After you’ve been giving tech talks for a while, you can think about doing a Grey Young and give a talk without slides. Until then, you have slides to worry about.

Here are three classic mistakes of tech talk slides:

Code. First, don’t use it. Second, if you must use it, keep it to a few lines and a few slides at most. That is the limit that your audience will tolerate, even if they are coders.

Bullet points. You know what this says? You didn’t put any effort into structuring your message. Bullet points are an awful way to present information. If you end up with significant amounts of text, you should be writing a report. So what if you do need to show a list of things? Pick the top three, and don’t have sub-levels.

Boxes. Present a slide full of boxes at any tech conference, and you won’t get invited back. Boxes with arrows are slightly better.

Creating a great slide deck is hard. It’s the number one cause of speaker procrastination. If you avoid the three mistakes above, you’re already halfway to glory.





Voxgig podcast

Andrew Grill calls himself a ‘practical futurist’. He is a professional writer, blogger and conference speaker, which means he gets paid to talk. And he wants to help you do the same.

You’ll learn why the first 90 seconds are vital, how clichés kill your talk, and how to tell when you’ve hooked your audience.  Enjoy!

Speaker profile

Amy Herman
Visual Intelligence

This is a real treat. Amy Herman is just a fabulous speaker. I wish I had that level of verbal, facial and postural control. Her deck uses almost no text at all. Set yourself a challenge: do the same.

A heads-up for those of you in shared office space: the talk uses a lot of classical paintings as source material

Learn from the best

Doug Zonker 
Chicken [PDF]
There are no words…

Tell me…

What is your biggest challenge as an event speaker?

This newsletter is for you. I want it to resonate with you.

So go ahead, hit reply, and tell me what you want to read about. Or email me at You can tweet too: @voxgig.

I’ll address the most pressing issues in each edition.

Blog post

TED – 10 tips for a better slide deck
Aaron Weyenberg is the master of slide decks. Our UX lead creates keynote presentations that are both slick and charming—the kind that pull you in and keep you captivated, but in an understated way that helps you focus on what’s actually being said. He does this for his own presentations and for lots of other folks in the office. Yes, his coworkers ask him to design their slides, because he’s just that good.”

Upcoming CFP deadlines

Kafka Summit Closing December 20, 2018.

Saturn 2019 Closing January 12, 2019​.

Scala Matsuri Closing February 02, 2019.




A favor…

Can I ask you for a favor? If you enjoy this newsletter and 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 You can tweet too: @voxgig. Thank you so much for reading!

A special thanks and shout out to newsletter curator Cora for helping to make this newsletter even better!
– Richard

Thank you. Please let me know what you think!