I’ve had to rely at times on silence and on talking quick / Defending myself with nothing but my walking stick. —Buck65
Here are nine easy tips that will help you communicate better at your next conference.
Dan Grigsby’s presentation at RubyFringe was an intentional example of this. All the titles were at the top, with humorous stock photos below.
Keep it in the top third, if possible.
Giles Bowkett is such an entertaining speaker that people once skipped the first 20 minutes of lunch to hear the remainder of his presentation at RubyFringe (which involved more than 400 slides).
He also used only the typefaces included with Mac OS X, including Futura Condensed Medium and Condensed ExtraBold, which work really well in bright colors on black. So even if you don’t choose to buy a single typeface, you can assemble a great-looking presentation.
It’s easy with either:
Copy as RTF – A TextMate plugin. You can paste the syntax-highlighted text and even edit it afterward in Keynote.
pygmentize -f rtf -o out.rtf code.rb
Choosing just the right transition can soak up a lot of time and adds absolutely nothing to the content that people remember afterward.
Dan Grigsby also noted that transitions and multi-step builds make it difficult to go back and forth in the presentation since you have to wait for the transition to finish. Unless…
Useful Keynote shortcuts (while the presentation is playing).
|/||Show a list of keyboard shortcuts.|
|H||Pause the presentation and go to the last used application (useful for demos). Command-tab back to Keynote to resume the presentation.|
|= or -||Show a thumbnail menu that can be used to jump forward or backward to a specific slide. Use the arrow keys to select and the enter key to jump.|
|B||Pause and show a black screen.|
I love live coding but often it goes awry, creating an awkward situation for both the presenter and the audience.
Give yourself some insurance and either record a short screencast that you can narrate during the presentation, or take screenshots that you can refer to.
If you’re speaking at a conference, you’re probably doing it to promote yourself, your projects, or your business. Make it stick in people’s minds by distinguishing yourself with a color scheme and a typeface that communicate the attitude you want to be remembered for.
Choose a color scheme and use it for all your presentations. Ideally, it would be the color scheme of your company or personal blog. If you’ve paid for a corporate identity, use it!
Again, buy a typeface and use it on your blog and in your presentations.
They’re not as expensive as you might think! You can get a single font for $20.
Here are some nice condensed ones as mentioned above:
Or try these shops:
I saved my favorite for the end…
A presentation remote gives you the freedom to step away from the lectern and talk directly to the audience. The remote that comes with Mac laptops doesn’t count! It only works if you have a direct line of sight to the infrared receiver on the front edge of the laptop.
A radio frequency transmitter works much better. The Kensington Presentation Remote can be bought for about $40. It works out of the box without the need to install any drivers, and it’s less distracting than phone-based options.
I’ll be in Berlin at RailsConf starting this Sunday. Find me and get a free PeepCode t-shirt!