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Tag: Advice

#GHC16: Things to Do in Houston

#GHC16: Things to Do in Houston

Here are some of the unique Houston experiences you should check out after #GHC16!

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Make the Most of GHC With Tips From ABI

Make the Most of GHC With Tips From ABI

With just a little over a week left until #GHC15, we have some tips for planning your trip to Houston.

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Be a GHC Community Volunteer and Change Your Life

You should sign up to be a volunteer community note-taker or blogger by our new deadline of September 8.  It could change your life! Seriously!Blue Jelly Social Media Icons / WebTreatsETCI started attending the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in…

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What to Pack for GHC North America

Whether it’s your first Grace Hopper Celebration or your fifth, every conference is a new experience, so we’ve put together a short list of “must pack” items to make sure that you come prepared for this year’s conference in Portland!1. Umbrella and Rai…

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Your GH11 Presentation is Ready — Now It’s Time to Practice

I’m guessing that most of us have pretty much completed preparations for our Grace Hopper presentations, right? For myself, I have thought a lot about my audience and I’ve made decisions about how much I will be able to say — and say well — in the hour that I have been allotted. What now? My presentation is on Friday. I’m done, right? Well — now it’s time to practice.

There are two fundamental ways to practice: 1) silently and 2) aloud. The first way involves a review of your presentation in your own head. We all do this a lot before we present because it helps us feel comfortable with our story and because we think that we will be less likely to forget what we want to say if we go over and over things in our minds. It is easy to practice this way because we can give ourselves a silent presentation anywhere and anytime.

The second way of practicing asks more of us and leads to different results. I will be very direct here — I believe that you must practice your talk aloud in order to deliver an authentic and well-paced presentation. And you must practice in a way that simulates the context in which you will speak. (It would probably be ideal if we could all practice giving our talks to a real audience in a real meeting room, but most of us are not that lucky. No worries — make a commitment to practicing aloud and know that you are preparing yourself for a great result.)

Find a space where you can set up your laptop and project your visuals. I have practiced this way in my living room where the visuals are projected on the wall; and I have practiced this way in a hotel room. Even if you are not able to project the visuals during your rehearsal, you can set up your laptop and use it in the same way that you will use it during your talk. Being comfortable with the physical things you will do during your presentation is very important — almost as important as being familiar with your story.

Practice introducing yourself and getting into the talk; practice moving around; practice your gestures; practice with the laser pointer if you will use one; figure out when to advance to a new visual and practice the verbal transitions; see how it feels to look around to all parts of the room; play with volume and speed. Also be sure that you time yourself during your rehearsals so that you know where you are and where you want to be during each section of your presentation.

In addition to practicing aloud in a “real” context, you can practice aloud to an invisible listener while riding your bicycle, while cooking, while in the shower. You will be able to hear the speed, the pauses, and the flow in a way that you cannot hear these details when the story is a silent one. Any time you speak aloud, even to yourself, you are incorporating the physical and sensory aspects of presenting, and you are preparing yourself for the real experience of transforming thoughts and ideas into a spoken story.

Have fun with your preparations and rehearsals. I will see you next week in Portland!

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PhDoula: Five do-overs since my first Grace Hopper Celebration for Women in Computing

This post originally appeared on the blog PhDoula and is re-posted here with permission from the author, Alexandra Holloway.Grace Hopper Celebration for Women in Computing is an annual event bringing together thousands of women from different technical…

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Keeping up With Facebook for GHC 2011

With all of the new features and security options facebook now offers it is difficult to know what your options for staying safe, yet utilizing the social network to its fullest extent. The easiest way to see all of the security features available to…

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Organizing Your Talk for Grace Hopper 2011

Sometimes the task of organizing a talk seems more challenging than the material that you will talk about. Here are some things that might be helpful as you prepare your Grace Hopper 2011 presentations –

1. Story

Compose a logical story for your audience. Select the precise body of material you want your audience to learn and “know” as a result of attending your talk or panel — include only the content that is directly applicable to this particular talk. Divide your story into the sections that you will cover, like “introduction,” “concept 1,” “concept 2,” “questions and answers,” and so on.

2. Backward buildup

Backward buildup is a way of thinking about your talk from the perspective of what you would like the audience to understand by the time you finish speaking. Distributing your content in the backwards direction ensures that your story ends where and when you intend, that each section is balanced and builds to the conclusion, and that the story in its entirety “fits” within the time you have been allotted.

Working backwards from the end of your talk, assign a chunk of time to each section of the story. Work all the way back to the first minute of the talk. Example – “My total time is 1 hour. I want the audience to understand 5 aspects of rhetorical positioning — audience, purpose, genre, tone, and style; I want to discuss a sample text; I will end with questions and answers.” From the end of the talk to the beginning, the sections in the example talk are –


8 Questions and Answers 10 minutes

7 Group analysis of a text 18 minutes

6 Style 5 minutes

5 Tone 5 minutes

4 Genre 10 minutes

3 Purpose 5 minutes

2 Audience 5 minutes

1 Introduction 2 minutes

60 minutes total

As you work through the backward buildup process, you may find that there is not enough time for all of the material you wanted to cover. If this happens, go back and delete the non-essential stuff, and repeat the backward buildup until you have a solid time plan that embraces your material. The sequence of topics in each section and the articulation across sections should have a logical flow.

3. Timing

All of the sections, including the question and answer period, must add up to no more than the total number of minutes allotted for your talk. When organizing the timing, you must account for possible technical problems, ideas that come to you in real time, and appropriate anecdotes, so leave some breathing room in your plan. Your talk should be thorough, interesting, and maybe even inspiring!

4. Selection of visuals

Go back to your story and the timed sections. Ask: “Are there any visuals that will help elucidate this section?” If no, move on and tell that part of the story without visuals — audiences love this approach. If yes, then select only the visuals that advance your story. Maintain your love and attachment to other slides you may have prepared, but use only the slides that promote understanding and inspiration of your audience’s experience.

5. Visuals

The guiding principles when incorporating a slide into your talk is that the slide must advance your discussion, it must add an illustration and representation of an important concept, and it must be crystal clear. Each visual should be easy to navigate and understand from the point of view of the audience member. Don’t crowd your slides — “Less is more.” The language on each slide should be grammatically perfect; choose a font and use it consistently; build the slide from left to right and top to bottom.

6. Delivery

Have fun and don’t rush. Do not repeat — keep things moving forward. And think about this perspective: You are the reason the participants are there; your connection with the material and with the audience is the important ingredient. It does not matter one bit if you delete a few details from your talk. It is more important to respond to questions and points of interest that the participants raise — they have traveled long distances to learn from you and they deserve your direct attention.

7. Enjoyment

Your presentation experience at Grace Hopper 2011 should be as enjoyable for you as it is for your audience members!

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