Speaking Resources for Newbies

My almost-10-year streak is over. My no-public speaking streak that is. The last time I gave an official presentation was sometime in 2008 when I was a teacher assistant for the second time.

Inspired by many great speakers at KCDC, I decided to speak at my local .Net user group Trinug. I had the material and the demo app I wanted to use. But I lacked the title and abstract. Needless to say I began to freak out.

Btw, this was my first presentation at any user group!

I’ll save you time and anxiety with some speaking resources I found useful on my speaking adventure.

The Art of Public Speaking and Effective Presentations

The Art of Public Speaking and Effective Presentations by John Papa.

Let’s be real, any speaking gig will need a Title and Abstract. This course helps you exactly how to do both.

I knew what I wanted to talk about. But I was missing those two key pieces. In the past, they would’ve froze me in place or probably forced me to not talk.

Thanks to John’s guidance I came up with a great title and outstanding abstract. I wrote at least 5 titles and 3 different abstracts.

This was the end result:

Title: Get a Jump-Start on ReactJS

Abstract: Are you a back-end developer with some basic HTML knowledge, interested in translating your skills to ReactJS? If you nodded your head, this session is for you, a developer who wants to learn some ReactJS concepts and jump into front-end development.

If you’re an experienced front-end developer who doesn’t know ReactJS, this is your chance!

We’ll have a few but fun slides. And learn thru a practical example with lots of live coding. What can go wrong? 🙂

Here’s the full abstract and my bio.

I’m pretty damn pleased with the way it turned out.

The whole process took me around 2-3hrs. That’s nothing compared to the time it’d have taken me to figure it out all on my own.

The Art of Speaking: Scott Hanselman

The Art of Speaking: Scott Hanselman

Another Pluralsight resource and totally worth its weight on gold. My reason for saying that is because this video is a super practical and almost step-by-step process.

In short, (NOT a tl;dw), Rob Conery challenges Scott to put together a talk about a topic that Scott has no idea about. Scott walks thru his whole process including (but not limited to)

  • Research
  • Slides
  • Code Examples
  • Delivery

The end result is Scott delivering a 15-min talk on the topic.

Rob throws Scott curve balls along the way. It mimics what goes on presentations on the real world.

I truly enjoyed this course. I used its techniques to put together my slides and set my delivery format.

Public Speaking from Microsoft

Public speaking with S. Hanselman, K. Havens, M. Naggaga Nakanwagi, K. Uhlenhuth, and D. Brown at YouTube.

This a fun watch with Scott Hanselman and other speakers at Microsoft.

Unfortunately, it’s not as practical as the previous resources. But it’s definitely worth the watch. The people in the panel share their tips and techniques for anyone to follow. A lot of wisdom in this one.

Practice

This is more of a tip than a resource.

Practice, practice, practice.
– George Leonard

Even if you watch all these videos and follow their advice, nothing beats practice.

Practice your slides, your demos, and your delivery. Practice them all at once. Then, practice some more.

I practiced my demos at least 6 times each. I decided to cut off 1 demo because it was too much. Thanks to practice I decided to focus on one single demo rather than have two crappy ones.

Pay off

The resources listed above paid off. But what really paid off was practicing my demos.

My presentation was a live coding session. We created a small React app from almost nothing. We ran out of time at 8pm. And 90% of the people stayed until we completed the application 15 minutes later!

The event organizer (a seasoned speaker) told me he could tell I practiced my demo many times. That was some awesome feedback.

Guess what? I’m already invited (and signed) to a 10-min talk next month.

This can be you too!

I hope you find these resources helpful.

And I’m putting this out there for you: please feel to reach out to me at @JoseGonz321. I’ll personally help you with your presentation.

What other great resources do you use?