Help with a presentation.

Frank Mitchell mitchell at
Thu Apr 17 17:41:34 UTC 2008

Hi FreeBSD Advocates:

I used to give talks about computers among other things, so maybe I can 
contribute. Obviously the usual approach is to talk about a series of slides. 
But you don't need a Slide Projector if you can overcome the usual Stage 

One useful technique for organising your material is the Spider-Chart. A bloke 
named Tony Buzan wrote books about these, calling them Mind-Maps or 
Brain-Patterns, but the idea is much older. You start with a large sheet of 
paper, like a double-spread of Line-Printer output, and you write the central 
theme in the centre. Then you draw lines branching out to the main topics, 
then further branches out to further associated ideas, with interconnecting 
links between them. After collecting your thoughts this way you organise them 
into a sequential list for your Computer Talk.

The Spider-Chart is ideal for a subject like Computing, because the more 
abstract the material is, the better it works. It's also good in Group 
Discussions. If everybody draws up a Spider-Chart you get an instant picture 
of the different perspectives people have on a subject. 

Your talk can become alot simpler if you encourage Audience Participation. 
Just read a brief Introduction or Summary and ask whether anybody has any 
questions already. It's alot less daunting to talk to a single member of the 
audience than to address the whole crowd simultaneously. You may find the 
whole occasion takes on a life of its own, with the audience doing half your 
talk for you. Obviously you need an excuse for questions you can't answer, 
like explaining you're also researching what people want to know about. You 
can note down on all the topics you didn't think of and check them out for 
your next presentation. 

You still need to go back to your prepared notes occasionally when the debate 
dies away. You can find alot of your material has been covered and you need 
to pick out the bits nobody thought of yet. Just go through the next topic 
briefly and ask if there are any more questions again. You need this feedback 
anyway, otherwise you risk going on without being understood by half your 
audience. If there is any misunderstanding, that gives you more stuff to 
discuss.  At the end you can discover that you kept people interested for 
three hours and only used half your material.

Faictz Ce Que Vouldras: Frank Mitchell

On Wednesday 16 April 2008 14:45:49 TooMany Secrets wrote:
> Hi!
> I need to make a "freebsd advocacy" presentation this weekend into the
> BSDCon Barcelona'08. The problem is that I never make a presentation
> for anything :-(
> Anybody could help me with ideas?
> One of the points i would like to explain is the fact that FreeBSD is
> in more companies that the people would be think, but I would like to
> talk about other examples (not the typical Yahoo, Juniper, etc).
> Excuse me if you can't understand what I would to say, my english is
> very bad...
> Thank you very much!!
> -- 
> Have a nice day ;-)
> TooManySecrets

More information about the freebsd-advocacy mailing list