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Speaker Information

If you are interested in being a speaker, please contact [email protected].

We typically get 40 - 60 people. Please arrive by 6:00 pm at TeraTech, 405 E Gude Drive Suite 207, Rockville, MD (301) 424-3903.

If you need to contact us on the day of event, please call Michael Smith at (301) 996-8372.

We have a projector and laptop, but you are welcome to bring your own laptop. Speakers usually use PowerPoint, but Word is fine, too. Just make sure that the print is large, so the folks at the back of the room can read it! Please email your presentation to us at least a week before the event, so we can post it on the MDCFUG website and print copies for people to take home.

I suggest you put your company name, phone, email and website on the first slide, plus the MDCFUG name and URL http://www.cfug-md.org/. We prefer speakers not to do actual sales talks at the meeting, but rather to stick to the technical information at hand. We also have a networking part of the meeting, and we serve food.

Ideally, presentations should be almost entirely code, with little or no PowerPoint at all. Rather than using PowerPoint to convince people that the subject is important, it's usually better to show an entire application, its code, its structure, how it functions in the browser, etc.

Define the N critical bullet points you want them to remember long after the presentation is over, then work backward from these to the starting point. Then and only then, determine the absolute minimum possible verbal and visual content necessary to set everyone up to begin learning the subject matter. This might be the only PowerPoint you have for the whole presentation. In any case, the introduction should last less than two minutes (which is longer than you might think from the audience's point of view, and a lot shorter from the speaker's point of view).

Once the intro is done, show the end result (the "payoff") of what they are going to discuss -- typically a finished, working application in its final form, running in the browser. This gives them an incentive to stay attentive. Take less than two minutes for this so they only get a "tease," and enhance the tease by telling the audience that their questions will all be answered during the presentation.

Go right to the code. Discuss the code in the order of the questions you asked, in the form of answering those questions. This shows them real solutions they actually care about, which helps to maintain their interest.

Immediately after the code pertaining to a single question you are answering, demonstrate that code in an actual application running in the browser, and take a little more time to explain and show.

While the browser is on the screen, prompt for audience questions. If no one volunteers, ask a really easy question to someone who appeared to be paying attention, so that it is easily and quickly answered and no one feels embarrassed, and others start to pay more attention as they might get called upon. Keep forced questions easy so the audience doesn't tighten up on you. For instance, point to someone and ask, "What would this have solved for you in your most recent 'Project From Hell?'"

Other tips:
  1. Try your demo out on the actual laptop your will be using.
  2. Check the highest practical resolution of the VGA monitor. If it only goes as high as 800 x 600, then make sure to set your video the same, because the type will be impossible to read for the audience when it tries to scale.
  3. Ask the people in the back of the audience if they can see read the type CF Studio, and change it for them if necessary. Keep the type as small as they can comfortably see so more code fits on the screen, and hence less audience-annoying scrolling up and down.
  4. Use a tripod-mounted easel with a large 3M Post-It easel pad and multi-colored markers, placed on the opposite side of the projection screen from the podium. Drawing diagrams live also seems to keep interest better, as the speaker is physically moving across the stage and building diagrams as he describes them. These things are great, because you tear each page off after you finish drawing it, then just stick it up on the wall so they can always see everything that's been done during the presentation, and nothing gets hidden when you flip the charts over. Think "Tear Charts," not "Flip Charts."
  5. Use a speech timer or clock to end on time. Even the best speech is spoiled by running too long.

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