Are you preparing a talk? Here, take this uncommon tip

3 min read

Last year I had the chance to give my “Maintainable & scalable CSS” talk in a couple of events: Barcelona Crafters and Commit 2018. In both conferences, I had a 45-minute slot to fill in with my personal experience managing CSS.

That was cool. Same talk, similar time slot (40 vs 45 min). I was expecting to use the exact same speech and slides. You might call it “ROI optimization”.

However, in between both events, I was invited to speak at Modern Web Event by La UOC. There, I had the chance to talk about (drumroll…) maintainable and scalable CSS.

There was only one problem

I had to shrink my talk to fit it into a 25-min slot.

It looked like killing your own son (wild guessing here - I’ve never killed any).

The result, though, is that I ended up with a better talk. A waaay better one. I kinda knew the topic by the time of shrinking it, so it was easy to decide what was worth explaining, and what was utterly needless.

So, after that, instead of going back to the original one for the Commit Conf, I decided to keep the 25 min version and work from there.

I feel that the talk I gave at Commit is way better than the first 45-min version I created.

youtube: Lbz-S_jILD8

History repeats itself

It just happened again last week. I was prepping my talk for the VueJS Roadtrip BCN event. There, I’ll have 35 minutes to explain and discuss some things about testing the front end.

Before that event, I also got invited to take part at the Front end Dev Tech Talk, organized by eDreams.

The topic? Maintainable and scal just kidding. Testing the front end.

Time slot? 15 minutes. Fif-teen!

The outcome? Well, kinda expected by now. I ended up being way happier with the 15-min version than the longer one. After collecting some feedback, I decided to improve some details here and there and explain better some examples. That was it.

So, to whom it may concern

I discovered that I feel more satisfied if I prepare my talk to be 50-60% shorter than it really is.

Then, I keep adding details, improvements, small fixes. Let it breathe.

Next time, try it out. You’ll have focused on the core parts of your topic.

And it comes with additional benefits: if you do it right, you’ll know that you’re not “in a rush” and you won’t be forcing 200 slides down everybody’s throat.