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Speaker Resources

This is a collection of tools to help you as you embark on your new journey to give an amazing talk!


Talk Development Program

How do you make one? What are some things I should do on the first call with my speaker, or with my editor? This page will answer that and so much more!

Gathering Information

  • What’s the title of your talk, will you describe it for me?
  • Why are you interested in speaking at SUPCONF?
  • How do you feel about Public Speaking? What are you feelings on it?
  • How do you like to prepare, how would you prepare for this?
  • How long do you think it would take you to do the preparation for the actual speaking side?
  • What about the content side? (Delving into the topic, gathering knowledge, etc)
  • When do you want to start working on your talk?
  • What is your schedule like before the event?
  • What do you think will be your biggest challenge(s)

If you can't think of any, here are some things that you might find challenging:

  • Creating an outline
  • Distilling the bulk of the knowledge into reasonably-sized chunks
  • Focusing on the message
  • Translating the message into a narrative


You've got questions, we've got answers.

  • How long should my talk be?

Talks should be 15-20 minutes in length

  • Can I stand on the stage before everyone gets there?

You’ll have a chance to explore the stage, test the mic and see the space! You’ll need to show up a bit early, but you’ll be given the time to get a feel for it!

How Does This Process Work?

There are always several ways to get something done. The key thing is to establish structure around the process that works for both the speaker and the editor.

Here are some ideas:

  • Figure out when the talk should be ready by and work backwards to establish milestone dates
  • Establish the story of your talk - don’t jump from bullet to bullet. Find the narrative
  • Establish the key takeaways or action items.
  • Think about which parts of your talk are more applicable, or easier for the audience to take back to their companies.
  • Just get to a starting point re: content. Nothing needs to be set in stone!
  • Do an audio recording (vs writing it down first)
  • Say what you’re going to say, and iterate on that.
  • Writing it down is good, but that doesn’t translate to speaking 100% of the way.
  • Audio recordings are a big step closer to giving an actual talk, plus it’s great practice!
  • Give feedback to your speaker
  • Play the speaker’s audio recording, and set up your own recording. Pause their talk and give live “off the cuff” feedback. Send them this recording
  • This approach allows for rapid iteration.
  • Iterate
  • Practice! Get a feel for what’s working, what’s not working and start narrowing it down

Breakout Sessions

Cover what the breakout session is, but focus on the talk first. After the talk is “ready to go”, come up with a breakout session plan. You should not be spending most of your time on the breakout. What can you do in your breakout session that relates to your talk/topic? A slide giving an overview about what you’ll be doing/covering may be useful Ideas: An exercise or activity A lesson or thing to learn Maybe some extra points you want to cover


These points should be covered in brief during your initial call. For more in-depth information about slides, resources for slides, how to make a deck and more, check out the Slides section in this very wiki.

In the past, talk editors have not been responsible for slide decks for talks, but we’ve given pointers or resources on creating decks. At previous SUPCONFs, talk editors have created the after talk prompt slides.

Each talk will need a final “Key Takeaways” slide. It may be useful to have a “breakout session” slide. We’ll provide an opening “intro slide” for you!


We want to come up with a plan that works for both the speaker and the editor. Asking when the speaker is available/wants to start working on their talk can give a great jumping off point to work out a schedule. Milestones that could be on the schedule:

  • Draft of talking points
  • A “first draft” talk-through recording of those talking points
  • Several iterations (these may not need to be “scheduled”)
  • Presenting to co-workers, or an audience who has not been involved in the development of the talk.
  • First draft of slide deck
  • Final slides
  • Talk is ready to go
  • Start thinking about breakout session ideas


Ask if your speaker has any questions about

  • Talk Program
  • Breakout Sessions
  • Speaking at SUPCONF

Let the speaker know about the Speaker Organizer dinner on Sunday, 3/19. 7pm, Restaurant TBD.

Do a quick recap of what you’ll be emailing them about:

  • Send a follow up email with the items that were discussed and agreed to in the call
  • Send calendar invites according to the schedule discussed. These should be editable by the speaker, too, for flexibility.


Did you and your speaker talk about:

  • Does your speaker know what their talk is about?
  • How often you’ll be in contact, and how to get in contact with each other
  • What they should be doing
  • What you should be doing
  • Did you and your speaker get some dates on the calendar?
  • Is everything in a reference document?
  • Are there any outstanding questions?
  • What are you waiting for, let’s get to talkin’!

Lightning Talks

SUPCONF Spring 2017 Lighting talk meeting video.

How to practice with (in Google Slides) with 15 second auto-advancing slides:

  1. Go to File > Publish to the web
  2. Set the Auto-advance slides: option to 15 seconds, and then click Publish.
  3. Copy the link you’re given, and paste in a new tab/browser.
  4. In the published presentation view, click the play button (should be in bottom left) to begin the timer to auto-advance slides ever 15 secs. Every time you hit pause, the timer should reset.

Auto-advancing in Keynote

  1. First, select all of the slides at once.
  2. Go to the “Inspector” floating window and select the icon at the top left, second from the left (its a rounded rectangle icon).
  3. Change “Start Transition” from “on click” to “automatically” and then set the delay to 15 seconds.

Now when you "play" the presentation, slides will change automatically



  • An intro slide will be provided for speakers (speakers should not start their slides with an intro slide… as that would be redundant for the audience).
  • A concise key-takeaway slide should be included at the end
  • Speakers are welcome to include an about me/get in touch with me slide at the end for links to their twitters, email, etc. Don't forget your slack handle!
  • A breakout session slide should be included
  • No animated gifs, movies, or fancy transitions
  • Slides should be designed for 1920x1080 (16:9 aspect ratio)
  • Slides should be delivered as a set of numbered images in a zip file
  • Slides should be delivered by the deadline set in your Talk Development Program. (If you're not sure when this is, ask your Talk Editor or Scott!)

Slide Resources



Examples of Good Slide Design

Big text, pretty pictures, consistent feel
More complex, but good focus on simple concepts for each slide, not too "busy" with information even though there was a lot of detail
Nice use of background images; solid, consistent design; good fonts for the feel
Good font choice for the subject matter; "feels" right; very busy slides, but probably not overwhelming
Good use of pictures that aid in the presentation but that don't _give_ the entire content of the presentation (I have no idea what this talk is about since I haven't heard the person give it; that's a good thing for a presentation but not so great for posting slides to the web)
Other good examples

Examples of Bad Slide Design

Lots of words on each slide, lack of consistent look/feel to individual slides, logo on slide 8 is smashed (aspect ratio is off), very old school corporate
Talking about bad design, but I think it's badly designed (boring, ugly, too many words)
Don't do this because it makes my brain hurt

Breakout Sessions

What is a breakout session?


Talk Editor Resources

Writing an intro for your speaker

A good intro for your speaker will introduce them as a person. It's likely that the speaker will probably start their talk by telling you where they work, what their role is and it's also likely that their talk is probably work related. To help the audience get a better sense of the person up in front of them, try to include some personal facts about the speaker. Where they are from or where they currently live, any hobbies or interests they have, favorite foods or colors, that kind of thing.

Intros should be pretty short, maybe three sentences or so. Intros are due to the Speaker Wrangler on the same date that slides are due.

Follow up questions for after the talk

You'll also be responsible for writing a prompt or question to get people talking after your speaker is finished. Prompts should be easily tied into the topic, and remain general enough that people across different disciplines can answer.

Past Editors

These are people who have been talk editors in the past, and will probably be more than happy to help assist you whether you're a speaker or a new talk editor!

Slack Name Real Name™
fool Chris McCraw
giovanna.allegretti Giovanna Allegretti
snack Christina Jones
chaselivingston Chase Livingston
chelsea Chelsea Stroh
justinreist Justin Reist
md Matt Dale
scott Scott Tran