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Taming the Technical Talk
Major Hayden
@majorhayden
Rackspace Tech Talk Tuesday -- January 5, 2016
Who am I?
I started at
Rackspace in 2006
I love Fedora Linux,
python, OpenStack,
and information
security
I root for underdogs
(including Houston
Texans, Houston
Astros, and SELinux)
I own over
60 domain names
(I have a problem)
I enjoy being the
whipping boy for new
technologies
I love watching that
Keith Morrison guy
on Dateline NBC
(orrrr, do I?)
Agenda
1. My amazingly horrific
breakthrough moment
2. What this presentation is really
about
3. Changing the world
My amazingly horrific breakthrough moment
Achievement unlocked!
This talk is NOT about
how to make good slides
(although I’ll cover that briefly later)
This talk is about
how to make an IMPACT
(cue the dramatic music here)
Making a point
“If you have an important
point to make, don't try to
be subtle or clever. Use a
pile driver. Hit the point
once. Then come back and
hit it again. Then hit it a
third time - a tremendous
whack.”
― Winston S. Churchill
Where do I start?
Getting over
the fear
This may work for some people,
but let’s choose something more
productive (and HR-friendly).
“Winston Churchill
overcame his early fear of
audiences by imagining that
each of them was sitting
there naked.”
-- Dorothy Samoff
Speech Can Change Your Life
Imagine that everyone in your audience
signed a contract to do ONE THING
you ask of them during your talk.
We’re nerds.
We like redundancy and high availability.
Pick three things.
These make up the backbone of your talk.
We speak to
change the world
It starts with an appeal
to something inside every person
in your audience.
(Sorry, we’re going
to get mushy here.)
Three concepts for appealing to an audience
Dancing with Loxodonta africana
An elephant is a great
metaphor for human emotion.
The biggest elephants are
11 feet tall and 12,000 pounds.
That’s a LOT of inertia.
Something that big will go where it wants
to go. Convincing a six ton animal to
change directions isn’t easy.
However, it can be done.
“The best and most
beautiful things in the
world cannot be seen or
even touched. They must
be felt with the heart.”
-- Helen Keller
Appeal to the audience’s emotions by
taking them on a journey with you
Your audience must connect with you
on an emotional level
if you want to change their minds.
If you get the elephant moving in a
different direction,
it will have LOTS of momentum.
Examples:
Use an anecdote of a previous failure
and how you overcame it
Use humor to gently highlight
the behavior you want to change
WARNING:
Your audience can tell when
you don’t care about your topic
Success!
The elephant is rumbling
in a new direction.
What do you do now?
Appealing
to the rider
Unlike the elephant, the rider
responds well to reason
Facts
Statistics
Examples
Comparisons
Demonstrations
The rider can make small adjustments to
the elephant’s path based on reason.
However, the rider will
get tired quickly if the elephant
is going in a very different direction.
Shaping the path
Now that the audience
understands your message and
wants to take action, what do
they do now?
Offer a challenge with a simple
implementation
Provide links to documentation
and/or your code repository
One-step installations are helpful
here
Making a special delivery
All of your preparation, effort,
and emotional investment
is worth nothing
if you can’t deliver it
Timeframe for preparing a talk
DEMANDS, APPEAL, AND OUTLINE MAKE SLIDES PRACTICE
My rule of thumb:
One hour of preparation per five minutes of talking time
(That’s six hours of preparation for a half hour talk)
50% 25% 25%
Let’s talk about slides
Slides exist to ENHANCE your talk,
not REPLACE or DISTRACT from it.
Bullets are okay
But they can get
out of hand quickly
Keep them brief
Make them useful
Appendices for long comments
Keep the slides moving.
Get a new slide on screen
every one to two minutes (or faster).
Record audio while
you practice
It’s less stressful than
recording video
You can focus on what you’re
saying, not how you look
when you’re saying it
Refine your slides, your
speech, or both as you listen
to the playback
Share your talk with friends or
coworkers for new perspectives
BREATHE
Seriously. You’ll thank me later.
Handling questions without rambling
1-2-3 method
Provide three short responses, calling out the number each time
Past, present, future
Compare the past, how it is today, and a desired state
(Good for difficult/pointy questions)
Feedback is a gift
“The success of your
presentation will be
judged not by the
knowledge you send but
by what the listener
receives.”
-– Lilly Walters
Thank you!
@majorhayden - https://major.io/ - major@mhtx.net
Photo credits
● Photo of the elephant by itself: "Serengeti Elefantenbulle" by Ikiwaner - Own work. Licensed under GFDL 1.2 via Commons
- https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Serengeti_Elefantenbulle.jpg
● Elephant rider: Flickr: Tim Bayman - https://www.flickr.com/photos/19762723@N00/132788464/
● Path along the mountainside: Flickr: Martin Pilát - https://www.flickr.com/photos/40451021@N07/10852460074/
● Threw it on the ground: http://gorekayke.deviantart.com/art/Threw-it-on-the-GROUND-260550800
● Delivery motorcycle: By Kamyar Adl (originally posted to Flickr as Tissue Delivery) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.
org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
● Cat and microphone: Flickr: ocean yamaha - https://www.flickr.com/photos/oceanyamaha/7091324605
● Presentation slide with car: PCWorld - http://www.pcworld.com/article/203396/worlds_worst_powerpoint_presentations.
html
● Winston Churchill photo: By United Nations Information Office, New York [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
● Major at Fedora Flock 2015: Kushal Das -- https://kushaldas.in/posts/day-2-of-flock-2015.html
● Old train photo: Ben Brooksbank [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia
Commons
● Suggestion box: By Hash Milhan (Flickr: suggestion box) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via
Wikimedia Commons

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Taming the Technical Talk

  • 1. Taming the Technical Talk Major Hayden @majorhayden Rackspace Tech Talk Tuesday -- January 5, 2016
  • 2. Who am I? I started at Rackspace in 2006 I love Fedora Linux, python, OpenStack, and information security I root for underdogs (including Houston Texans, Houston Astros, and SELinux) I own over 60 domain names (I have a problem) I enjoy being the whipping boy for new technologies I love watching that Keith Morrison guy on Dateline NBC (orrrr, do I?)
  • 3. Agenda 1. My amazingly horrific breakthrough moment 2. What this presentation is really about 3. Changing the world
  • 4. My amazingly horrific breakthrough moment
  • 6. This talk is NOT about how to make good slides (although I’ll cover that briefly later)
  • 7. This talk is about how to make an IMPACT (cue the dramatic music here)
  • 8. Making a point “If you have an important point to make, don't try to be subtle or clever. Use a pile driver. Hit the point once. Then come back and hit it again. Then hit it a third time - a tremendous whack.” ― Winston S. Churchill
  • 9. Where do I start?
  • 10. Getting over the fear This may work for some people, but let’s choose something more productive (and HR-friendly). “Winston Churchill overcame his early fear of audiences by imagining that each of them was sitting there naked.” -- Dorothy Samoff Speech Can Change Your Life
  • 11. Imagine that everyone in your audience signed a contract to do ONE THING you ask of them during your talk.
  • 12. We’re nerds. We like redundancy and high availability. Pick three things.
  • 13. These make up the backbone of your talk.
  • 14. We speak to change the world It starts with an appeal to something inside every person in your audience. (Sorry, we’re going to get mushy here.)
  • 15. Three concepts for appealing to an audience
  • 17. An elephant is a great metaphor for human emotion.
  • 18. The biggest elephants are 11 feet tall and 12,000 pounds. That’s a LOT of inertia.
  • 19. Something that big will go where it wants to go. Convincing a six ton animal to change directions isn’t easy. However, it can be done.
  • 20. “The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched. They must be felt with the heart.” -- Helen Keller
  • 21. Appeal to the audience’s emotions by taking them on a journey with you
  • 22. Your audience must connect with you on an emotional level if you want to change their minds.
  • 23. If you get the elephant moving in a different direction, it will have LOTS of momentum.
  • 24. Examples: Use an anecdote of a previous failure and how you overcame it Use humor to gently highlight the behavior you want to change
  • 25. WARNING: Your audience can tell when you don’t care about your topic
  • 26. Success! The elephant is rumbling in a new direction. What do you do now?
  • 27. Appealing to the rider Unlike the elephant, the rider responds well to reason Facts Statistics Examples Comparisons Demonstrations
  • 28. The rider can make small adjustments to the elephant’s path based on reason. However, the rider will get tired quickly if the elephant is going in a very different direction.
  • 29. Shaping the path Now that the audience understands your message and wants to take action, what do they do now? Offer a challenge with a simple implementation Provide links to documentation and/or your code repository One-step installations are helpful here
  • 30. Making a special delivery
  • 31. All of your preparation, effort, and emotional investment is worth nothing if you can’t deliver it
  • 32. Timeframe for preparing a talk DEMANDS, APPEAL, AND OUTLINE MAKE SLIDES PRACTICE My rule of thumb: One hour of preparation per five minutes of talking time (That’s six hours of preparation for a half hour talk) 50% 25% 25%
  • 34. Slides exist to ENHANCE your talk, not REPLACE or DISTRACT from it.
  • 35. Bullets are okay But they can get out of hand quickly Keep them brief Make them useful Appendices for long comments
  • 36. Keep the slides moving. Get a new slide on screen every one to two minutes (or faster).
  • 37. Record audio while you practice It’s less stressful than recording video You can focus on what you’re saying, not how you look when you’re saying it Refine your slides, your speech, or both as you listen to the playback
  • 38. Share your talk with friends or coworkers for new perspectives
  • 40. Handling questions without rambling 1-2-3 method Provide three short responses, calling out the number each time Past, present, future Compare the past, how it is today, and a desired state (Good for difficult/pointy questions)
  • 42. “The success of your presentation will be judged not by the knowledge you send but by what the listener receives.” -– Lilly Walters
  • 43. Thank you! @majorhayden - https://major.io/ - major@mhtx.net
  • 44. Photo credits ● Photo of the elephant by itself: "Serengeti Elefantenbulle" by Ikiwaner - Own work. Licensed under GFDL 1.2 via Commons - https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Serengeti_Elefantenbulle.jpg ● Elephant rider: Flickr: Tim Bayman - https://www.flickr.com/photos/19762723@N00/132788464/ ● Path along the mountainside: Flickr: Martin Pilát - https://www.flickr.com/photos/40451021@N07/10852460074/ ● Threw it on the ground: http://gorekayke.deviantart.com/art/Threw-it-on-the-GROUND-260550800 ● Delivery motorcycle: By Kamyar Adl (originally posted to Flickr as Tissue Delivery) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons. org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons ● Cat and microphone: Flickr: ocean yamaha - https://www.flickr.com/photos/oceanyamaha/7091324605 ● Presentation slide with car: PCWorld - http://www.pcworld.com/article/203396/worlds_worst_powerpoint_presentations. html ● Winston Churchill photo: By United Nations Information Office, New York [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons ● Major at Fedora Flock 2015: Kushal Das -- https://kushaldas.in/posts/day-2-of-flock-2015.html ● Old train photo: Ben Brooksbank [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons ● Suggestion box: By Hash Milhan (Flickr: suggestion box) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons