Tips for Speaking

Whether this is your first time presenting or if you’re a seasoned pro, we want to make sure that you have a rewarding speaking experience at GHC 2016. Each year we ask an external evaluator to examine our conference and offer feedback — here are some tips and suggestions for you based on those evaluations.

Know Your Attendees

Picture this:  you’re speaking to a huge crowd — anywhere from 300 to1000+ attendees have traveled from all over the world to learn and take something concrete out of your session. They’re technical women from industry, academia and students, and they’ve been planning for weeks to attend your session and are excited about using the takeaways when they get back. These women, your audience, should be top of mind mind when planning your session.

General Tips for all Speakers

  • Practice, practice, practice! The time and effort you put into preparing your GHC presentation is a significant indicator of success, especially with panels.
  • Don’t just rehearse in font of your bathroom mirror. Use women in tech groups within your organization, meetups, colleagues, friends and family to practice and time your session in front of a live audience.
  • Spend 5 minutes max introductions, as this takes time away from your presentation and from talking to your attendees.
  • End your session by summarizing the key takeaways for the attendees.
  • Use our template for your slides.

Tips based on Session Type

  • Birds-of-a-feather: Meet with your fellow facilitators at least twice and make sure everyone understands their role. Do this early so you can practice and have a successful session.
  • Presentations/Lightning Talks:Focus on your target research problem, proposed approach, results and evaluation plan.
  • Panels: Meet with your panelists and practice! We recommend creating an agenda and determining who will speak about the different parts of your presentation given the expertise of the people participating. Moderators should tailor questions to each panelist rather than asking everyone the same questions. Moderators should also craft questions to draw out differing viewpoints and encourage friendly debates.
  • Workshops: Work with your fellow facilitator(s) beforehand in order to create an organized, cohesive plan. Also, plan for a larger audience – if bringing handouts, be sure to print out enough!
  • Poster Session: We’re unable to print your poster, so make sure to bring it with you to GHC. We encourage you to set up your poster before the General Session for people to view and so you’re less rushed before presenting. See our rules for speaking for more information about poster logistics.
  • Student Opportunity Lab: This is an opportunity for you to connect with students on a personal level. Prepare your presentation based on this format —you may end up having a conversation with a few students per session.