One of the challenges of public speaking is timing your talk. And paying attention to that timing without distracting your audience.
Do not mention the time to the audience.
Do not say you only have 5 minutes.
Do not say you won’t take up too much of their time.
Do not point out you finished with one minute left.
Do not mention you are running a couple of minutes over.
Do not ask for a time check.
If you focus your audience’s attention on time, they will think about time, instead of the topic you’d like them to be thinking about.
The one exception is if someone is waving a huge placard saying you have 5 minutes left, distracting both you and the audience. In that case, nod to acknowledge them and go on with your talk.
You should focus on leaving your audience with one key message. And that message should not be how you are delivering your presentation unless your talk is about presenting!
I took Edward Tufte’s Presenting Data and Information class. Normally I would have tweeted these quotes (especially since Edward Tufte is active on Twitter!) but the room was dark and my phone’s screen would have looked like a spotlight. (This is not my summary of the day. Just some of the tweets I would have sent.)
- There are only two industries that call their customers users: illicit drugs and software.
- No visualization for little data. Use sentences.
- Taking notes shows respect.
- Marketing = amateur social science.
- It’s just as easy to get fooled by big data as little data.
- Just block people. If someone pees in your living room, you don’t want to stick around.
- By age 35, all future music will become an utter mystery.
- If you have an inherent interest in operating systems, it’s unnatural. (Operating systems was my favorite university computer science class! And my first job.)
- All complex ideas can be expressed in normal language. This is what reporters do.
- Distrust anyone who replies with character assassination.
And there was also lots of good content. More later.
There’s a Free and Open Source Software Track at Grace Hopper this year! Submit your proposal now and come join us.
Grace Hopper is the largest gathering of women technologists and it’s a super energizing conference. They are expecting 11,000 people this year – which I find kind of scary. But my experience at Grace Hopper has always been very welcoming – a place to see old friends and a great place to meet new people. I always see quite a few women from the industry that I know and I always meet a couple of more – usually a couple each time that I still remain in contact over the years. It’s how I met the HFOSS folks and where I met Corey Latislaw who is now a Kids on Computers volunteer. I also always see at least one speaker who makes a huge impact on me. One year a keynote speaker made me cry and laugh several times all in one talk. Another year, the President of Harvey Mudd College was on the imposter panel. She talked about how she felt like an imposter asking for a $25 million donation when the people all around her were much more successful and wealthy. GNOME owes part of its financial success that year to her. Because of her stories, I had no problem going and asking all of the advisory board member companies if they could double their contributions.
Heidi Ellis and I are co-chairing the Open Source track and we’re both excited to bring the new things happening in the open source world to a larger audience. We want to get more of the women at Grace Hopper involved in free and open source software. Or at least aware of the opportunity. Please consider submitting a proposal to the track. Formats include presentations, lightning talks, panels, workshops, and birds of a feather.
Men and women are welcome at Grace Hopper although I warn you (both men and women!), if you’ve never been, it feels very strange at first to be at a technical conference that is almost all women! There are also a lot of students at Grace Hopper and that too adds to the energy and the unique feel of Grace Hopper.