WordCamp Speaker Preparedness
Here are some helpful tips for planning and presenting your WordCamp presentation.
Preparing to present:
Practice, practice, practice.
Know your material in and out. You’re speaking as an expert so it’s important that you actually know what you’re talking about thoroughly.
It’s a good idea to run through your presentation out loud several times. This will help you with your timing and your transitions.
Make sure you use the time given to you for your presentation, but leave a few minutes at the end for any questions your audience may have.
Practice your material at a local meetup before taking it to the big time.
Delivering Your Intro:
Don’t start off with slides of your family or pets or vacations. No one is interested in that.
You have 30 seconds to 2 minutes to hook your audience. If you don’t capture their attention within that window, you’ve lost them for your entire presentation.
You might want to start your presentation highlighting what you’ll be speaking about and what you hope they will take away from it.
If you have the ability to arrive a bit early and head to the stage, you can then begin having conversations with your audience in an effort to get them warmed up to you and engaged with you ahead of time.
Font size. Make sure your font is large enough to be seen from the back of the room. This is especially important if you’re trying to present code on the screen.
Do not stand there and read your slide to the audience. Keep the slides minimal.
Use the slides as a cue to help you move from point to point. You want your audience focused on what you’re saying rather than reading your slides.
If you do want to have bit more information, don’t just read from it. Some people will want to go back later and reference your slides.
Be prepared for something to go wrong. Save your slides in multiple formats (for Windows and Mac), have it on a USB drive, save it to the cloud , save to dropbox, and have a PDF deck as well.
Be kind to yourself. No one expects you to be super polished so cut yourself a little slack if you make mistakes.
Know your audience. As you’re speaking, look at the audience and see if they’re engaged. Maybe you’re starting with something to basic or too advanced.
Consider inviting questions at the beginning. Let them know the presentation is for them and you’d like to meet their needs. If someone asks a question on a point you’ll be getting to later, you can tell them you’re getting to that and just hang tight a few minutes.
Saturday sessions usually have more people attending at a beginners level. The Sunday attendees are fewer and tend to be more technically minded.
Make sure your presentation title isn’t cutesy and fun and doesn’t tell them what your presentation is actually about. Articulate what you’ll be speaking on.
Keep in mind that people will be attending 8 or so sessions at a WordCamp. They will not retain everything they heard. Given that, stress that one thing you want them to take away and build a talk around that one thing rather than covering a lot of material.
Mic control is important. Speak into the mic and be clear. If you don’t need a mic because the room is a smaller room, ditch it and talk loudly.
Don’t give the same talk over and over. Change it up! Make new points. You can use the same basic topic but change the delivery. Hit the talk from different angles.
Lastly, don’t be afraid to share your knowledge! Just put yourself out there and do it!
- Reveal.JS – http://lab.hakim.se/reveal-js/#/
- Biggie – http://www.macwright.org/biggie/
- Speaker Deck – https://speakerdeck.com/
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