I just read a very nice post by my friend Beth Tucker Long “How to Submit a Talk to a Conference“. Here are some additional thoughts.
Two thumbs up for “Identify a clear problem that the topic of your talk will help solve”. I read hundreds of proposals each year and nearly half of them fail to explain that. If it doesn’t explain this, it means that the presentation has no purpose and that it will just be a sequence of slides with bullet points, leading to death by PowerPoint (or live-coding, doesn’t matter). No goal = meaningless rambling. I have attended enough presentations to notice this pattern.
When I submit proposals, I start with the goal, then I figure out the title and the summary. When I write my presentation, I start with a slide about objectives. This guides me and forces me to abandon subtopics that do not contribute to reach these goals. For example: if my point is to show how easy it is to build responsive layouts, then I won’t attempt to cover every single feature of Bootstrap. It’s easy, but pointless. On the other hand, I might want to add a slide about common screen real-estate issues and their solutions, because that contributes to the objective.
There was another equally good article last month by Ross Tuck “Tips on Speaking” with some more in-depth advice that covers all stages of speaking.