A Bad Talk

Matthew Heusser
Feb 1, 2016 · 1 min read

Many of the most vapid and weak talks I have seen went something like this:

(A) Opening joke

(B) Speaker bio

(c) Intro to topic

(d) Agenda slide

(e) Mumble something about best practice

(f) Conclusions

All I really care about is e.

It’s gotten so bad that if I am organizing a conference, and someone’s outline looks more than a bit like this, I am pre-disposed against the talk, but try to ask for a more detailed outline.

Years ago someone submitted a proposal to me to write a paper on perils and pitfalls of agile security, as part of a collection. The proposal didn’t really say anything (no “content”) so I asked her for an outline. The outline she turned in had four bullet points — intro, some perils, some pitfalls, and a conclusion.


Packaging can hide an absence of substance.

My advice: first figure out what you are going to say — then package it. If you have to, just do a brain dump on medium, and figure out what to do with it next.

Not that I’ve ever … hey!


Matthew Heusser

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Software delivery consultant/writer and other things. Collaborative software geek since before it was cool. Husband, Father, Catholic. Homeschooling Dad.