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 * [http://docutils.sourceforge.net/docs/user/slide-shows.html Docutils/S5] -- if you want to write your presentation slides in reStructuredText, Docutils now has S5/HTML support.

This page collects suggestions for speakers and presenters at PyCon. Thank you very much for taking the time and trouble to make a presentation. We really appreciate your efforts.

There will be a panel discussion, "Tips for Presenters", at 6PM the evening before the conference begins (Thursday, February 23) in the Bent Tree III room. We encourage you to attend this panel to pick up some tips and tricks for improving your presentations.

The final version of your proposal

  • PyCon does not have a published volume of proceedings, but the slides and other materials for talks are made available on-line. Therefore, be sure your presentation can be turned into a format suitable for online viewing. While PDF is permitted, HTML is better. Keep graphics reasonably sized for web access.

  • Finish preparing your slides and other materials before PyCon, and upload it to the conference submission system. This gives the audience more information in choosing which talks to attend, and people can refer to the slides if they miss something during your talk.

A Presentation is not a Paper (Slide Sample)

  • The slides are primarily to support your talk
  • Slides should not be too "busy"
    • Keep slides short, as "reminders what to say"
    • Each bullet point not more than fifteen words
    • Group related points
  • Only hit the most important points on the slides
    • Expand as you speak if there's audience interest

Presentation advice

  • For a 30-minute slot, you have 20 minutes to talk 5 minutes for questions, and 5 minutes for more questions accompanied by people switching rooms. 45-minute slots mean you have 35 minutes to talk, 5 minutes for questions, and 5 minutes for room-switching. Time your talk accordingly.
  • Rehearse your talk before giving it, and time how long it takes. Practice it several times - using a camera can be helpful.
  • View your slides on a projector and see if they're readable. Are the font sizes large enough? Is there enough contrast between the text and the background?
    • Don't try to squeeze more than 10 lines of code onto the slide; if the font gets too small, the code will just be a meaningless set of squiggles to people in the back of the auditorium.
  • Introduce yourself to your session chairperson no later than the break before your talk. Once the presentations start the chair will be focused on managing the session.
  • If in doubt, err on the side of not talking long enough. It's better to have the audience thinking "That talk left me wanting more. I need to go talk to the presenter/download the package/go to the BoF," than "That talk stretched 15 minutes of material into an hour. What a waste of time."
  • Don't waste time on introductory material, e.g. explaining Python's syntax, explaining XML for fifteen slides.

Speaking Techniques

  • If you are nervous, there's nothing wrong with admitting that
    • The information you present is your talk's primary value
    • PyCon audiences are very forgiving

  • Take time to yourself before you speak
    • Deep breathing is always good preparation
    • Your nervousness will be less apparent than you suppose
    • Be in the room a few minutes early if you can, and chat to people already in the room as you prepare
  • DON'T just read the slides
    • People came to hear what you have to say
  • Check that the audience is hearing you ("Can you hear me at the back?") and understanding you ("Does that make sense to everyone?"; "Are there any questions about that?")
  • Don't forget about the microphone, whether it's attached to your lapel or is on the podium in front of you. Some speakers will turn to point at the display and talk away from the microphone; be sure to point and then turn back.
  • Encourage the audience to fill all available seats, rather than standing/sitting in the aisles or by the door.
  • Look around at your audience and pay attention to their body language
    • If they are nodding up and down, they understand and/or agree
    • If they are watching you intently, they are paying attention and trying to learn
    • If they are yawning, perhaps it is time to move on/go faster
  • During the Q&A portion of the talk, always repeat any questions that were asked without a microphone - otherwise many people in the audience won't hear the question.

Other resources


PyCon2006/SpeakerNotes (last edited 2008-11-15 14:00:23 by localhost)

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