reliable, faster failover, more scalable
Meeting with different compliance requirements. Auditing user access. Managing user access. Obfuscating data. Documenting lineage.
Unit testing, Data Testing, Functional testing, Test Data Management, automated testing, manual testing.

For non-technical sessions we have the following objectives

Personal Success
Sessions aimed at how individuals can achieve success, how to work well in a team, how to manage your time
Inspiring Teams
Sessions for people wanting to build and grow successful teams
Successful Delivery
How to succeed at delivering in you organisation
Health and Well Being
Topics about your Health and wellbeing, at work and at home to enable you to be happier and achieve more. Mental and physical health
Sessions covering how to improve inclusion in your life and work. Changing attitudes to gender, disabilities, mental health.

Cloud platform

Is your session about any specific cloud platform, and is it about moving to the cloud?

  • AWS
  • Azure
  • GCP
  • Moving to the Cloud
  • On Premise
  • IAAS VM based

Full-day training additional information

If you submit a full-day training session there is additional information that we will need so please ensure that all full-day training session related fields in the session submission process which are in the additional fields section and need to be entered after you have populated the session submission.

To do this, once you have submitted the session, go to your dashboard and click on “Edit Session”. The additional fields required for full-day training sessions will be shown below your original responses.


Full-day training session submissions require the following additional information

  • Prerequisite knowledge for attendees
  • Agenda for the day
  • Format of the day (hands on course, workshop)

Due to covid measures we are not offering cabaret layout for sessions this year.

If you are selected to present a Full-day Training Session we would you like to provide us with a 90 second video to promote your session.

How sessions are selected

Sessions are scored for selection based on their abstract.

Once we have scored your abstract, we will be applying a weighting for the following areas:

  • Multiple speakers – we are encouraging sessions with multiple-speakers over solo speakers, especially where one of the speakers is inexperienced.
  • Topics that we are particularly interested in promoting, as shown above
  • Diversity – we wish to encourage minorities, to include but not limited to gender, age, race, colour, disability (see our diversity and inclusion approach for more information)

With regard to the weighting, if we have submissions for similar topics, that score the same then the weighting will likely mean the weighted session will be selected, however please note that the priority is for the quality of the abstract.

Product led sessions that should be clearly described as such in an abstract, and will be chosen on merit inline with the content areas listed. Sessions that don’t describe themselves accurately or are sales pitches do not work and will score very poorly, thus impacting a speaker’s likelihood of being chosen for the future conferences.

Covid safety

We are taking advice from our venue https://www.excel.london/reopening, the events industry and the UK government.

Our current approach is that:

  • Proof of double vaccination, Covid-19 antibodies, or a negative lateral flow test (within the last 48-hours) will be required.
  • Masks will required whilst at the event.
  • Additional spacing between seats in session rooms including use of tables for all sessions not just training days.

For requirements on access to the country if travelling from abroad, please refer to your government advice and the UK government advice https://www.gov.uk/guidance/travel-to-england-from-another-country-during-coronavirus-covid-19

We do have the option of delivering sessions remotely if you are unable to travel, please let us know your ability to deliver virtually and whether you know of any current restrictions preventing you from presenting in person.

In the event that we are, or it’s a distinct possibility that we are, unable to host the event in person, or you as a presenter are unable to attend in person we will ask you to prerecord your session to enable us to deliver virtually.

What do you need in order to speak?

Is there anything you would like us to provide that would enable you to present more easily, e.g. a chair, a low table, a ramp to get on the stage, interpreter etc. please email us at speakers@sqlbits.com and we will work with you to make presenting your session at SQLBits as trouble-free as possible.

Speaker scholarships

This year we have a budget to support speakers that have challenges covering travel and accommodation in order to speak at SQLBits.

If you need support in order to speak, please email us directly at speakers@sqlbits.com in order that we can discuss your needs in advance of selecting sessions.

New speakers

If you have never spoken at SQLBits before then you have the following options open to you.

If you have never spoken at any event (conference or user group) then you can

  • Submit a 5 minute lightning talk
  • Co-present with a more experienced speaker

If you have spoken at a conference or user group,

  • Submit any length session
  • Co-present with a more experience speaker

In all cases please provide references to events, user groups and people that can support your submissions. If you would like us to put you in touch with a mentor please email us at speakers@sqlbits.com.


We are considering supplying Creche (childcare) facilities, can you please let us know if this would be of interest to you.


We are committed to removing barriers to ensure our attendees are able maximise their experience of the event, as such we expect the following from speakers,

  • presentations and content need to ensure they pass the accessibility guidelines, such as captions for images, use of colours.
  • presentations and content need to be provided in advance in order that attendees can review the content in advance. This is particularly useful for those heard of hearing, or other impairment.
  • agreement to the use of microphones, captioning and translation services.

Speaker commitments

As per the accessibility points above we will need the slide deck and other content to be sent to us at speakers@sqlbits.com no later than 7 days before the conference start.

Our commitment to you is to provide hotel accommodation prior to any day you are speaking, in exchange you agree to be present and confirm your arrival with the Speaker Liaison team at the Information Desk on each morning you are speaking, and at least 1hour before your session (or the opening of the venue if later).

To ensure the best experience for speakers and ensure the event runs as smoothly as possible, we expect all selected speakers to attend virtual on-boarding session prior to the event. We will arrange these over multiple days and times so there will be one that suits you. Attendance at this is mandatory. If you are uncomfortable with this please let us know in order that we can look to accommodate your needs.

If you are selected to speak, then like all attendees of the event, you agree to abide by the code of conduct. If it is seen that you have not met the terms of the code of conduct then the SQLBits Committee can choose to remove you from the premises and you will no longer be able to present your session(s).

You will confirm that you want to present the selected session within 14 days of SQLBits advising you that you have had a session selected to be part of the conference schedule.

Failure to meet any of the commitments may result in your session being cancelled and speaker benefits being removed.

Useful dates

  • Session submission closing dates:
    • Full-day Training Session – 16th November
    • General Sessions – 26th November
  • Session selection notification:
    • Full-day Training Session – 17h November
    • General Sessions – 15th December

Additional terms and conditions

Selection process

I understand that by submitting a session there is no assurance that the session will be selected.

Advertising of services

The training day is not an opportunity to advertise or sell your services. You may describe who you are and what you or your company does at the start of the day. You are allowed to brand your slides, demos and wear branded clothing. No other display of your company is allowed, including but not limited to banners, flyers, pop up stands, giveaways. If you wish to partake in any of these then contact our sponsorship team sponsorship@sqlbits.com. If it is found that you are advertising and/or selling services during the delivery of the training day SQLBits retains the right to reduce or withhold the payment for the training day.


I will, other than in exceptional circumstances, provide SQLBits with reasonable notice of cancellation or reason that the training day cannot go ahead.


I agree that all communication with SQLBits will be directed to, or include, speakers@sqlbits.com

Microsoft speakers

Payment is not permitted to Microsoft speakers. Any requests for T&E need to be made to SQLBits prior to accepting of a Training day slot

Sponsored sessions

No speaker benefits are included for sponsored sessions.

Speaker hotel offer

The offer is for accommodation only, and I am responsible for all other charges during my stay. (Breakfast is provided at the conference on conference days)

SQLBits will notify me of my hotel allowance, and will provide the means of booking. If I book accommodation outside of this process, then SQLBits will not cover any of my accommodation costs. There will be a deadline for booking the hotel after which SQLBits will not guarantee a hotel booking. Money is not available in lieu of a hotel night being provided.

Content rights

I warrant that any session I submit is my own work, or that I have full permission to submit and subsequently present the session, as well as to allow publication and promotion of all materials as detailed below.

If I am selected to present a regular session(ie not a Training Day), I understand that SQLBits may record the sessions and the conference proceedings, and I give SQLBits permission to duplicate and redistribute the recording of this session; this includes, but is not limited to, the conference proceedings, video or audio recordings, and on-line publishing. Pre-conference training days are excluded, and not recorded.

In addition I give SQLBits non-exclusive rights to publish indefinitely and redistribute my presentation and any other files I submit in relation to the session.

Full-day training payments

Payment will be made via bank transfer within 1 month of the event. The cost of sending the monies will be covered by SQLBits, but any additional fees charged by the receiving bank are not covered. To minimise receiving fees or conversion charges, payments can be sent in most currencies. Where non-pound sterling payments are made, the payment amount will be pound sterling equivalent as determined by our bank or payment processor at the time of payment.

Attendance numbers that we communicate in advance are indicative only, as delegates do request changes up to and including morning of the training day. All changes are recorded and these final numbers are used for the basis of payments.

The minimum attendance for a full-day training is 10. Below this number it is at the discretion of SQLBits to cancel the training day.