Public Speaking: From Keyboard to Keynote

An interactive workshop for developers and technology professionals who are interested in public speaking. Learn how to create and deliver great technical talks and presentations.

Workshop Overview

Speaking in front of an audience, whether in person or online, can be daunting – but it doesn’t have to be. This workshop will show you how to create and deliver great technical talks, whether you’re speaking at industry conferences, doing a talk at your local meetup group, or just sharing ideas with your own team.

The workshop is presented as two half-day modules, around four hours each, split across two days. In the first module, we focus on structure and presentation – how to create and deliver the verbal part of a talk. You’ll learn how to design a talk; how to gather ideas, create a structure, and develop your material to suit a particular format or time limit. You’ll learn how to use humour and storytelling to connect with your audience, and tips to help you use rehearsal effectively.

At the end of Part 1, everybody in the group will prepare and present a short talk – three minutes, no slides, on a topic of their choice. Overnight, I’ll watch the recordings from these talks and share them with you, along with detailed notes and feedback, which you can review before we move on to part 2.

Part 2 focuses on visual material – slides, multimedia, and live demos. We’ll look at techniques you can use to make your presentations clear, accessible and engaging, and how to use images, animation and photography to support and reinforce the points you’re making in your presentation. We’ll look at tips for presenting code, the challenges of doing live demos, and how to use screen recording and video editing to take your live code presentations to the next level.

During Part 2, attendees will prepare and present another short presentation – this time using slides, multimedia and/or live demos, depending on their choice of topic.

The workshop wraps up with tips for disaster recovery, dealing with unforeseen problems, and some time for discussion and Q&A.

Finally, I’ll review the recordings from Part 2 and share these with you privately, along with my notes and feedback on how you can continue improving as a speaker.

Part 1


  • Introductions. Who is everybody? What are you all hoping to get out of this workshop?
  • What makes a great talk?

How to Design a Talk

  • Collecting ideas, brainstorming, structures
  • Classic talk structures – the narrative, the ‘top ten’ list, the three-act play
  • Pacing and timing – how do you know how much content to prepare?

Secrets of Effective Rehearsal

  • Measuring your own progress
  • Identifying areas to improve

Understanding your audience

  • How to pitching your talk
  • Etiquette and codes of conduct
  • Using humour
  • Dealing with feedback
  • How to do a good Q&A

Breakout Session 1: Design A Talk.

Attendees prepare a 3-minute talk on any subject they like, with no slides.

Presentations 1

Everybody presents their first 3-minute talk to the rest of the group.

Part 2

Slides and Visuals

  • Why use slides, anyway?
  • Tips and tricks
  • Working with technical content
  • Advanced PowerPoint
  • Copyright and fair use

Presenting Technical Content

  • Pros and cons of live coding demos
  • How to present diagrams and technical detail
  • Working with videos and screen recordings

Breakout Sessions 2

  • This time, attendees have three minutes to teach the audience something technical.
  • Could be the same as earlier; could be something else.
  • Use slides, diagrams, animation or whatever you want to.

Presentations 2

Everybody presents their second 3-minute talk to the rest of the group.

Practical Tips and Disaster Recovery

  • How to prepare for the things you can’t prepare for
  • Preparation timelines and coping mechanisms
  • Speaker horror stories (and why they weren’t that bad after all!)

Discussion, Q&A and wrap up

Target Audience and Prerequisites

This workshop is suitable for anybody who is looking to begin public speaking, or to improve their presentation technique. Around 20% of the workshop is specifically focused on presenting software code and technology; the rest of the workshop is applicable to presentations on any topic and to any kind of audience.

Attendees will need a laptop and a presentation tool. I recommend Microsoft PowerPoint – most examples are presented in PowerPoint, and the course includes some specific discussion around using PowerPoint for creating animation effects and slide transitions – but for the attendee presentations element of the workshop, Keynote or a web-based solution will work just fine.

About the Trainer

Dylan Beattie created his first web page in 1992. With nearly 25 years’ experience as a professional developer, he’s worked on everything from static websites to distributed microservice architectures. Dylan is a Microsoft MVP and the creator of the Rockstar esoteric programming language, and he’s presented talks about technology and software development at conferences and events all over the world.

Dylan has been speaking at technology events and meetups for over 10 years, and recordings of his presentations have been watched online by over two million people. From 2017 to 2019 he was the Chief Technology Officer at Skills Matter in London, managing the technology platform used to promote and deliver Skills Matter’s portfolio of conferences, community events and meetups. Throughout 2020 Dylan worked with NDC Conferences to help them adapt their international conferences to the online format, working directly with speakers, attendees and partners to solve the technical and logistical problems of online events. Dylan is online at and on Twitter as @dylanbeattie.


Here's what previous attendees had to say about this workshop:

  • I loved Dylan's energy and passion. I also took away loads of practical ways to improve my speaking skills.
  • I've done speaker training type things in the past so the material was not really new, but Dylan's way of presenting it is just SO MUCH better than previous training sessions.
  • I really enjoyed the humour and that Dylan showed personality throughout the workshop.
  • Really engaging, and the participation element was enough to practice but not too much to feel overwhelmed

Upcoming Course Dates

No public dates are currently scheduled.

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