How to Deliver a Talk at a Programming Conference

Check out developer Paul Hudson’s curated collection of tips and advice on preparing and giving talks at tech events. From examples of talk titles and speaker bios to what makes a good slide deck, there’s some solid advice here from an array of experienced speakers. While some of the info is specific to mobile devs, most is much broader. Some of my favourite nuggets involve how to pick a presentation topic, the part that a lot of people – no matter how many talks they’ve given before – can find challenging:

I think a great talk is a talk that only that person can give – something created at the intersection of their passions and experience.

Cate Huston

The best conference presentations are about something the presenter really cares about – either because it’s something they’ve experienced or because they’re deeply interested in what they’re talking about.

Ellen Shapiro

Try to connect what you’re saying to real-world experiences. If you have anecdotes, use them. If you have places where you tried and failed, use those. Seeing real code is great, but hearing from your personal experience is often better.

Paul Hudson

Check out the post.

Deconstruct - Seattle, WA, May 21-22, 2018

Deconstruct’s Opportunity for New Speakers

Seattle, Washington’s Deconstruct conference is looking for first-time speakers, through an innovative initiative. The “language-agnostic,” sponsor-less, single-track software development conference – taking place in May 2018 – is encouraging submissions from diverse speakers, and paying all travel expenses, plus a substantial speaker fee. (They note that the speaker fee might only be possible for US residents.)

Only first-time speakers are eligible, which is described as “anyone who hasn’t given a conference talk” – talks at meetups, in work situations, and at school won’t disqualify you. The Deconstruct organizers also commit to mentoring you “in whatever way you need.”

What a great offer! Check out the call for proposals or explore the conference.

Why Women Speakers Say No to Speaking & What Conference Organizers Can Do About It 

Melissa Kim and Jennifer Kim from the Women Talk Design speaker compendium have put together a practical list of steps that event organizers can take to counter some of the most common reasons women don’t speak at conferences. Check out part 1 and part 2 of their piece.

Three Things, Eighteen Years

In this still-relevant post from 2015, digital artist Jer Thorp shares his top three tips learned over nearly two decades of public speaking: from not rehearsing so much that you can’t handle the unexpected, to exploring non-linear narratives, to remembering that the audience wants you to succeed.

Sprinkled with amusing examples, the piece packs seven shorter additional tips at the end.

Hat tip to the fabulous Technically Speaking newsletter for the find.

Technically Speaking

Although it’s been around for a while, I only recently discovered a newsletter called Technically Speaking. It’s put together by Cate Huston — my new colleague and mobile lead at Automattic — and Chiu-Ki Chan.

Giving talks at conferences is a great way to take your career to the next level. But which conferences are looking for speakers? What should I say? How to give a good talk?

The weekly mailing compiles calls for proposals from technical conferences, speaking tips, and inspirational videos. You can check out the archive of past editions before signing up. Check it out!

Catt Small on Becoming a Public Speaker

A few years back, New York City-based product designer Catt Small gave herself the challenge of learning how to propose talks and speak at tech and gaming conferences across the United States. And within just a year, she did it!

Now, Catt is sharing what she learned in a series of posts on how to become a public speaker in one year. The first three parts are already up, with tips on how to gain enough confidence to start your public-speaking journey, find speaking opportuities, and generate interesting talk ideas.

If you make a mistake while speaking, don’t dwell on it. Correct yourself quickly and move on. Even feel free to laugh at yourself or be honest about your situation.

Catt has some great practical advice — check it out!