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Top Tips for Speakers and Participants

Modified on 2011/04/28 10:24 by Administrator Categorized as Skepticamp
To help you get the most of your day at Skepticamp Australia, we've rounded up some top tips from experience Skepticamp and BarCamp unorganisers and presenters.

Reed Esau



  • odds are that your audience collectively knows more about
    your topic than yourself, so don't begrudgingly accept questions (as
    the format requires) but actively solicit them to learn from your
    fellow participants. As this risks your running out of time, move all
    of your important points to the START of your talk.


  • Don't sit on your hands as you might at a typical
    lecture event, or worse yet grumble about how you've seen so-and-so's
    talk a dozen times.

  • Avail yourself of the opportunity to interact with
    the speakers, to bolster important points, to correct errors and to
    foster discussion.

  • As the day progresses, start thinking about what
    will be the topic of YOUR talk at the next event.

Reed launched the Skepticamp movement and recommends the many tips at

Stephen Collins



  • prepare as much as possible, even BarCamp counts as public speaking
    and if you're crap, people remember you


  • open eyes, open mind

  • go to talks that *aren't* about what you're normally interested in

  • two ears, one mouth - use them in that proportion when contributing

Stephen has a great deal of experience with collaborative events, and has unorganised BarCamp Canberra. Check out acidlabs for BarCamp related posts:

Alan Conradi



  • time your talk in advance. Allow extra time for questions.

  • if you use powerpoint, don't just make it your notes. There should be a point to each slide. Keep it simple and illustrative. It should extend your talk, not draw attention away from you.

  • try to memorise your talk. Eye contact equals engagement, and memorising your talk allows you to 'perform' more and make it more interesting.

  • have hard copies of your notes. Rely on the tech to fail when you need it most!

Alan founded the Western Sydney Freethinkers and has made and watched a lot of presentations!

Ishai Sagi


I would say the most important tip is to be energetic and passionate - act as if you just had three red bulls and a Viagra (OK, not the latter, and I wouldn't recommend actually trying the former, but you know what I mean). Raise your voice while keeping it stable - do not shout - just talk loudly, and move about while switching your eye contact from the front rows to the back.

Ishai runs a consultancy - Extelligent Design - which provides clients with architecture advice, development services and products around Microsoft's SharePoint platform. As a Microsoft MVP he's well used to speaking in front of crowds, and will be speaking at Skepticamp Sydney 2011

Ruth Ellison



  • Although barcamp is an informal event, it’s still worthwhile doing at least one run through prior to the event.

  • Be passionate. Engage with the audience. Make eye contact.

  • Keep on time (it’s respectful for your audience and for the next presenter).

  • Keep your slides simple to avoid the dreaded Death By Powerpoint Syndrome.

  • Slide design – minimal text, lots of pictures, BIG font (so people at the back can read your slides)

  • Leave time for questions and discussions.


  • Be respectful. Go with an open mind. People are donating their time to do this presentation.

  • Be tolerant & supportive – presenters may be getting up for the first time in front of an audience and it can be a very scary experience for them.

Ruth has tons of experience, having co-unorganised both BarCamp Canberra and TEDxCanberra!

Jason Brown



  • Make sure your topic doesn't duplicate someone else's. If there are five topics entitled "Yowies: what's all that about?", then things will get tedious fast. Check the Wiki page for your event. Edit the page, make sure your topic is on the page, right there.

Jason is one of Skepticamp Australia's founding unorganisers and is an experienced public speaker and collaboration professional.

Got a tip for us?

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The Final Tip

This one comes directly from Skepticamp US, and it's sage advice

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