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Kaity
Community Manager

2020 Congress Speakers! Can you help me?

Hi folks!

 

We want to encourage people to submit their speaker submission for Security Congress, which is currently being planned as a hybrid event this year. If you spoke at Congress - or another virtual event - before, do you have any advice to share about presenting virtually? I'd like to use this input for a blog post. You can comment here, or PM me if you'd prefer. 

 

Appreciate the help! 

2 Replies
CISOScott
Community Champion

Re: 2020 Congress Speakers! Can you help me?

If you or your staff have not yet performed using virtual speakers or the more complicated virtual roundtable, I suggest you attend some virtual conferences to see what works and what doesn't. If you are going to do a virtual roundtable or panel, I suggest watching someone who can do it and make it seem rather seamless.

It takes a little skill to be able to moderate a panel and watching someone who can do it successfully, can help. I have been on 2 virtual panels and the moderator was very good about keeping the panel flow moving, transitioning from one panel member or topic to another, not letting one panel member dominate the discussion, etc. 

The one I have the most experience with is Data Connectors. Not trying to sell you anything but have your person in charge of these virtual panels maybe attend and watch how they do their panels or another like them. You can also watch the scheduled individual videos and see what you like and do not like.

 

The presenters should be able to capture audience attention and not drone on and on about a technical topic. I have noticed some people just prepare 15, 30, or 45 minutes of material and then just end it when their time is up. There is not a flow to it.

 

One of the problems with virtual is it is harder to read the room. I once went to an in-person conference and it was apparent that the speaker was in over their head and was presenting inaccurate statements. What started out as a room full of people (100+) had dwindled down to about 20 and most of us that remained just felt bad for the person and didn't want to leave out of guilt of hurting their feelings. In a virtual conference people can just mute the speaker and let it play so it might offer a false sense of how the presentation was received.

 

Just a couple of things from my point of view.

rslade
Influencer II

Re: 2020 Congress Speakers! Can you help me?

> Kaity (Community Manager) posted a new topic in (ISC)² Security Congress on

> Hi folks!   We want to encourage people to submit their speaker submission for
> Security Congress, which is currently being planned as a hybrid event this year.

Well, I've put in three submissions so far: how many more do you want?

> If you spoke at Congress - or another virtual event - before, do you have any
> advice to share about presenting virtually?

Never have spoken at Congress. Lot's of others, though. So far, this year, I've
spoken at BSidesPorto and BSidesDublin, as well as some classes in Australia, and
local presentations around here. (Such as
https://community.isc2.org/t5/C/V/m-p/42919 )

In terms of presenting: know what you are talking about. Talk about something
interesting. We don't need another "the Internet is a dangerous place" talk.
There are too many of those, mostly by salescritters from various vendors.

On the other hand, you don't need to be massively expert in something to do a
good pres. Look into the latest buzzword, find out what it actually *means*,
figure out if it actually *is* something new (it usually isn't), and explain to people
what is *is* good for--and what it *isn't*. Do a little analysis, don't just make it a
rah rah sales pitch, and you've probably got a pres. For example: NFTs. Look a
bit into the tech for digital cash, the differences between actual digital cash and
cryptocurrencies, why blockchain is contributing to global warming, the fact that
both cryptcurrencies *and* NFTs are based on rampant speculation and little
more, and you can probably put together a presentation based on that. (Maybe I
will.)

In terms of presenting virtually, well, *lots* of tips.

(Watch the nightly news, and pay particular attention to the people who are being
virtually "interviewed." Notice what annoys you about them. This will give you
lots of tips on what to avoid, or not do, in a virtual presetation.)

- Do not sit too close to your laptop, computer, or Webcam. Many people sit
closer to the camera than the camera can focus, and are thus blurry the whole time.

- Do not use virtual backgrounds. You're not fooling anybody, and it never works.
It always makes a weird halo around your hair, and usually a sort of shadow trail
when you move.

- Do be aware of your actual background. It shouldn't be *too* plain, but it
shouldn't be massively busy, either. Avoid stuff that *you* find cute, but have
nothing to do with your talk. Look at yourself, on screen, and be critical of what
you see. Test with "calls" to friends or family members, and get critiques from
them. Some people are actually buying "Zoom" art (real paintings) to have
interesting stuff in the background, but I'm not sure I'd go *that* far. (If you do,
buy something at least five feet wide, and not *too* busy.)

- Pay attention to lighting. It should illuminate your face, not just the background
of your room. (In fact, a slightly dark background is probably good.)

- Note that, when you are looking at the pictures of people on the screen, you
aren't actually making "eye contact" with them, from their perspective. You
have to look at the little dot on the laptop screen frame that is the actual camera.
(For some people, this point is really difficult to understand, and it takes an awful
lot of practice.) Making "eye contact" is one of the things that makes people
trust you, and trust that you are telling them something interesting and valuable.
It is one of the things that is lost in the "body language" during virtual
presentations, is part of "Zoom fatigue," and is surprisingly important.

- Buy a separate USB microphone. Built-in microphones on laptops usually don't
give you much control, and you may not be loud or clear enough for people to
easily hear you when you present. It doesn't have to be "studio quality": You
probably don't need to spend more than $100.

(Maybe I should do a presentation on how to do virtual presentations ...)

======================
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