Speaking online at EuroPython 2020

An article about my first participation as a speaker at an online conference: EuroPython 2020.

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© 2020 Paolo Melchiorre "Photo of Paolo Melchiorre speaking at EuroPython 2020 Online Edition"

Yesterday I gave a talk at the EuroPython 2020 Online Edition with title “A pythonic full-text search” which is now available here on my blog.

In the last few years I gave a lot of talks in various tech conferences in Europe, but it was my first talk in an online conference, so I decided to share some thoughts about this experience.

The EuroPython team did a great job organizing everything. They made a list of tips and a complete guide for speakers that I suggest, to organizers and speakers of other conferences, to read.

Tips for Speakers — EuroPython 2020 Online · 23-26 July 2020

ep2020.europython.eu/events/tips/

Besides reading the guide and attending the rehearsal session, I’ve spent a lot of time trying to have a good setup. I copied from other conference speakers, and to have a working virtual background in zoom, I used my two external monitors as light panels.

Attending an online conference is a new experience , but giving a talk remotely is way more strange than in a regular conference. There’s nobody around to speak with, smiles at or asking to take a picture, so I shoot by myself some pictures of me during the talk.

At the same time, I was able to capture some screenshots of myself giving the talk from the live Youtube channel, so I have a picture of me from the other side of the screen in the exact moment of the above picture.

In the speakers guide there was this suggestion: “Throw in some jokes. Even bad jokes. Even a really bad pun.”. I tried to make a joke about synchronization problems in full-text search, a very dangerous thing to do, but here I’m laughing at my own joke during the talk.

Another suggestion from the organizers was to use “Pictures instead of bullet points in slides. Pictures are great. Everyone loves cats.” so I used:

  • an elephant (the logo of PostgreSQL)

  • a famous guitaris (Django Reinhardt from whom the Django web framework takes its name)

  • some books

  • a picture of me at EuroPython 2017 during the sprint on Django

In an online conference people are more interactive and free to do other things watching your talk, so I published in advance a post on my blog with the slides and other information about the talk, and I shared a QR-code linked to it and also all my other contacts.

Giving online talks is a stressful thing, but answering questions is way more difficult, you are not able to see who is asking the question and its expression. In these pictures I was at the end of the talk after a few questions, waiting for an applause.

This was my first time giving a talk in an online conference, it was a very challenging experience but I enjoyed it. I learnt a lot of new stuff, also how to take a picture of myself after the talk, to share it online.

I’ll gave other talks this year, I listed them on my talks page:

All of my past and future talks, including links, slides, pictures and videos.

See you at the next conference!

Originally posted as a thread on my twitter account @pauloxnet.

 2020-07-24   3 min read      Article   #Conference 🗣️ #Europe 🇪🇺 #Talk 💬 #Remote work 🏡 #Python 🐍 #Django 🦄 #Full-text search 🔍 #PostgreSQL 🐘

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