Presentation Resources

Presenting at conferences is challenging – and worth it. Here are some resources that I’ve found useful in the past 18 months as I’ve started to prepare and present talks at technical conferences.

Presenting in General

  • Confessions of a Public Speaker (book) by Scott Berkun

    Scott Berkun is a very experienced public speaker. He dispenses helpful advice in the form of entertaining anecdotes.

  • Speaking for Hackers (collection of notes) by Ben Orenstein.

    This is not quite a first draft of a book yet, but I found the notes to be helpful. I think you should all buy access to the rough cuts, because he’ll probably feel compelled to finish it given some peer more pressure, and that would be good for both speakers and attendees at conferences.

    Ben knows what he’s talking about, and proves it in this compelling and engaging meta-talk.


  • Improve Your Technical Slides by Geoffrey Grosenbach

    Geoffrey Grosenbach provides numerous helpful tips about making your technical slides engaging, interesting, clear, and to the point.

  • Slide Design for Developers (article) by Zach Holman.

    Slides are something that I struggle with even more than story-telling. Zach shares some of his strategies for creating a compelling slide deck.

  • Better Presentation Slides (video) by Shane Becker.

    This is a lightning talk about typical mistakes that developers make when designing slides. Short, sweet, and to the point.

Story Arcs and Structure

  • The Secret Structure of Great Talks (video), a TED talk by Nancy Duarte

    Nancy Duarte explores how presentations are similar to stories, and how their dramatic structure differs from that of a traditional story arc.

  • Anatomy of Story (book) by John Truby.

    Shaping a story is not easy. The book provides a lot of concrete strategies to work with to get a natural flow in your presentation. It focuses on the elements that drive a story forward organically, and make a story interesting.


There are also a couple of podcasts you can listen to, if you like that format. They’re both very informal discussions:

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