Developer Advocacy

How to rock a technical keynote

How do you give a technical keynote that is exciting, informative, and runs smoothly?

Technical keynotes should be captivating, right? But too many are dull and pitchy. Avery Rosen shares practical tips for pulling off a keynote people will talk about.

Summary

A rocking technical keynote?

  • Big annual developer conference

  • Bunch of announcements

  • Lots of software demos

Applying the 5-step agile process to make sure you rock 🤘🏼🎸 your keynote.

Following a 5-step agile process

  • Ideation

    • Setting up work that has to happen before sorting the tasks.

    • Making sure you have parts that are interconnected with each other throughout.

  • Composition

    • Build working demos

    • Sketch slide wireframes

  • Side-craft

    • The process of making sure that things go from those wireframes to really nice looking stuff.

  • Rehearsal

  • Production

    • Place where you need to start finalizing and dropping the things that aren't adding up.

Scribbles

  • Engineering communications is applied thought, leadership, in presentations, in media and in application design, an adjacent of DevRel.

A Rocking 🤘🏼Technical Keynote

  • Big annual developer conference

  • Bunch of announcements

  • Lots of software demos

What does it do?

  • Sets the tone and gives purpose to the whole event

  • Collects the exposure, product roll-outs and features along with competitive analysis.

  • Helps in understanding the technical aspect.

How to rock the keynote?

  • Breaking down the keynote into a five-part agile process

  • Applying those ⬆️ to keynotiest presentation

  • If you aren't preparing for a presentation, you might wanna change that.

  • Get a "village" of people ready. (A lot)

  • 100 - 150 hours worth of time

  • People resources to invest in...

    • Comms engineer

    • Speaking coach

    • Engineers building software demos, more the merrier.

    • Product managers

Ideation

  • Setting up work that has to happen before sorting the tasks.

  • Making sure you have parts that are interconnected with each other throughout.

  • Hashing out all the possibilities.

  • Something that eventually leads to good storytelling.

  • Identify the audience you are presenting to.

  • Set a specific outline for the team.

Software Demos

  • Goals:

    ** Testify to the truth of the claims you make in the talk track

    ** Show a use case an audience member can connect with their own experience

    ** Show how the software solves the use-case

  • Anti-goals:

    * You are NOT demonstrating how to use* your software or product

    ** Audience members do not need to learn enough detail to perform tasks

  • Software demo specifications (example below)

Composition

  • Say real words

  • Build working demos

  • Sketch slide wireframes

  • Practice strong transitions

  • Insert session callouts

Build working demos

  • Weekly demos

    • This helps us make sure that everything is set up early -- the one in charge should be checking with the assigned engineers weekly

  • Midpoint demo

    • Sets up review panel where everyone working on the demo, make sure they are progressing from software development pov.

    • Make sure everyone's hitting the messages/ comments that were outlined in the goals.

Sketch slide wireframes

  • The presenter can track and evolve even before the graphics are done.

  • Defer work on slides that might change

This ⬆️ .... turns into ⬇️

Session Callouts

  • These are links to previous talks or sessions that you mentioned in the current keynote. Induces interaction and makes sure everything is interconnected.

Slide-craft

  • The process of making sure that things go from those wireframes to really nice looking stuff.

  • Beauty the slides

  • Create interactive elements.

  • Graphics are always better than bulleted words.

Rehearsal

  • The main difference between amateurs and professionals.

  • What more to say...? You are going on stage after so much hard work...what's stopping you from a little rehearsal.

  • 🤘🏼rock bands rehearse whenever they get time.

Production

  • Place where you need to start finalising and dropping the things that aren't adding up.

  • Making sure engineers aren't using their real id's as it will be a live demo.

  • Making sure the person in charge has all access to the keys

  • Spare laptops, using bookmark where everyone behind the scene in sync.

But I will tell you how I wrap it up, which is that if you do all this right, then you’ve got yourself an amazing keynote and you can talk to the people in your audience later and find that they’re ready to tell your story for you.