This is a checklist I started 2011 to use whenever I prepare a talk, and to update after I learned something new. If you have ideas for further improvements, let me know. Just keep in mind that it should be kept as a checklist, details must live elsewhere.
- Draft talk outline, have it reviewed – see Content section below for details
- Prepare demos, if any, and rehearse the talk based on outline and demos
- Creates slides to fill the gaps
- Rehearse in front of mirror! Especially if you’ve never done this before. Repeat as necessary.
- Rehearse with slides (and demos) and record yourself
- first at home
- if your goal is a big conference: find a local meetup to do a “test run” (don’t tell them)
- Listen to recording, check for things, then try to avoid or add them on the next run
- things to avoid: aaaaams, uhms, awkward pauses, pronouncing “w” as in german (windows, wikipedia)
- things to do:
- emphasize important stuff (like count bullets in a list, instead of just reading them)
- go down at the end of a sentence
- point at slides and mention when there’s something interesting: “as you can see on the slide…”
- Iterate! Go back to 1, 2 or 3
- Must have beginning, middle and end
- Introduce as much as necessary – if someone is going to introduce you, don’t repeat that
- Minimum: Name, Topic, Length
- Try to focus on three points to make
- Must have problems, solutions, discussion
- Introduces itself, invites the audiences to the stage, and acknowledges receipt.
- Reminds everyone what was actually important.
- Says one more thing!
- Share contact info, invite audience to ask questions
- Must have a theme to hold it all together, make it entertaining
- Tech check – you really don’t want tech to fail two minutes before you start
- meetup: Before talks start, even if you aren’t first
- conference: the day before or early in the morning
- Ask a friend to pay attention to every detail
- While talking, think of the audience as the five year old cousin that you’re explaining Angry Birds to: Be calm and smiling!
- Do it!
- Ask friend for honest feedback. Other people won’t tell you what sucked.
- Make notes to improve next run or talk, help improve this checklist.
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