Tuesday night a gave a follow up presentation at my local users group on code generation techniques in .NET. I gave a presentation in October last year on the same topic and ran out of time to finish my demos, so when there was an opening this month I got a chance to finish off the talk. The talk sucked on a number of different levels, but probably the biggest problem was that I went WAAAY over time again. I had 5 demos planned - I was figuring about 15 minutes on each one since that is how long they took to “walk through”. I was thinking “I’ll just be explaining this as I go and it will take about 15 minutes” This estimation was totally wrong. Maybe I just can’t talk and click mouse buttons at the same time, or perhaps I talk too much but I finished the second demo around the 1 hour mark. Each item was taking twice as long as I had planned. I ended up racing through the last 3 and taking nearly 2 hours. Yikes. My time would have been much better spent doing fewer demos, and spending more time practicing what I wanted to say with the demos
- Plan what you want to say about a particular piece of code.
- Practice the talking and the coding together.
- Time it and see how long it really takes.
- Are you going to really only say what you’ve planned? If you think there are more things you want to say (and might end up saying anyway when you’re giving the presentation) then factor those in too.
I know this might sound really obvious, but if I had done this instead of trying to cram in demos for everything that I wanted to show I think my presentation would have been a lot better. On the bright side I did get a couple of “cool” things that I have been working on into a much more polished state while preparing for the talk.