When looking to improve your presentations, it's a good idea to look beyond talks and conferences. You can often find inspiration and useful little tips in everyday life. For example, I've written about lessons I learned from concerts a few times. But you can also learn a lot simply from paying attention to how people do their work.
I attended a technical presentation recently. It was intended to give an overview of a certain technology. To my delight, the speaker used an approach that I usually suggest to people for this kind of talk: For the part of the presentation where he explained the background and the benefits of the technology in question, he was using full-screen photos. When he came to actually showing what it can do, he did short demos, showed code and, yes, even used some bullet points appropriately (to list features and data). So, a good example of a modern technical presentation?
At first glance, yes. But the selection of photos bothered me.
In my experience, the vast majority of conferences treat their speakers well; otherwise, they wouldn't have speakers.
Communicating with your speakers is important, though.
I can't be the only one this has happened to: I want to submit a talk for a Call for Papers for a conference. The conference is quite some time in the future, I think it's interesting and I want to attend, so I submit something that I think I can talk about. Some time passes, the talk gets accepted, some more time passes and it's about time to start working on that promised talk.
And that is when the trouble starts, because suddenly I realise that it doesn't quite work out as originally planned and submitted.
I know that I'm not entirely alone with this problem, since I do occasionally hear speakers at conferences admit that they had the same problem while preparing their talk. So if this happens to others, too, do we have a problem here?
Time is a funny thing. It can both feel short and long at the same, well, time.
The reason for this tiny bit of philosophy is the fact that Garr Reynolds' Presentation Zen Blog is turning 10 years this month. "Has it really been that long?", I ask myself. And then I notice that it was only 4 years ago that I first met Garr in person.