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Matts (1087)

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I work for MessageLabs [] in Toronto, ON, Canada. I write spam filters, MTA software, high performance network software, string matching algorithms, and other cool stuff mostly in Perl and C.

Journal of Matts (1087)

Tuesday July 27, 2004
08:35 AM

OSCon Day 1 (Presentation Aikido)

[ #20083 ]

I'm unable to sleep - guess my body clock is still a bit screwed - so I thought I'd update my journal again.

My eyes are still giving me a little bit of trouble. Wore sunglasses inside a bit more yesterday, and felt like a fool for it. It's odd to have blurry vision when I've had perfect vision my entire life :-(

Sat in on Damian's Presentation Aikido talk yesterday, and I came away with one overwhelming feeling from it:

    You are not Damian. You cannot ever be Damian. He is the Master. Don't sweat this stuff.

The thing is, Damian is a professional. He does public speaking day in and day out. He even covered that in the talk - that the only way you can become good at it is to practice over and over again. The truth is for most people coming to speak at this conference there's no way they can put in the time and effort that he does. And even if they do, it still won't be nearly as good as Damian.

That's not to say he didn't have some good sound advice. I think the best parts were where he overlapped with MJD's Conference Presentation Judo presentation - e.g. the advice to be yourself, and relax. And it was nice to see conflicts with MJD's advice (Damian says not to use pictures just to wake up the attendees as they distract from the flow), as this gave a different perspective on things and shows that there's no one-true way to give a great presentation (as both MJD and Damian are wonderful speakers).

So for once I'm not going to go away from this talk and greatly modify my slides for Thursday's Qpsmtpd talk. Instead I'm going to remember to relax, remember it's a good talk, and not sweat this stuff.

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  • I don't know if you caught the talk that Tom Phoenix and I gave a few years ago at OSCON on "Teaching 'Learning Perl'".

    Damian's talk yesterday talked about having only five items, and the subitems to support it. I say that in a different way: have a path.

    Every presentation or class is a journey from a starting place to an ending place. Identify the starting place clearly, because it should be where the core of your audience can find themselves as well. Identify the ending place clearly, and hope that

    • Randal L. Schwartz
    • Stonehenge