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What Should I Talk About?

What Should I Talk About?

Note: This talk was written up as a blog post on Missgeeky.com (https://missgeeky.com/2016/11/21/how-to-brainstorm-talk-ideas/)

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Everyone has something that’s worth sharing with others. Every person knows something that others don’t. It’s very easy to undervalue the things that we know, and that we assume are common knowledge. You might not be the “number one expert” in something, but honestly you don’t have to be to be the one talking about it. In some areas actually being a non-expert might give you a different and perhaps a more relatable perspective, allowing other non-experts to easier understand the topic.

But how do you discover what you should be talking about?

I thought I’d share some tips and tricks of how I approach coming up with my talk (and blog post) ideas and turn it into an exercise of sorts that anyone can start with.

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Melinda Seckington

November 10, 2016
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Transcript

  1. What should I talk about? Melinda Seckington @mseckington #conference-club

  2. Hello! I’m Melinda

  3. Conference talks

  4. Share what you do!

  5. nothing i do is worth sharing I get too nervous

    I’m not a good speaker I can’t present I’m not an expert
  6. Everyone has something worth sharing with others

  7. Brainstorming talk ideas!

  8. Talk type Location Topic

  9. Talk type Location Topic Where are you doing this talk?

    Is it at a specific conference or meetup? Is it internally at work? Who is your audience? What is their background? What do they know already?
  10. Talk type Location Topic What is the talk format? Is

    it a lightning talk or a longer talk? Are you live coding or demoing something? What is the format of the talk?
  11. Talk type Location Topic What is the talk about? What

    message do you want people to take away from it?
  12. Talk type Location Topic Where is this talk? Is it

    at a specific conference or meetup? Is it internally at work? Who is your audience? What is their background? What do they know already? What is the talk about? What message do you want people to take away from it? What is the talk format? Is it a lightning talk or a longer talk? Are you live coding or demoing something? What is the format of the talk?
  13. Talk type Location Topic

  14. Brainstorming talk ideas!

  15. There are no stupid ideas

  16. Keep track of your ideas

  17. Develop the “that-would-make-a-good-talk” voice in your mind

  18. Workshop: 1. Form small groups (2-4). 2. Using the Location,

    Talk type and Topic questions/ exercises as inspiration, take 10 minutes to write down all the ideas you can think of. 3. Discuss your ideas in your groups. Ask each other questions to fine-tune the ideas.
  19. Talk type Location Topic Where is this talk? Is it

    at a specific conference or meetup? Is it internally at work? Who is your audience? What is their background? What do they know already? What is the talk about? What message do you want people to take away from it? What is the talk format? Is it a lightning talk or a longer talk? Are you live coding or demoing something? What is the format of the talk?
  20. Topic Write down all the topics you’re interested in and

    you know about. It doesn’t matter how obscure - add it to the list! Think back to what you’ve done the past month. What problems did you come across that were challenging to deal with? What things did you work on that you’re proud of? What did you spend a lot of time on that maybe could have gone quicker if you knew something you do now? Can you remember any long emails, slack messages, git commits, pull requests, internal docs or long conversations recently, where you’ve explained something to someone? Would someone else benefit from learning that?
  21. Topic Think about recent conversations and discussions with friends or

    colleagues. What topic could you easily talk hours and hours with them about? What excites you? What infuriates you? What’s something that you wish you could know more about? Are there any questions you have that you wish you knew the answer to? Coming up with a talk will give you a push to dive into that topic. Think about your favourite books, music, movies, museums, restaurants, sports teams, famous (or nonfamous) people, cars, anecdotes, countries, food, animals, games.
  22. Topic Think back when you started your career - are

    there any topics that you think could have helped you if you had heard about it earlier? What processes/work/things do you do that make your life easier? If other people did it too, would it make their lives easier? Take a look at talks or speakers that inspire you. What do they have in common? What would your take on it be?
  23. Talk types Write down what types of talks you’re interested

    in. Examples: lightning talk, internal work presentation, small meetup, conference talk. Do you want to do demos? Or live coding? Or making the talk more interactive? Think about the type of talk that you would enjoy giving.
  24. Location Write down specific conferences or meetups that you’d like

    to talk at. Does the event have a theme? What type of audience attends? What’s their background? Look at the event’s past talks or their call for papers. Are there specific topics or areas that they are interested in? Look at the event’s past speakers - do you agree or disagree with their opinions? If you were at that event, what talk would you want to see? What talk would be on your must-watch-don’t-miss list?