I vaguely remember a time where I only had to write a quick, 45 minute presentation for NorDevCon, and that was way off over there in the future. Sometime between then and last week I managed to fail to write anything more than the synopsis and introduction for my talk; and agreed to do another hour long talk for the UEA; and a day long course for teachers for NorDev and The Forum.
While I’m no stranger to public speaking, it’s been a few years since I’ve done it to any degree and I’m used to speaking for 30 minutes on very specific, and very technical subjects. Giving broader talks at a higher level requires planning. At least, for me it does. Disappearing on a 30 minute tangent, as I did for my UEA talk, is all very well and good if that tangent has a point (it did). You’re telling a story, one that needs to come to a conclusion within the allotted time.
I script my talks. It’s the only way I can guarantee I can stay on topic, and on time. Since I talk fast these scripts can be quite long and involved. The 60 minute talk for the UEA was over eight and a half thousand words long. These scripts are written on the train, usually on my iPad (iA Writer is a fantastic app for this), although I sometimes also use my laptop. The slides and Keynote presentation comes last.
Of course, all this writing eats into time I’d usually reserve for other writing, such as posting here, hence the recent radio silence. Being back to just having my NorDevCon talk to write I feel like the pressure is off somewhat… although I am dimly aware that I’ve got less than a month to put that together. In the mean time I’m also being a glutton for punishment having offered to provide more help for local schools as they prepare for the upcoming change in the ICT curriculum, and offering to do more talks for students at the UEA. Seems I forgot how much I actually enjoy public speaking.