Workshop: From Keyboard to Keynote

Public speaking can be terrifying – but it can also be a really effective way to share your ideas, inspire your teams, and develop your career as a technologist.

This is a one-day workshop about how to create, refine and deliver great technical talks at conferences and technology meetups. It’s around 50% presentation and classroom-style training, and 50% collaboration and hands-on sessions. By the end of the day all of the attendees will have created and prepared two short (3-minute) talks, received some suggestions and audience feedback.

There were, genuinely, so many little moments where my mind was blown during Dylan’s workshop. I wish I had written all of it down, to better be equipped to share all of it. - Riz Khan, DDD East Midlands workshop attendee, July 2019

Schedule and content:

Kick off

  • Intro and welcome. Who is everybody and what are they hoping to get out of the event?
  • What makes a great talk?

How to Design a Talk

  • Collecting ideas, brainstorming, structures
  • Classic talk structures – the narrative, the ’top ten’ list, the three-act play
  • Pacing and timing – how do you know how much content to prepare?

Breakout session: Design A Talk.

Prepare a three-minute talk on any subject you like - without using any slides. You’re going to stand up and talk for three minutes, and everybody’s going to watch – and yeah, if you’ve not done it before, it can be pretty scary. But it gets easier – I promise :)

Presentation 1

Everybody delivers their three-minute talks - depending on numbers we may split into groups for this part of the session.

After each presentation, we’ll ask the rest of the group to share two pieces of feedback - one thing they liked, and one suggestion for improving the talk.


Understanding your audience

  • How to pitch a talk.
  • Etiquette and codes of conduct
  • Using humour
  • Dealing with feedback (here we’ll use the compliment/suggestion card feedback from the morning sessions)
  • How to do a good Q&A

Slides and Visuals

  • Why use slides, anyway?
  • Tips and tricks
  • Working with technical content
  • Advanced Powerpoint
  • Copyright and fair use

Presenting Technical Content

  • Pros and cons of live coding demos
  • How to present diagrams and technical detail

Breakout: prepare a talk with slides

  • Could be the same as earlier; could be something else.
  • Use slides, diagrams, animation or whatever you want to.

Presentations 2

  • Split into groups again (6 people each)
  • Deliver your talk, watch five others; same feedback – one green, one blue
  • Follow-up discussion – how did it go? Review feedback.

Practical Tips and Disaster Recovery

  • How to prepare for the things you can’t prepare for
  • Preparation timelines and coping mechanisms
  • Speaker horror stories (and why they weren’t that bad after all!)

Discussion, Q&A and wrap up

Audience and Prerequisites

This workshop is aimed at anybody who wants to improve their public speaking and presentation skills. As part of the workshop, you’ll be preparing and delivering a short presentation using slides, so you’ll need to bring a laptop with Powerpoint, KeyNote or Google Slides running on it.

The ideal class size for this workshop is between six and 20 people – if you’d like to run it for a smaller or a larger group, please get in touch and let’s chat.