Have any presentation tips from DrupalCon?
The crew at DrupalCon have posted the Presenter Kit: http://cph2010.drupal.org/presenter-kit - did you open it and find something missing?
I know which room I'm presenting in for DrupalCon: Room 18 (VPS.net) Style: Conference; Capacity: 98. Projector: Sanyo (1024x768). So I'm in the smallest capacity room. They don't expect this one to be a big draw, which is OK. I just hope there's enough room to move around. And I know which slides to start and end with: Title slide and the Survey slide... BUT! Where's my "Pro-tips for making a great DrupalCon presentation?"
OK, truth is, I'm a little bit frightened, k? I know it's not going to go perfectly, but I think it will be good. In the best case scenario, we're going to make some awesome contributions and start thinking of ways we can communicate better. In the worst cast it's going to be a great learning experience for everyone, including me.
The largest group I've presented to before was 50 people, and that was virtually. I've done Ignite talks, I've presented at DrupalCamps, and plently of lecturing experience under my belt. But I still want to hear from those with previous experience.
The problems with DrupalCon presentations
I suppose, essentially, speaking at DrupalCon shouldn't be any different from speaking at other conferences. However, to prepare, I've trawled some posts about the previous DrupalCon, because it is a different audience. I wish I had some information on the best presentations from DrupalCon San Francisco. This was the first time we had "voting" on sessions. Which ones did people like? What were the common thread between those top rated presentations, what can we learn?
Or, conversely, what problems were there? What pitfalls snag up many presentors?
As far as I can see there was no reporting from the committee about it... but there were some interesting blog posts.
Mike Anello (ultimike) from Drupal Easy wrote "the quality of the sessions was not consistently high." in his post, A Proposed Method for Improving Session Quality at Future Drupalcons, and he quoted Keiran Lal's blog post on DrupalCon saying we, in the Drupal Community, need to "make this transition to more consistent high quality presentations".
I think the problems boil down to people not having experience giving presentations or public speaking and not having practiced. Everyone is wild busy and this is a volunteer effort. I often see people preparing slides right up until they present. It sucks, because then they miss being able to participate in BoFs and watch as an audience. These are otherwise really responsible, organized people with a great reputation in the community. But everyone is really busy.
So how do we make Drupal Con Presentations better?
Gregory Heller form CivicActions writes We've met the enemy and he is Powerpoint "We are developing a new vernacular of visual infotainment. I love it." He recommends downloading: Andy Goodman's free eBook Why Bad Presentation Happen To Good Causes.
Emma Jane Hogbin wrote on the DC DrupalCon website about Presenting: Make it short and Make it memorable. She gave a list of tips on that post, and these are the ones I'm taking away:
- Practise your delivery at least twenty five times according to some.
- Prepare everything you want the audience to know. Once you've prepared the whole story, cut your content in half. And then cut it in half again.
- The stage is not a classroom, a book, an article, or a television mini-series. It is merely an efficient platform for you to tell a story you've probably told many times before.
To me, "memorable" makes me think of "learning", which makes me think of apply teaching techniques. But, yeah it's not a classroom.
Anyway! Time to get practicing!