I'm giving 2 Rust talks at the OpenWest conference!

Two of my Rust talk proposals were accepted for OpenWest in Utah (July 12-15, 2017)!

  • Intro to Rust
  • Rusty Sword: Game of Infamy! Live-code a game in Rust from scratch in 45 minutes.

I am am excited and nervous! This will be my first time giving a talk at a public software conference. I have conducted training in private settings, corporate group settings, and through online instruction, but never a public conference!

Would anyone be interested in helping me make sure I don't embarrass myself or the Rust community too much?

I could use some up-front advice if you have any. I was also thinking I could record some practice runs, and maybe get some technical content and overall presentation feedback from people. I'd rather get the "that's not idiomatic Rust" and "don't just read a powerpoint" and "what an ugly shirt" and "smile more!" feedback in the preparation stage, rather than after the live event. :sweat:


From my own experience at public talks, a couple of things that matter, some of which you may already know from experience at smaller talks.

  • Don't panic and breathe correctly. It's harder than it looks, but it's important, especially if your talks are close to each other. You don't want your voice to be completely dead after the first talk.
  • Keep it simple. Stick to one subject per slide. You can always put less stuff on your slides, and use the opportunity to switch to a bigger front and/or increase inter-paragraph spacing.
  • If you're graphically minded and it fits the subject matter, use as many pictures and schematics as possible. Otherwise, don't try to shoehorn it where it doesn't fit. Beware that most projectors have terrible color contrast, especially in the yellow/green region.
  • Avoid distracting/annoying your spectators with complex backgrounds, sophisticated transitions, lots of different colors (2-3 is more than enough), and large lumps of text (1-2 horizontal lines per bullet point is already a lot for something which people must read while listening)
  • On the same matter, you don't need sophisticated formatting. Just occasionally putting important bits in bold, and hierarchizing your bullet points + formatting the inner ones as smaller text (which any decent presentation software does automatically), will look very simple/clean but get you a long way.
  • For slides which are mostly built out of text, a good timing rule of thumb which will save you practice time is to plan for about 1 min/slide. For graphical slides, it heavily depends on the picture and how you want to narrate, so you're on your own.
  • Don't expect too much from powerpoint's presentation notes feature. In the middle of the action, your slides will probably be the only thing around to remind you about what you planned to say.

That's great advice. Thank you!