How to come up with a topic for a technical report
In the book, Anton explores in detail, including the choice of topic, and gives recommendations, many of which are suitable not only for articles, but also for reports.
It is convenient to present the result of our searches in the form of a checklist. To make a list of suitable topics, take a piece of paper, a pen and write:
What hurt you
What tasks did you solve
What inspired you
Topics you have mastered
Books, articles, reports, podcasts that resonate with you
Topics you would like to understand
Here are your potential reports. Of course, not every item on this list can be turned into a speech. The list needs to be filtered.
You have solved a problem at work. How long did it take? If several days, then you will tell about the decision in a few minutes. This is not enough for a report. At large conferences, reports last an average of half an hour. Experienced speakers can make a report for forty to sixty minutes. The organizers also accept twenty-minute speeches, but twenty minutes is the minimum.
To make a report, you need to expand the topic, for example, add similar tasks or reach a qualitatively new level – talk about solving a class of problems. Think about whether it is possible to expand a not very large topic, and – if not – feel free to cross it out.
You may have a specific context that not everyone understands. You can take an average specialist and give him the necessary input, but how long will it take?
For most reports, you can easily increase the audience by two orders of magnitude with a little introduction. Estimate how big the introduction to your topic will be. Five or ten minutes is good, twenty minutes is very bad.
Let’s get back to our monads. There are dozens of articles on the Internet about monads and the same number of reports. The problem is that the university semester, or the entire second half, is devoted to monads Lipovach’s books. To understand them, you need to read the book and solve at least some of the problems.
You can’t tell a big topic in forty minutes, so cut mercilessly. You may be able to find a regular size theme. Or you can make a series of reports. The cycle is not something you can go to a conference with, but it is perfect for internal meetups. For a novice speaker, a cycle is always bad, because it takes a long time. Start with small topics to gain experience in preparation, then move on to large ones.
Small topics need to be expanded, large ones need to be cut. All this takes time. Your list will have a few heavy topics and a few lifting. If your report has a customer, discuss the topics with him – he will tell you which ones are more priority.
In the end, of all the topics recorded, you will end up with a few of the most suitable ones. This is your starting point for the future – each of these topics can be a good technical report.
Going beyond the borders
Let’s take a look at the horizon. Now you have managed to find a topic for the report. The topic search trick will work a few more times.
If you plan to give talks regularly, topics from personal experience will quickly run out. And that’s the problem. Sharing knowledge requires a lot of knowledge. To develop a personal brand, you need a lot of reports.
Where can we find an infinite source of themes if the ways we have discovered are finite? We have no control over how many unpleasant situations will happen to us in the near future. We are not capable of solving difficult problems one by one. Moreover, we cannot be experts on many issues at once. Making reports in one area, we will inevitably repeat ourselves.
Fortunately, we know who to turn to for help. Similar problems arise for writers who constantly need topics for new stories, novellas and novels. And we know that professional writers have no shortage of topics. How do they do it?
The Writer’s Approach
Writers have two main ways. First, they expand their own horizons. They are well erudite, read a lot and have a lot to tell. They can create new thoughts simply by collating information from different sources.
Second, writers stop relying on personal experience when searching for topics. Human life is limited – it is impossible to live through all the stories that prolific authors write about.
Every writer has a secret notebook where he writes down interesting incidents from his life. Articles in newspapers, stories of friends, own ideas.
We need to do the same if we want to become professional technical speakers.
Making pet projects
See what the neighbors have
We run into unexplored territories
Starting a secret notebook
In a year, two or three, you will have a pool of questions that are interesting to you and that you could talk about. This doesn’t mean you don’t have to prepare. But, at least, at the request of the conference organizer, you can always get two or three suitable topics out of your sleeve.
And you can start a secret notebook right now.
As they say, the pots are not fired by the gods, and the journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step. It’s time to sit down with a pen and notepad, choose a topic, and start preparing your report. ahead autumn conferences. And some more conferences.