Notes on public speaking

  1. Much like a blog post, an article, or a book, you don’t need to show your entire life’s work to validate your ideas. It’s not really necessary to talk about that complex relationship that you have with your father and the name of your oh so cool cat that you’ve had since high school. Keep your biography at the beginning to a sentence or two and move things along as briskly as possible.

  2. Apologising for your talk, your slides, your accent, or even your appearance is the most efficient method of making your audience feel uncomfortable: If you suck at something, or if you feel like your presentation is off, fix it.

  3. Don’t spit your ideas at people and hope that they stick. Tighten up those rhetorical skills and add a word or two to your vocabulary.

  4. Know your slides blindfolded. In the unlikely event that the lights go off then you should still be able to continue your talk as a calm and collected professional that really knows their stuff.

  5. Treat each member of the audience as if they’re a really smart friend.

  6. That nice collection of quotes you’ve gathered over the years just doesn’t cut it anymore. And please oh please stop reading long reams of text from your slides.

  7. It’s fine talking about Google Analytics or a particular programming language today, but tomorrow they might not be around any more. What is it about measuring data on the web that’s so important? How is this language different from the others and what can we take from it to improve the general standards of the field? Blow the idea up or shrink it down and see where it takes you.

  8. You can be weird and clumsy on a stage and people will still like you, they might even begin to fall in love with your quirks over time. But they’ll never forgive you if you’re boring.