Author: Richard Swinbank

How do we select sessions?

How do we select sessions?

The Call for Speakers for Data Relay 2024 is open now, so what better time to pose the question “how do we select sessions”? I’ll try to answer that here!

We select blind — we don’t see authors — and selection is managed using Sessionize’s ranking tool. Rather than us poor humans trying to impose a total order over all your great submissions, Sessionize asks us to rank a subset of three sessions, repeating continuously until it can calculate a ranking for us. At least five selectors do this, independently, before Sessionize combines the final results.

What this means is that sessions aren’t selected directly, but that they do well when they stand out alongside other sessions (repeatedly, compared to different sessions each time).

So what makes a session stand out? Some ideas:

  • A title which grabs the reader’s attention can help.
  • Topics which are not already heavily covered can do well. Newer technologies are a natural choice for this, but not the only one!
  • An abstract needs to be engaging, and long enough to communicate what problem you’re solving and why a listener should care. What’s the problem? Why is it a problem? Is it already the audience’s problem? You have a solution!

Data Relay has experienced speakers on the team who are happy to help, advise and mentor — so if you’re still not sure, or would like some advice, drop us a line at We’re super-excited to see your submissions for Data Relay 2024!