August 10, 2017
I’ve been giving technical talks for a few years. I keep a list here.
Speaking about my craft onstage is nerve-wracking, and a major time investment if I’m doing it right. But it’s worth the effort, because it benefits me and others. It’s fueled my growth as a developer.
I’m speaking at Vim Chicago next month about integrating React.js with Vim, and I’d like to use that obligation as an excuse to write about my speaking preparation process.
In forthcoming posts I plan to cover the steps I take to prepare for a talk, which are:
Some smart people have written on these subjects, and anything I’d have to say leverages these ideas:
Several of these writers talk about submitting conference proposals (AKA CFPs, or Call-For-Papers). I don’t plan to cover that in depth. Why not? Because I don’t really know how it works. I submitted more than a few proposals before getting accepted to speak at RailsConf 2017. Once you can write a compelling proposal, there is a significant element of luck to the process. So, submit many proposals, and be like Thomas Jefferson, who one said: “I’m a great believer in luck, and I find the harder I work the more I have of it.”
I’ll link to these posts here as I write them. I can’t claim these steps as essential; they just help me. My target reader is somebody who wants to speak and has never done so before. I want you to walk away with encouragement and a step-by-step, jargon-free checklist to preparing a technical talk. If I can do it, so can you.