Reflecting on my own tech talk

Last week I gave my first public talk to a user group for mobile developer called Omaha Mobile Meet-up. This was the first time I’ve done a public talk and the first time I’ve been to the meetup in a year. A few days after the meet-up was over, I began to think what I could have done better. I thought I’d share my own reflections on myself.

I have 3 things I’d do differently next time.

  1. When it was all said and done, I thought I had too many slides.
  2. There wasn’t enough code in the code demo.
  3. I didn’t appear interested enough in the topic. I personally don’t like talking about topics that can be found on Google in less than 5 seconds.

How I’d do them differently next time

  1. Less slides Since the talk was an overview, the talk needed slides. I know I could have cut the slides to no more than 10 minutes. Since this was a technical discussion, I’d have technical slides illustrating how things work. For instance, the graphs and layout of UICollectionView and its cells were helpful I thought. But the slides about “tips” could have been said during the demo – since they were repeated there anyway.

A few days later I went to review the slides and I thought again, they were just too much.

  1. Great demo If the demo project were the focus, I think there would naturally be more questions. This gets people thinking, asking questions, answering questions, etc.
  2. Make it interesting for myself This talk was just that – the basics for UICollectionView. As I mentioned, I don’t like doing (or listening) to talks on the basics. Maybe its pretentious, but it is how I am. These kinds of talks feel like what is being said can be read in less time it takes for me to talk up there – saving everyone’s time. However, UICollectionView hadn’t been discussed ever and its an important topic for the group; which is why I chose it.

I think he correct answer was to find a new way to make it interesting to me. When its interesting to myself, it’ll be interesting to the group. One way i could have made it more interesting to myself, would been a great code demo/example.

Summary

Being good at public speaking comes with practice and knowing your audience. I had neither on my side. To anyone giving a technical talk in the future, consider my reflections. I think making sure its interesting to yourself first, will ensure for a great talk and engaged audience. In the future, I will definitely focus on the code more for a technical talk.

Thanks to all who sat through it. Glad it helped some.

Want more?

I didn’t post my slides because they weren’t very great. However, if you would like them feel free to email me or reach out to me on Twitter. I’d be happy to send them to you. If you are looking for more details on UICollectionView check out these links below:

  1. NSHipster – UICollectionView
  2. Collection View Programming Guide

Have a group, conference, meet up or otherwise you’d like me to try to talk to your group with? I’d love to have the chance to speak to them. Whether its technical, mobile business or somewhere in-between I enjoy talking about it with a group. Drop me an email: Contact me