How To Talk Really Good (and how to get the chance to)

A presentation at NottsJS in February 2020 in Nottingham, UK by Jessica White

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How To Talk Really Good (and how to get the chance to)

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Introducing yourself

When introducing yourself at the beginning of the talk, or to a stranger at a tech event, it’s useful using the Princess Bride rules.

  1. Polite Greeting
  2. Name
  3. Relevant Personal Link
  4. Manage Expectations

In the case of introducing yourself for a talk

  1. Hi!
  2. My name is ___
  3. I work for __ / something about you
  4. In this talk we will go through….

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Coming up with an idea

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Nothing is easy until you know it

● It’s easy to dismiss the things you’ve learnt as easy

“Once you know something, it’s easy” seems like a silly phrase, but it’s true. We dismiss the things we have learnt and that have become second nature.

We all have different experiences and have learnt different things. There will always be people that are yet to learn what you find second nature.

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Coming up with ideas

● What do you get excited about? ● What lessons did you learn? ● What can be learnt from your experience?

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But you could also learn something new...

● Some people find fear a great motivator.

It might be that you want to learn something for personal reasons or for work, but are struggling for motivation. Signing up to do a talk on a subject gives you a great deadline to work to.

This isn’t for everyone and isn’t recommended f you are highly anxious or aren’t seeking this kind of motivator.

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Writing a Biography

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Bio

A basic structure can be:

● Who are you? ● What’s your experience in this area? ● Something fun

Treat you bio like you would a CV. Tailor it to the talk you are giving, demonstrating your expertise.

The something fun makes it easier to lower barriers for poeple to come and approach you after.

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Example Bio

“Jessica is a developer, international speaker & avid learner. She is currently working for Experian and has spoken about numerous topics including community building, monitoring and continuous improvement of systems. Bio Outside of work, she is a co-founder and co-organiser of DDD East Midlands Conference. Previous to this she has founded or been involved in the organisation and coordination of other events. She also mentors and helps other speakers. She is easily bribed with coffee & loves hearing about other people’s experiences.”

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The talk title

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It’s tricky

● Short and simple

● Check the event’s previous titles

See if they are corporate, click-baity or don’t have a main theme and try to align.

● Align to Code of Conduct

Check the events code of conduct to make sure you are aligned to it.

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Writing the talk description

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Be Clear

● Purpose ● Grammar ● Plain English

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Why will people care?

● How is the talk useful? ● Who is it useful to?

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How is it different?

When there are a lot of talks around one topic, you will want to be clear what makes yours stand out. Do you have a particular perspective? Is it about a certain experience? Are you using an interesting analogy?

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What value do you add?

● Will your audience take anything from this talk? ● Can it be applied or is it entertainment?

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The Secret

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The Secret

● Don’t worry about writing the talk until it’s accepted

Writing a talk takes a lot of time and effort. You can submit titles and talk descriptions and wait for one to be selected before writing the talk

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The Form

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Here we went through the sessionize form. There is a blog on the DDD East Midlands Blog that goes through this.

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Writing the talk

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Clear points

● Write out what you want to cover ● Can you clearly talk about all the material in the time you have? IF you are less certain in some areas, these are candidates to cut out. ● Do you need more depth in any areas?

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Flow

● Organise your thoughts ● Storytelling techniques - there is a lot on Google around different story telling techniques and in our resources. You are telling a story and these techniques can help with talk flow. ● Do all your points make sense and fit?

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Accessibility

● Capitalisation & dyslexia ● Not too much text ● Colour Blindness ● Language ● Participation (consider your audience. If your talk requires tools or includes physical participation, it’s worth making this explicit)

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Rehearse

● Rehearse the full thing ● Rehearse the bits you falter on individually ● Cut back on your notes ● Timing and pacing tricks ● Do what’s right for you.

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Why bother?

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Make friends

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Challenge yourself & learn

Lessons are two fold. You will learn skills which are applicable to you day job and personal growth and learn the content of what you are talking about. Even the audiences questions can further your knowledge and learning.

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Travel The World

Some conferences pay travel and expenses. This makes it an affordable way to travel the world.

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Important Dates

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Important Dates

● CFP Opens: 7th Feb ● 2nd Ticket Release: 10th April ● CFP Closes:16th March ● Voting Opens: 13th April ● 1st Ticket Release: 20th March ● Voting Closes: 11th May

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See you there!