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14. Talking About Talks

By Heroku

This episode begins with a roundtable introduction from five Herokai engineers who describe what motiviated them to speak at their first conference. If you're a first-time speaker, it's best to let conference organizers be aware of this, not only because they will support you, but also because they will try to give you a prime time slot in order to boost your message (and spirits). The group then delves into how to prepare and practice for your talk. In general, they agree that improvising is not a good idea, unless you're absolutely an expert in the subject matter. You should also be able to account for the lack of Internet access, which means that live coding is also not recommended. Every speaker is nervous, no matter how many talks they give, but everyone in the room wants you to succeed, and doesn't know if you've skipped a specific sentence or word. It's best to just roll with the flow. In terms of deciding the subject matter, some of the engineers pick two or three variations on a single topic, and try to submit each flavor to as many conferences as they can. Another strategy is to hone one really unique angle--or even choose a subject matter that is so "common" to a developer's day-to-day routine they don't think about it. Those sorts of talks get people to really engage in something they may have never realized before. The conversation concludes with ways to get better at public speaking, whether that's rewatching your recorded self and noticing your body language, or simply giving the same talk at another conference, and building on what works. Links from this episode Fog City Ruby, a San Francisco-based meetup about Ruby, co-organized by Stella Cotton caffeinate, a MacOS app which prevents your laptop from entering Sleep Mode

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