On Tuesday I gave a remote virtual presentation titled “WordPress Developer Tools” to the Room to Think coworking community in Richland, Washington. My slides are posted here.
The slides are built with the web-native Reveal.js, and the source is here on Github. I am so in love with Reveal.js. So long, Keynote! Thanks to Flynn O’Connor for turning me on to this at BeachPress.
This was my first experience giving a tech talk, my first WordPress talk, and my first remote talk (meaning it was delivered over a video conference with screen sharing). I gave the talk from my bedroom at the BeachPress house in Rockaway Beach, Oregon. I learned several good lessons, thanks in part to the great feedback I was given:
Giving talks virtually
- Not compromising on internet bandwidth is important. (Duh.) It wasn’t fair to the audience that I didn’t make absolutely sure ahead of time that my up and down times were good.
- At the beginning, establish good and bad ways to give feedback during the presentation. I wasn’t able to hear audience members far away from the microphone and also missed some messages in the Google Hangout’s group chat window because I wasn’t paying attention to it.
- I didn’t know at one point that our connection dropped for several moments because I was looking at my slides instead of the Hangout window. I’ve seen similar issues in presentations where I’ve been in the audience before, and I’m not sure how to fix this.
- I’m interested in giving virtual talks more often because they’re more nimble — I can give them from anywhere with (good) internet, etc. — and also better for Earth than flying all over to speak in person. I’m not saying conferences and events are bad, just that I’d like to explore and promote how virtual talks can work well to be really great experiences, to lower the tech industry’s carbon footprint a bit. On the whole, this experience seemed to support that it is possible to pull this off and do it well, if I pay more attention to the details listed above.
Giving talks on WordPress
- My slide deck skews a bit heavy in the beginning toward explaining why it’s even a good idea to think of WordPress as a serious platform. I think I may feel a bit defensive about this, which I’ll work to get over.
- Similarly, this should have been two separate talks. I plan to split them — one about WordPress as a framework, another about technical dev tools.
Giving tech talks
- I thought I was exempt from the Law that Live Coding Demos Don’t Work because why?