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Preparing Your First Talk

3sanket3 profile image Sanket Patel ・3 min read

With this post, I wanted to share my experience of preparing for the talk and things to consider while delivering it.

The target audience of the post is the developers planning to speak for the first time or have just started speaking in meetups or conferences.

The frequent speaker may possibly get very few things out of this post. But, we would like to learn from your experience on the same. Please do share and guide.

You don't have to be an expert 😎

Yes, you should be prepared well and try to justify the amount of time your audience is spending on you. But, you don't have to be an expert.

Sometimes you may not be working on a topic you are going to deliver in your regular project. In such case, try to be aware of the surroundings of your topic at least before a few weeks of delivery. Try to do as many examples as possible. Check out practical solutions and case studies.

It may be possible that you may not be able to answer some of the questions from the audience, but that's fine. You can throw back to the audience. Or, you can get the contact of the person asking, come home, research and reply.

There can be an open discussion topic instead of in-depth on a single topic πŸ‘

We just started a meetup group in Surat, India. During our first meetup, we were not sure which topic the local community would like out of the huge JavaScript eco-system. So, we kept it as an open discussion. Two of us covered various areas of JavaScript briefly and tried to put open to the audience to discuss them.

We found it really helpful, as the first-timers were able to focus on come out and speak instead of worrying about in-depth technical knowledge.

Pairing with someone πŸ‘­

It is helpful to gain confidence at the same time, the in-between breaks help you to settle and start afresh with the next topic.

Practice by giving demo talks to your friends πŸ‘¨β€πŸ«

This will immensely necessary to practice your talk and get it reviewed. If possible, you can try to give a demo to the friends having a different technology and level of experience. It will make your content perfect for the variety of audiences you are actually going to have.

Practice your code a lot πŸ‘¨β€πŸ’»

If you are going to do live coding(which you should), better you practice at least 3-4 times. That way you can train your subconscious mind for making fewer mistakes even during the nervousness.

Audience learns more if you make mistakes while live coding πŸ›

From the mistakes you do while live coding, the audience will learn the complex cases. So don't worry about the mistakes. In addition to that, you are doing pair programming with the whole audience. There are chances they may help you if you get stuck.

Just make sure you are clear with the concepts and have enough practice, so that mistakes may not completely block you and take huge time.

Alternatively, you can also screen record your coding in advance and keep with you, which may help as a rescue if anything goes worst.

Keep the Bio of your social accounts up to date πŸ’„

You will be one of the heroes of the meetup/conf. It's likely that people will try to find you on the internet. Better you show them the latest info.

You have a chance for marketing πŸ“’

If you are building a product, contributing to open source, starting a newsletter, designing course or doing anything exciting, people are there to hear about it.

Be kind and show gratitude πŸ™

Show gratitude to the organizing team for giving you an opportunity to be there as a speaker.

In addition, you can also thank the services you have used in your presentations for free. It may be a free PPT template, images, gifs or anything else. It will help those services to reach more audiences and ultimately make it better.

Hope you find this helpful. Also, add your suggestions in the comment for me and others to learn from your experience.

Cover image icon by Adrien Coquet from the Noun Project

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