5 Days to an Amazing Presentation – Day 3 – Content

By Bruno Souza | event

Oct 20

This is lesson 3 in a series, to help you better prepare to submit talks to events.

This training can be used to submit papers to any event, but this week we have a special opportunity to submit talks to The Developers Conference, that has a Call For Papers (CFP) open.

First lesson we discuss What is a Presentation.
Second lesson focus on Defining the Presentation Title.
Third lesson we create your Presentation Content.
Fourth lesson is all about Abstracts.
Fifth and final lesson we Polish things up and Submit.

While you are following this training, and doing the exercises, by now you have an idea of WHO has a PROBLEM you can help solve, and what is the TRANSFORMATION you will help them achieve. This was the first lesson.

You also put this into an interesting and attention grabbing TITLE during the second lesson.

Now… Let me be clear that preparing a presentation is not a waterfall process. WHO -> PROBLEM -> TITLE and tadaaa! Great presentation!

It is more like an agile process.
You have an initial idea, and each step helps you go back and refine the previous steps.

Not only that, you should discuss with friends, and incorporate their feedback to make it even better and clear.

Keep this in mind while we dive in on Day 3!

With what you have so far, it is time to think about your CONTENT.

What is the CONTENT?

Remember from the first lesson that the CONTENT is the bridge between the PROBLEM and the ACTION.

It is the CONTENT that will inspire people to take the ACTION (that will eventually cause the desired TRANSFORMATION).

The CONTENT will need to be researched, prepared, organized. And then, you will need to generate the collaterals needed to present it, like slides, images and demonstrations.

It can be a lot of work…
And you will need to do this before you can present at an event.

But, for our purpose right now — submit a presentation to a call for papers — we don’t need all this work! We need just enough understanding of the content to create the abstract.

The Escape and Arrival strategy

Here is a little exercise that takes just a few minutes, and can give you all the information you need to write a great abstract.

Everyone that has a PROBLEM is looking for ways to Escape from the PROBLEM.

And… If you are escaping it is because you want to Arrive at a better place. You want to Arrive at the oposite of the PROBLEM.

Escape from —–> Arrive at
             Having a PROBLEM —–> Not having a PROBLEM
     Wanting something —–> Having something
          Felling bad —–> Feeling good
Not being —–> Being
                      PROBLEM —–> TRANSFORMATION
      😒 —–> πŸ˜€

Imagine your WHO.
What is the PROBLEM they want to escape from?
And what is the TRANSFORMATION they want to arrive at?

Write that down, with about 5 lines (or steps) in between those two situations.

For example:

WHO: software developers
PROBLEM: very stressful and late projects

Escape from πŸ˜’: Not delivering software on time
Arrive at πŸ˜€: Delivering software on time

Now, fill in the blanks with actionable steps that people should take to escape from the bad situation and arrive at the positive situation.


Escape: Not delivering software on time
1- Implement basic tools (git, issue tracker)
2- Implement Continuous Integration
3- Build and run tests on every commit
4- Implement a container strategy
5- Automate the deployment process
Arrival: Delivering software on time

Now you have a good overview of your CONTENT.

Just note that you can choose at what level your presentation will be.

The above example has a high level presentation.
We could even run full presentations (even several hour trainings!) for each step listed above.

But even then, a one hour presentation that gives a clear high level overview of what needs to be done is useful too.

So, choose a PROBLEM at the right level you want to present, and create an Escape and Arrival plan.

Breadth vs Depth

One thing we need to be careful with the CONTENT is the breadth we intend to cover.

For a one-hour presentation, you don’t have enough time to cover many things in depth. Many events give you even less time.

So, if your presentation covers too much ground (many topics, many concepts, many tools), it will necessarily be shallow.

People prefer content that goes deeper in what they need, instead of content that goes all over the place.

Try to find the sweet spot of something that has a good depth and solves a real problem.

If you think your content is too broad, a good way to narrow it down is to look at your escape and arrival, and select one or two steps to go deeper, and focus the presentation there.

What is the ACTION?

You are probably asking yourself if each of those steps is the ACTION that people should take.

Those steps are what will show people that it is possible to solve their problems.
Your presentation will inspire WHO to get started on this path.

The ACTION you want them to take is the very first, small step to just get started.

The one thing WHO can do after your talk that will break the innertia, and will get the ball rolling.

It is a small step.
One that takes just a few minutes.
A step so small that people will be willing to just take it.

The goal here is get them to start.

The ACTION could be a simple step,
like downloading a piece of software or registering for a service.

Maybe more instructions,
like registering for a training, acquiring a book or reading a blog post.

Or it could be to access some tool,
like downloading a planning spreadsheet or installing a SDK.

It could be building a relationship,
like following you on social media or joining a discussion group.

The ACTION should be something simple, that’s easy to do, and that would get the WHO started in the path they need.


Create the Escape and Arrival process, to think about your CONTENT.

And… Think on what would be the ACTION that would get WHO started on their journey.

The material you created today will make it much easier to prepare your submission, and will also help you to create the presentation itself once it is approved.

And remember that preparing a presentation is more like an agile process, and you should go back and revisit your previous steps.

Since you now have a better understanding on what your presentation will be, this is a good time for you rethink the PROBLEM you are trying to solve and also the TITLEs you created.

Make any adjustments you think are necessary to clarify and make your presentation better and more interesting.

Have you already created the account on TDC call for papers site?

If not, do it now, and take a look at the other things you need to submit when submitting a talk.

Create an account at the TDC CFP site.

Tomorrow, on the forth lesson, we will work on the abstract.

Do you want to receive this training in your email? Join us and receive a free book!

See you soon!
the “escape from problems”-man

About the Author

Software developers have a huge impact in the world, and can effectively improve the planet. This is why Bruno Souza is passionate about developer communities and has dedicate his life to help developers worldwide reach their true potential. The "Brazilian JavaMan" is a Java Developer at Summa Technologies, and a Cloud Specialist at ToolsCloud, where he participated in some of the largest Java projects in Brazil. President of SouJava and Director at the Open Source Initiative, Bruno believes Java and Open Source to be the path to career excellency for developers everywhere, and that taking responsibility for delivering software is the mark of great developers.