One of the hardest things about speaking at a conference (beyond getting over anxiety, a fear of public speaking, and imposter syndrome) is doing a write up about the conference and, more specifically, your talk. You want to provide a useful summary of your thesis, some details, and maybe a joke or two to convince people that they should watch your talk. Post-conference video views are important: you can beat your friends by having more views or judge your self-worth by how many people responded positively to your presentation–or both!

I was talking with Spencer Krum (credit where credit is due) about these problems. Presented below is a slightly less late-night, post-dinner-lull inspired solution than the one we originally came up with.

I’ve found that when I’ve needed content from people, it was extremely effective to give out surveys or conduct interviews using a set of questions designed to touch on the major important points.

By the end of the conversation, we agreed that conferences should send you a post-talk survey (as opposed or in addition to a pre-conference interview). Filling out this survey would give you a basis for a blogpost, and the conference a little more content for their blog. In theory, you would get this along with a link for the video to your talk.

Here are some ideas I had about what would make some good questions.

  1. Talk Title
  2. Organization or project represented in the talk or at the event
  3. Conference presented at, including year and location
  4. What was the thesis of your talk?
  5. Why did you want to present this talk? Why this conference was a good venue, or why was it relevant to the audience?
  6. Do you have an outline of important points? What do you think are the most important takeaways–either big ideas or details–from this talk?
  7. What do you want people who attended the presentation to understand or walk away with, that they might not have known before?
  8. Did you get any great questions or valuable feedback?
  9. Did you learn anything in preparing or presenting?
  10. Would you be interested  in giving the same or a similar presentation at another event in the future?
  11. Is there anything else you think is super important to know about your talk?

Some of these questions are kind of similar (4, 6, and 7), but I think they can help you think about the content of your talk in different ways, in order to create a more in-depth understanding of what was important.

I’m going to try and go back to the talk Deb and I gave at HOPE and see what I can come up with using these questions.

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