I've done a number of online presentations in the last couple of weeks and have gotten nice feedback from people. Presenting online is just like presenting in person, if you prepare your material, and you're passionate about the topic you're presenting, things should go well. Here are some notes on how I prepared for my two OpenWeek sessions this week.
- Pre-type what you have to say. I personally use TomBoy for my notes. Someone else recommended this to me before my first OpenWeek presentation. I can't remember who it was now...James? Jorge? Jono? Whoever it was, thanks! I think a big part of why my presentations go as smoothly as they do is because my content is pre-typed and my activities have been tested.
- Include URLs and additional resources as part of your talk. You can only cover so much material in an hour, providing those extra resources means you can sneak in a lot more stuff! For my talks this time around I had links to Wiki pages, online articles, slide shows/presentations and screen casts!
- Paste your talk into pastebin so that people can scroll ahead if they want to (Bazaar for docs and DocBook presentation). Ultimately the transcript is the true record of the experience, so it's fine that these pastebin content summaries aren't permanent.
- Contact relevant mailing lists a few days before to tell them you are giving a presentation. Tweet/dent right before you start to remind people that you're about to give a presentation.
- Respond to your audience. In my Bazaar talk I took out entire chunks of what I'd been planning because they weren't appropriate for the audience I had (they were "advanced" techniques which did little more than show off my experience with the topic). When things are pre-typed you can make those decisions on-the-fly.
- Ask for support. In the previous OpenWeek session I gave a general Bazaar talk. I had three or four people from #bzr to answer questions for me in the -chat room. It was great.
- Get a nice monitor and have multiple windows open so that you're not trying to flip between windows while you talk. Here you can see the two IRC windows (classroom and chat) on the left hand side, and the notes that I'm pasting from on the right hand side.
- Watch the clock. Be aware of the time and try to leave a few minutes at the end for questions. If you think you're going to go over time, start hacking content out of your talk.
- Encourage questions: talk in both the "classroom" and the "chat" window. Participate in the experience and encourage others to do so as well. The more you're able prepare ahead of time, the easier this will be. Thinking about what the questions might be and have answers pre-typed for those as well.
Thanks to everyone who participates in OpenWeek--both as a presenter and as a participant! You're helping to make the Ubuntu community stronger and more knowledgeable!