George V. Reilly

Bad Speakers at Meetups

Perhaps I’ve been spoilt, but most of the speakers at the technical meetups and con­fer­ences that I go to have something to say and say it well. I’ve also been to hundreds of Toast­mas­ters meetings and I’ve heard many speakers at all levels.

I went to a tech meetup tonight and I sat through two bad hour-long pre­sen­ta­tions. The first speaker should have eliminated the first 20 minutes of his talk, a self-indulgent ramble about various other projects that he had attempted, which shed no light on his main topic. He could easily have eliminated another 15 minutes from the rest of his talk and it would have been the better for it. Many people, including myself, were obviously bored and paid more attention to their phones than the speaker. The speaker had some mildly in­ter­est­ing points to share, but I can’t claim that I learned much.

The second talk likewise was too long. I left before the end, after nearly half the audience had gone. This speaker was more nervous than the first, and he was also unfocused and dis­or­ga­nized. His demos were clumsy and imparted little to the audience.

Tips for would-be technical speakers:

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