On Giving Talks

I do quite a lot of public speaking. I was never formally taught, nor have I actively done much to improve my technique. Rather, it has grown organically and I’ve become more confident (and hopefully better) over time. One thing I have done is read the Presentation Zen book to try and improve how I make slide decks. The conclusions drawn there are less is more, and bullet points bore. I try to adhere to this now but have not yet got to where I want to be. So there is always room for improvement. The start of this process is to watch myself talk, and for many people watching themselves is agonising. I’m going to throw it out there for everyone to see.

This talk was given on April 3 at Istanbul Bilgi University during Free Software & Linux Days [slides]. See more videos in the series.

If you have a spare 58 minutes or so, and are interested in the topic (Mozilla, Firefox, and the Open Web), give it a watch and send some feedback my way.

Can’t see the video? Click here

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5 thoughts on “On Giving Talks

  1. From another amateur Mozilla speaker:
    – add some more interactivity either through screencasts or live demos (as risky as they may be)
    – a presenter (those next/prev slide thingies) helps keep the rhythm and move you further to other sectors of the stage
    – a couple of presenting tips I try to bear in mind are: tell a story (which I think you do), and guide the audience with some overall introduction at the beginning on what you’re going to speak about, and partial summaries (no bullets, a tip I need to take) as you move along: “so we’ve seen how Firefox gives you a more…, a better.., now let’s talk about what other Mozilla projects there are, like this one: Drumbeat is a…”

    Thanks for posting your talk!

  2. @Percy – Thanks for the valuable tips, I’ll be using them.
    I’ve been trying to do more demos lately during talks, and if compelling enough they always go down well.

    @David – That’s one way of putting it.

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