YUIConf 2013 Speaker Info

Jenny Donnelly edited this page Oct 30, 2013 · 18 revisions

Thank you so much for speaking at YUIConf 2013! Important information about templates, tips, and practice sessions is provided below.

Presentation Templates

There are 3 templates that you may choose to use for your YUIConf 2013 presentation:

Screen Resolution

Screen resolution will be 1280 x 720.

Practice Sessions

Please plan to attend at least one practice session for your presentation. We have assigned meeting rooms and times in this document: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1PtVGYEOhFrFFstOQH0DPdCyvSgzwoQsVcjK6EN_FInE/edit#

Tips for Giving a Great Tech Talk

These are the tips we've amassed over the years on how to give a great tech talk.

Find a compelling story

Your mission is to tell a compelling story. This may be the hardest part of the process. Does your story directly relate to your audience? Does it address their pain points? How can these ideas help their projects? Be specific!

Figure out as early as possible what makes your story compelling, and build your talk around those points. Just as importantly, don't talk about things that confuse, distract, or otherwise take away from your story.

Start with an outline before you start with slides.

Be a good story teller.

Know your story inside and out. You should be able to tell your story without any slides! DO NOT READ YOUR SLIDES.

Start with something that wows, ideally something visually engaging. Skip the long boring intro — a good story starts with something catchy. When in doubt, start with your ending!

Use "mile marker" slides. Summarize your progress along the way.

Dark background, light text.

Make sure your slides are readable in a darkened room and on video:

  • White text on a black background is easiest to read.
  • Avoid low contrast text (i.e., gray text on black background).
  • Keep fonts bigger than 24pt, ideally 30pt or bigger.

Big fonts, few words.

Repeat: Keep fonts bigger than 24pt, ideally 30pt or bigger.

Use as few words as possible on each slide, like a newspaper headline. Too many words indicate a slide that needs to be reconsidered. Can it be broken up into multiple slides or, better yet, depicted as an image or diagram?

Simplified psuedo-code is often better than literal code.

The bottom of a slide is not visible to the back of the room. Don't use it.

Less is more.

2 sans-serif fonts, plus a fixed-width for code is plenty.

Limit your color palette.

Repeat: Simplified psuedo-code is often better than literal code.

Images convey ideas more powerfully than words.

Limit your animations.

Engage your audience.

Make eye contact. Keep your energy level positive and vibrant.

If it helps, introduce yourself to a few people before you start so you'll have friendly faces to talk to during your talk.

Avoid live coding. When you are coding, you are not engaging your audience. It creates a lot of "dead air time" and is usually boring to watch. If you must demonstrate code in action, make a screencast.

Use a remote. Get out from behind the podium. Interact with the screen.

Gauge interest level throughout your talk and adjust your volume, speed, energy level accordingly. If you see interest falling, ask for questions. Be prepared to back up a slide or two to explain something if people didn't understand.

Speak slowly, clearly, loudly.

Your audience is hearing your words for the first time, so make sure they can understand you. You really can't speak too slow. I like to assume I'm speaking to a room full of foreigners who speak English as a second language -- it keeps me from going too fast.

You're in a time warp on stage where silence becomes terrifying. It feels MUCH longer to you than your audience, so do not be afraid of a little silence. Count to five after explaining something, so big concepts have a moment to sink in. Count to five after asking "Any questions?" so the audience has time to respond.

Clip your microphone to the same side as your slides — that way, when you turn your head to look at your slides you're voice can still be heard on video.

Practice, practice, practice.

Giving a talk is a physical activity, requiring stamina, focus, and grace. Therefore you need to "train" for the event by giving your full talk, with slides and animations, out loud. Committing to out loud practices is extremely important, so you can perfect your pace and identify awkward phrases and awkward spots in your slides ahead of time.

Keep track of the time so you know how long your talk takes. Don't underestimate how long it takes to do a practice session and schedule for it accordingly.

It is critical you do a full rehearsal in front of a live audience at least once.

By developing the "muscle memory" of giving your talk, you will become more and more comfortable giving it.

Don't trust technology.

Don't count on any technology — Internet, audio, I even lost my whole laptop right before a talk when I spilled my coffee on it. I had uploaded my preso online so I was able to borrow a laptop, download the file, and give my talk.

Upload your deck online and copy to a thumb drive. Have a backup plan in case there is no Internet access. If you're running an app, have everything running locally.

Be relaxed, be confident, have fun!

Your attitude, body language, and energy level greatly impacts how receptive and engaged your audience is. If you're having fun, we're having fun too!

Additional Resources

YUI Assets

The yui-assets project on GitHub contains versions of the YUI logo which you can use.

Image Resources

Very Good Reads

More Reading

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