Learning While Watching Myself

The video recording of my 360idev talk “Building Web Service Powered iPhone Apps” is now available from 360idev (free to attendees, for purchase for non-attendees). This was the first time a presentation I gave was recorded, and for the first time ever I get to see my own talk. I watched the video yesterday and overall I’m happy with the results. The best part for me, however, is using the video to learn from my mistakes.

A mistake I repeatedly made was not repeating questions asked by the audience. Repeating the question is an age old speaker tip, but the tip is easily forgotten during an actual presentation. Repeating the question is helpful to others in the audience who may not have heard the original question. Repeating the question also gives you a chance to make sure you understand the question, and it buys you a few more seconds while you think of an answer.

Repeating the question becomes more important when your session is being recorded. In the case of the 360idev recording of my session, you cannot hear questions from the audience. This sometimes makes it hard to understand the context of the answer. I could have avoided this by repeating each question before providing an answer. The lesson learned here, and one I must remember the each time I speak, is to repeat the question before answering.

The other lesson I learned by watching my session is to not do live coding. Live coding can be impressive, earning you some respect points with audience members. But live coding can also slow down the presentation. This is what happened in my session. There are lulls during my talk while I type code from memory. Also audience members will often see mistakes in your code as you type and shout out tips. This can break your thought process causing confusion and delay.

Having now watched my session video I have decided to no longer do live coding in these types of sessions. The extra time spent typing on the keyboard is better spent sharing additional knowledge with the audience.