This is the meeting where we will have LIGHTNING TALKS!
I encourage everyone to give a talk—especially anyone who has not given a talk at a user group meeting before. This is a great opportunity to practice speaking with a bite-size time slot. I (Jesse) have found that giving presentations is a good way to get name/face recognition, which has opened a lot of doors for me. And this will be a context where there will be other people speaking who have also not given a talk before.
Talks will be 5 minute presentations, with or without slides or other visual aids of your choosing. Choose any topic that interests you—so long as it is safe-for-work.
If you would like to give a talk, send an email to Jesse Hallett <[masked]> to be added to the list. If you are going to use slides please send a copy to the same address so that we can have everybody's presentations ready to go on one computer. Sign up first and send the slides later if you need time to make the slides. Slots will be first-come, first-served. We have time for 12–14 presentations.
I wanted to include some tips for anyone who has not given a lightning talk before:
• Practice! Do your talk out loud a few times in front a friend, mirror, an empty room, or whatever. Time yourself while practicing. You will feel silly doing this. But it is the only way to make sure that you are prepared to get the most use out of your five minutes. That is a very short time slot. Practicing will help you to focus on important points, and will help you to avoid points that you might otherwise stumble over.
• Speak slowly, and take pauses while you are speaking. When I am in front of a room full of people, I have a tendency to worry that I am wasting a lot of people's time, which makes me want to rush and to talk too fast. I think that this is a common reaction. You can give a better talk by resisting the temptation to hurry. Pausing between points, or when you need a moment to collect your thoughts, will give your audience opportunity to digest your points. Remember that a pause that feels long and awkward to you probably does not feel that way to your audience.
• If you use slides, my suggestion is to use at most 10 slides. That is one slide for every 30 seconds of speaking time. Your slide count is one way to estimate whether you are trying to fit in too much material for the given time.
• It is preferable to cover one point well than to go over five points hastily. Think about what the core point of your talk is, and how much you can take out while still conveying that point.
• Have some water handy—public speaking tends to lead to cottonmouth.
If you're interested in making a presentation at this or at a future meet-up, please e-mail Luc Perkins <[masked]> and Jesse Hallett <[masked]>.