The master copy of this page is at http://us.pycon.org/TX2007/SpeakerNotes ; if you have things to add, please add them to that version of this page.
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 appreciate your efforts.
The final version of your talk
* 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.
Designing your slides
* 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
* For a 30-minute slot, you have 25 minutes to talk plus 5 minutes for questions. 45-minute slots mean you have 40 minutes to talk and 5 minutes for questions. 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?
* Rehearse using 1024x768. consider setting your laptop to 1024 well in advance (days?) of your talk and put in some time using it in that mode, just so that you are comfortable in that mode for the Q&A time that often leads to "just a sec, I have something on my laptop that will help with the answer."
* 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.
* Giving a talk is not a writing problem or a design problem. It is a performance problem. If you are a new speaker, you should probably spend more time practicing your presentation than you spend writing and designing the slides.
* Have your important research done before you start trying to prepare the talk. If you run out of preparation time, don't skimp on rehearsal; instead, cut scope from the talk, or make do with a simple but readable visual design.
* Verify ahead of time that your computer works with the AV system.
* One out of X laptops become unusable for a presentation. Cause can be system failure, in-compatible video, theft, lost, damaged, confiscated, etc. Eventually it will happen to someone. Have a backup (cd, usb stick...) of everything you need to do your talk so that if you are the unlucky person, you can quickly use one of the many that will be offered to you. and keep the backup separate from your laptop. small hassle, but worth it when you need it.
* consider having a hard copy of your notes. It is handy for proofing, and there is a chance it will be the only thing working when it is time to give your presentation.
* 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. It is important to get the question into the audio recording. The recording is costing us (therefore attendees) money, so we all have an obligation to make the best of it. Even if it was free, that little extra effort will be of value to whoever is listing later. And we all want to help as much as we can, right?
* Docutils/S5 -- if you want to write your presentation slides in reStructuredText, Docutils now has S5/HTML support.