Getting ready for TCUK

Take half the slides and twice the nerves.

That’s the lesson I learned as I spent last week getting ready for the TCUK conference and my presentation “Getting ahead as a lone author”. (The lesson is a variation on the old travel advice “Take half the clothes and twice the money” which was useful before credit cards and ATMs…).

Finishing the presentation

… took much longer than I thought. Basically, it’s just as writing good documentation: Knowing what you want to say is a prerequisite. But saying it in the most effective way is what takes time.

But it was worth the trouble. When I was done, I had a nice presentation: A catchy introduction nicely segued into an elegant sequence of nine best practices, followed by a concise summary and conclusion. 30 minutes, plus 10 minutes for Q&A, didn’t seem so terrifying anymore.

If you’ve presented before you probably worry now. It took me some practice to find out what you already know:

30 minutes is much shorter

… than I thought. There’s no way to fit all this into 30 minutes. So I spent more time yet on taking stuff out again. I conflated 2 of the 9 points and dropped another 3, so I’m now down to 5 best practices. That clocks in at around 30 minutes.

Again, it was worth the trouble since I’m now sure I have the best, most focused content ready to present. Highlights include a painting by Carl Rakeman and the “Kick Ass Curve”.. 🙂

If you attend TCUK, consider attending my session on Wednesday at 10:00, right after the keynote address. If you don’t, stay tuned, there will be post-conference notes in this space!

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