Session Formats

From Featured Speakers to Mentor Sessions, learn more about the session formats for programming at the SXSW Conference.

Photo by Alexa Gonzalez Wagner

Photo by Alexa Gonzalez Wagner

About Session Formats


Select a Session Format to Learn More:

Book Readings | Book Signings | Featured Speakers | Focus15s | Keynotes |
Meet Ups | Mentor Sessions | Pitch Events | Podcast Stage |
Round Tables | Presentations/Panels

Take a look back at 2019 programming per format and stay tuned for 2020 SXSW programming announcements throughout the season.

Book Readings

SXSW Book Readings are hour-long sessions focusing on the launch of a new book, giving the author and audience a chance to explore the themes or motifs present in their work. These are a great way for both first-time and returning authors to showcase their latest title to a diverse audience. SXSW Book Reading sessions are followed by a Book Signing at the SXSW Bookstore.

Browse 2020 Book Readings

Book Signings

Book Signings at the SXSW Bookstore provide attendees the opportunity to meet their favorite authors, purchase their latest work, and return home with an autographed copy.

Browse Book Signings

Featured Sessions

Looking for mind-expanding presentations by industry leaders? SXSW Conference Featured Sessions bring together some of the biggest and brightest names of our time. Spanning various themes and trends at SXSW, Featured Speakers present a snapshot of the most transformative ideas shaping our future.

Featured Speakers


Focus15s are short solo presentations featuring the wisdom and experience of the SXSW community. Focus15s are linked by a shared theme, topic or trend, with each group of four presentations taking place in a one-hour time block. 

Browse 2020 Focus15s


Keynotes are some of the world’s most inspired thinkers and speakers, covering a wide range of compelling topics. These powerful presentations by diverse visionaries from the ever-evolving worlds of Interactive, Film, and Music are the center of the SXSW Conference.


Meet Ups

With SXSW attracting registrants from all over the world, Meet Ups are a more relaxed way to connect, seek out inspiration, and find collaboration opportunities across a wide range of industries, interests and groups.

Browse 2020 Meet Ups

Mentor Sessions

Mentor Sessions offer one-on-one coaching by professionals from all areas of the tech, film, and music industries. Within the 75 minute duration of Mentor Sessions, there will be five one-on-one meetings lasting 15 minutes each.

Mentor Sessions require advance sign-up and access is limited to the badge types listed on the Mentor’s schedule information.

Browse 2020 Mentors

Pitch Events

Organized in a competitive format, Pitch Events offer companies the opportunity to showcase their cutting-edge product or service to a panel of judges and the SXSW audience. Learn more about SXSW Pitch (formerly SXSW Accelerator).

SXSW Pitch

Podcast Stage

Podcast sessions highlight established audio series covering all facets of life, including music, film, technology, comedy, and politics. Sessions are recorded live in the intimate setting of the SXSW Podcast Stage.

Podcast Stage

Round Tables

Each Round Table brings three industry experts together with SXSW attendees for an informal and enlightening discussion on a specific topic. Industry insiders will spend 20 minutes at each table before switching.

Advance sign-up is required and access is limited to the primary badge type listed on the schedule information.

Browse 2020 Round Tables

Presentations / Panels

The vast majority of our Presentation and Panel programming is sourced through PanelPicker®.

Presentations include one to two experts offering deep dives into targeted topics. Panels feature between three and four industry professionals sharing different perspectives and opinions based on a specific subject, making for a lively conversation. Each of these formats range from one to two hours in length.

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Attend SXSW 2020

Join the world’s brightest creators March 13-22 at the 2020 SXSW Conference & Festivals. Register to attend and book your hotel to begin your SX adventure!

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Explore SXSW Conference Tracks

Featuring 22 tracks of programming, the SXSW Conference invites attendees to explore what’s next in the worlds of film, culture, music, and technology.

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Explore the SXSW Conference

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