Things To Consider Before Presenting At WordCamp

There’s a lot that goes into preparing a presentation for WordCamp. For many, just the idea of speaking in front of a group of strangers can be overwhelming. But fear not, a solid preparation will help you beat the jitters and give a stellar presentation.

Don’t Have a Cutesy Title

In the tech community there’s always some new meme on everyone’s mind. Often, presenters will try to be clever and title their talk with a catchy, cutesy title. This is a bad strategy and makes you look unprofessional. Don’t forget that even though the WordPress community is open and friendly, you are still giving a talk at a professional conference. A level-headed, professional attitude is what’s expected of you. It’s your responsibility to give a talk that will not be seen as a waste of time.

Your title should be enticing but also clearly define the purpose of your presentation and give your potential attendee some clue about what they’re going to learn. Take a look at that in list form:

  • Enticing
  • Descriptive
  • Value generating

It is possible to get all of that with a good title. Set some time aside to brainstorm about your presentation and find a title that best describes what you’re trying to accomplish.

Imagine the undesirable alternative: you have generated significant buzz for your talk based on a catchy title, but you deliver something different than what the attendees had in mind. People will be frustrated or actually walk out on your talk.

So take this home with you: don’t have a cutesy catchy title. Have an enticing title that accurately describes what you will be presenting. You would rather have a small, attentive audience than a large angry mob.

Begin With The End In Mind

It’s not only one of the habits of highly effective people, but highly effective WordCamp presentations as well. It’s important to let the people know early on what the result of your presentation is going to be. This lets them know what they’re going to learn. This is especially important if you are doing a code demonstration or building up to something impressive.

If you can give your viewers a taste of what is to come, you will command their attention and seem to pull off a magic trick when you deliver the goods at the end. A little showmanship goes a long way.

Beware of Glitches

Issues may always pop up unexpectedly. If you are doing a code demonstration it is more than likely you’ll leave out a semi-colon in your PHP or forget to dot one syntactical I or cross one T. There are a few great ways to mitigate this unfortunate turn of events:

  • Test your code first (can’t stress enough)
  • Place your code in expandable snippets, or
  • Use version control tags to sequentially reset your code to various stages, or
  • Record a video demonstration and just play it back

There’s nothing more annoying than debugging during a live presentation. Look professional, act professional and plan ahead.

Workshop Your Talk At The Local Meetup

Not sure if you covered all your bases? Your local WordPress meetup is a great opportunity to deliver your talk and get feedback. Some meetup organizers will be happy to have you give the talk again after receiving feedback. Remember, your presentation is wanted. WordCamp organizers all over the country are open to suggestions from everyone in the community. If you a solid idea for a talk, there’s nothing stopping you.

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