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Welcome to the voxgig newsletter for tech speakers, 1 June 2018

The Checklist Manifesto by Atul Gawande is one of my all-time favorite business books. It’s that rare breed of business book that is both useful and short. Quick to read, and quick to implement, and yet one of those step changes in your ability to perform. Checklists rock! 

Speaking of things that rock, this community newsletter now has 2177 subscribers—a huge thank-you to you all! You are part of a growing community of people who care about public speaking and want to help each other get better at it. This newsletter started as an experiment, and has grown beyond all reasonable expectations. Public speaking is changing my professional life for the better, and it’s wonderful to be able to help others start, and succeed, on the journey.

If this newsletter has helped and inspired you, then I have a favor to ask: please recommend it to someone, just one person, that you think it will help. Let’s get to a community of 5000 public speakers before the Summer is over! You all rock—thank you so much for your loyalty.

The excellent checklist below was written by Eddie Rice (first published on his medium account in May 2016). Eddie is a speech and presentation coach for keynote speakers and has previously been featured in Forbes.

The Keynote Speaker’s Pre-Flight Checklist

First, check everything on the technical front.

  1. Do you have your slides and notes backed up in three different places — a USB drive, your phone’s hard drive, and cloud storage? Relying solely on your hosts to have your slides prepared and ready to go can doom your speech if someone forgets to send them to the right person or computer. Having three backup locations will create a strong fail-safe for lost slides.

  2. If you use a microphone for your talk, do you have your own that you can bring? Ask the event organizer ahead of time about compatibility with their sound system. Even if the organizer insists on using their own microphone, you should still bring a backup for when the mic will inevitably fail. As an added bonus, if you are using your own, you will be familiar with its idiosyncrasies and how to handle them.

  3. Before leaving home, check with the organizer to see if you need to bring your own computer and which connectors are needed. Some projectors only have HDMI inputs whereas some computers don’t have them. You don’t want to wait until you get to the venue to find this out.

  4. Ask the event organizer or tech person about the bulb life on the projector. The bulb life can be found in the projector’s settings and is usually a count down rather than a count up (e.g. 1300 hours on a 2000 hour bulb means that 700 hours have already been used). You don’t want a blown bulb during your presentation. Once you get to the venue, test the connections and projector to ensure they will be working when it’s time to give your speech.

Second, move on to the logistical side.
  1. Do you have a hard copy of directions to the site and the contact information of the event organizer? Don’t depend upon your smartphone or computer for storing critical information. Batteries can die; signals can drop; electronics can be stolen. If you have critical information in hard copy, you won’t have to worry about an electronics failure.

  2. Do you have single hard copies of any handouts you will be giving to the audience? If you have handouts, always have extras in single copy form. The ones you sent ahead or packed in your checked luggage could get lost. If you have the single pages, you can dash to a copy center and get last-minute copies to ensure that you don’t leave your audience empty-handed.

  3. Are there any obstacles preventing easy access to the event venue? Call the day before the event to make sure that the typical route to the speaking venue isn’t blocked. You don’t want a water main break or a new construction project to take time away from getting to your speaking venue.

Third, take care of yourself.
  1. Do you have supplies to keep you healthy and hydrated? Pack a bag of backup prescription medicine, pain relievers, cough drops, stomach settlers. You never know when your body will decide to hate you minutes before you go on stage. Pack a bottle of water, too. It’s rare that you will have someone to cater to your needs before you go on stage and the nearest drug store could be blocks away from your venue.

Your keynote depends on more than just your performance. Problems and mistakes will happen. Mics will cut out; bulbs will blow; cell phones will die; fevers will strike. But just like a pilot, if you go through a pre-flight checklist, you’ll be prepared for any contingency.

By Eddie Rice

Original Post




Speaker Profile

The Importance & Value of the CHECK LIST
Atul Gawande

No matter how knowledgeable we are on a subject or how prepared we are, some things are still missed or forgotten. The solution is as simple as creating and using checklists. In his book The Checklist Manifesto, Atul Gawande speaks about his experience in using checklists in hospitals, specifically surgical procedures and the success rates that resulted. The same can be applied to just about every aspect of our lives, such as speaking at conferences, to ensure that we don’t miss or forget anything and that we achieve the best possible results.

Learn from the Best

Image of Jim Cathcart is wearing a grey suit and bue open neck shirt,

How to believe in yourself: Jim Cathcart at TEDxDelrayBeach
Jim Cathcart

Hall of Fame speaker Jim Cathcart gives us a checklist for success:

  • Know how you’re smart.

  • Know what your personal velocity is.

  • Know the background imprint, positive, neutral or negative, that you carry with you.

  • It’s important to know what you want in order to get what you want. 

Tell me…

 What is your biggest challenge as a tech speaker?

This newsletter is for you. I want it to include hints, tips and strategies that resonate with you.

So go ahead, hit reply and tell me what aspects of conference speaking  you would like me to focus on. 

Email me at richard@voxgig.com. You can tweet too: @voxgig I will address the most pressing issues in each edition.

Book of the Week

Book Cover Image, lots of text and one small image of an auditorium with empty seats seen from the podium viewpoint

How To Write & Give A Speech
Joan Detz

Our ‘checklist’ theme this week wouldn’t be complete without a how to book on writing and presenting. Joan Detz’ book has everything you need to craft your speech in a simple and practical format.

Blog Post

The Essential Speaker Checklist

Esther Snippe

With a million things to remember before your presentation, forgetting a key element can put you off kilter and even jeopardize your ability to deliver your talk. With this in mind, the people at SpeakerHub have drawn on their collective experience to create this useful checklist for public speakers.




Three Conferences




Join over 3,000 attendees for a unique international festival of technology, science, design and the arts for two days and over 60 speakers. Then enjoy the Fringe festival for live music, spoken word, comedy, and great opportunities to network with leaders, professionals, scientists, engineers, entrepreneurs and more!




After a successful inaugural event in 2017, RebelCon is back and expanding! Join over 300 attendees for a two-day event kicking off with a full schedule of workshops, followed by a day of talks. Learn about the latest technology, cultural and development practices in the software industry from national and international speakers with a wealth of experience. Be sure to stay a day or two to explore the beautiful Southeast Irish city of Cork while you’re there!





This conference brings together the best RTC minds from all over the world in an absolutely gorgeous venue in the English countryside near Gatwick airport. It’s the first residential conference of its kind in the Open-Source RTC community, so you’ll have the opportunity to meet up with your colleagues, friends and peers, while also making new connections in a relaxed environment. The ticket cost includes the conference, accommodations, all meals, receptions, and entertainment, so you just need to get there.




CFP Calendar

These are the CFP deadline dates and submission pages.

Speaker Training

Do you speak at conferences? Want to learn how to give the very best talks? Or are you just starting out and want to overcome the fear of speaking on stage?

We are running speaker training workshops in Dublin and London, in Ireland and the U.K. over the coming months.

There is a 10% OFF early bird discount if you book before May 22nd.

To find out more follow the links below.

Public speaking with Lauren Currie

London, UK – Friday June 22, 2018 | More Details

Giving great talks with Russ Miles

Dublin, Ireland – Tuesday July 17, 2018 | More Details

Public speaking with Debbie Forster

London, UK – Thursday October 18, 2018 | More Details

Giving great talks with Russ Miles

London, UK – Tuesday September 25, 2018 | More Details




A favour…

Can I ask you for a favour? If you enjoy this newsletter, and if you find it useful, please consider recommending it to a friend who is learning to give technical talks, or who aspires to do so. I meet so many cool programmers who have brilliant things to share with the world—that’s you!

Please help me to improve this newsletter – I’d love to hear your suggestions! You can email me directly at richard@voxgig.com. You can tweet too: @voxgig. Thank you so much for reading!

A special thanks and shout out to TammyCora, and David for helping to make this newsletter even better!