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comment by veen
veen  ·  54 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Pubski: September 1, 2021

Remind me to never commit to speaking at a conference 3 months in advance ever again. In two weeks, I'm speaking at a single-track conference for public transport professionals. My talk is scheduled right after four senior executives and one well-respected academic have had their turn, and boy am I struggling with the fear of saying dumb shit in front of a very large group of people I respect. Whenever my mind wanders, it wanders to the talk. This Monday I finally locked in the topic, next week I need to submit my slides, so any advice beyond "stay true to yourself" is welcome.

Besides the low-key anxiety, I do feel happy about finally getting back to connecting with people in my field again and having something to say to them. It's one of the things I didn't expect to miss the past year.

b_b  ·  54 days ago  ·  link  ·  

The best advice I ever received for giving talks is don't assume your audience knows a lot about your topic. Any academic field has minutiae that you come to forget is minutiae when you live it every day. Even someone in a closely related field may be totally oblivious to concepts that you see as mundane. So while I'm not suggesting you dumb anything down, I am suggesting that background and an emphasis on what you're talking about means are to be encouraged.

My former boss, who gives dozens of invited lectures per year (at least before covid), used to always crib the marketing strategy of tell them what you're gonna tell them, tell them, and then tell them what you told them. Everyone in attendance, from the undergrads to the emeriti, will gladly trade a few minutes of review of things they already know for actually understanding what the fuck you're talking about.

kleinbl00  ·  54 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Can confirm. I know stuff about casting. I have actually shown people all the stuff that goes into making a thing out of metal and the reaction is a blend of "wait wait wait what now?" and "holy fuck this is involved."

That's just hobby-level bullshit I taught myself.

Seven pieces to go.

goobster  ·  54 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Sounds like the people speaking before you will be "big picture" kind of talks. Future. Plans. Blue sky stuff.

People will be tired of that. Get practical with your talk. Bring people back to earth, and think how to connect their big-picture ideas with your feet-on-the-ground viewpoint.

It might be a real service to your audience, helping them draw the lines from Today to The Future.

kleinbl00  ·  54 days ago  ·  link  ·  

The longer you practice a trade the less interest you have in Teh New Hotness. The longer you practice a trade the more likely you are to learn new things from people you interact with than you are from journals, news items, etc.

I'ma guess you're ten years younger than anybody else at that conference. The easy move is to discuss how some new-school method or technology addresses an old-school problem, particularly as 95% of the technology exposure any seasoned professional is exposed to comes through marketing channels.