Let's make our own Giants!

Last Wednesday I gave my first ever presentation/workshop at a conference, POSSCON, about using OSS libraries to accelerate our developments and how to distribute your own. I covered the basics of Android's fantastic new build system Gradle, talking about its flexibility and extensibility as a build language. I went over everything from the basic configuration when you create a new project to creating different build types, product flavors, and using open source plugins to enhance your build pipeline. However, I primarily focused on it's robust dependency management system and it's ability to pull dependencies from virtually everywhere and how to upload a library to Sonatype's central repository.

Anyhow, I'm not here to ramble and regurgitate my presentation, which can be found on Speaker Deck if you want to check it out. I'm here to talk about my first time experience talking at a conference and the lessons I took away from it.

1) Be Prepared

I cannot stress this point enough! If you don't have much experience in public speaking for presentations/workshops like this you can make up for it in being well prepared. I regret having done my slides and preparation very last minute for this and I feel like it showed. Not to say that I completely failed but that my presentation could have been better.

2) Mind your audience

This point kind of relates to any form of public speaking and presentations, but is especially true here. It is important to know who you are talking to and the level of technical detail you should be talking to them about. You don't want to go way over their head and end up confusing them and therefor lose your audience kinda making the entire talk moot. You don't want to make it too simple to the point of where your audience is bored and ends up leaving in the middle of your presentation. You need to find a balance to keep them interested while still getting the content of your talk across to them.

3) Design a flow (see #1, #2)

This is something I neglected to do or think of that could have really made my presentation run a lot smoother. The idea here is simple, just tell a story! Organize your presentation in a manner that builds upon itself and keeps things interesting while maintaining your audience's attention.

4) Practice. Practice. Practice

Lastly but not least, practice. Practice. PRACTICE!! As cliche as this point is it is absolutely true. With this presentation I simply didn't practice enough, see #1, and suffered for it. It's as simple as that.