How to Give Talks to Developers w/ Ben Orenstein

garysieling profile image Gary Sieling ・1 min read

This is a great talk on how to give engaging tech talks. Ben Orenstein demonstrates how to engage your audience through a series of lightning talks.

Main Argument

It is more important to be entertaining than informative. You want people to enjoy and remember your talk.

He gives tons of tips-

  • Hit people with the thesis right away
  • Throw something weird at them
  • Good default language for talks (hold your hands out, rather than crossing your arms)
  • To reduce anxiety in advance, practice "power poses" in advance - acting confident makes you feel confident.
  • To work with anxiety during the delivery, scan for a "nodder" in the audience and make eye contact periodically - pretend you're giving the talk to this person
  • Good information with unenthusiastic delivery bores people - pick topics you care about
  • Avoid - "Sorry you can't see this from the back" - check the slides from the back of the room in advance
  • Don't apologize in advance to set expectations low
  • Don't be afraid of dead sound - if you ask for questions, people need a few seconds to think
  • Take a listening pose while waiting for questions
  • Speaking in a small, but packed room is high energy compared, but a big room that is half full will feel low energy

Discussion Questions

Have you found any tips that improved your talks?

Want to watch more talks? I built a search engine for talks -www.findlectures.com. I also send personalized recommendations by email.


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Hey Gary!

Excited about your search engine, I live for tech talks. Is there any way to filter by video duration by chance?

One tip that helped me a lot was "That you don't have to be an expert to give a talk, just deeply interested in the topic."


Thanks! On the left hand side of the search engine, there is a chart of the available lengths - if you click and drag you can select a range you're interested in. You can also do searches like "hour documentary on X", and it will sort by matching the desired interval.


Great tips! I love the one about testing to see if you can see your slides from the back of the room. "Can you guys see this from the back? OK, we gotta couple people...You can, can you... we're good? Can you see it OK?" is something you hear at darn near every talk. :)


Nice, i like this.

But is it really possible to change rooms sometimes?