This page is designed to assist anyone preparing to give a talk at a LUG. The recommendations on this page shouldn't be taken as a set of rigid rules for giving talks; each person has their own style, and will clearly benefit from some level of freedom in delivery. You might want to think of these as rough guidelines to have in mind. Some of it may appear to be blindingly obvious to you, but consider that most people don't often stand up and talk in front of a crowd and as such may need some gentle encouragement along the way.
- Choose your topic wisely. It's generally a good idea to talk about what you know. Don't pick something you don't know about.
- Know your audience. Your talk may be aimed at beginners so require a fair bit of background detail without indepth technicalities (e.g. Filesystem Hierarchy). Alternatively it may be a specialised subject (e.g. SANs) and so you can assume that people who are interested enough in the subject to listen to a talk are reasonably experienced with computers and Linux.
- Time your talk to around 15 minutes. With an interesting subject, or a group who are enthusiastic or eager to learn this will probably fill out to around 30 minutes with questions during and after the talk.
- Run through your talk two or three times to ensure you are familiar with your material and don't have to read every word off a sheet of paper. Time yourself giving the talk to ensure you've got the right amount of material.
- There's no obligation to prepare slides for a talk. Some of the best speakers speak without formal presentation slides. You might consider:
- Not using any presentation materials
- Using a whiteboard and pen
- Having a series of photos
The digital projector in SeminarRoom2 supports 1024x768 resolution natively, so make sure your slides look OK in this resolution and your laptop can be easily adjusted to use it.
- Make sure the people organising your talk are aware of all your requirements.
- If appropriate you might want to include a demo of the product/service/tool you are talking about. If this isn't possible or would be too time consuming you may want to consider some screenshots of the product to liven up your presentation.
- If you plan on doing a live demo, always have some screenshots or something ready as a backup. The Tomorrow's World syndrome can hit anyone!
- Take time to set up any presentation items and to be sure that they are ready. Run through any slides at least once to check they all work.
- If you are using someone else's laptop, ensure you are comfortable using it and that the presentation materials render properly.
- Ask for help using the projector or any other piece of equipment if you need it.
- Make sure your familiar with the room and are happy with where people are likely to sit.
- Practise talking in the room and ask someone to make sure you can be heard from the back. If there is a PA system, make sure you can use the microphone properly.
- Make sure that other conditions are suitable, e.g. no bright light shining in your eyes, comfortable temperature.
- Don't be nervous! It's easier said than done, but remember that the audience at a LUG meeting are a friendly bunch.
- It's up to you to "manage" the talk. You'll probably get introduced at the beginning and thanked at the end, but control the pace and direction of the talk as it goes. Don't be taken off at a tangent unless you want to be!
- Be friendly and cheerful. Look at your audience whilst speaking.
- Vary the pitch and level of your voice, it helps keep people interested.
- Don't read directly from your notes.
- A few jokes can help keep the tone of your talk light. Don't overdo it though.