I’ve not spoken at as many conferences as some, but I spoken at a few and in that time I’ve started to build a survival kit that is serving me well.
I am NOT being paid to promote any of these products and some are appearing because it is what I had available to me when I needed the item.
** END IMPORTANT**
I’ll start with the cute argyle cloth and the lens cleaning wipe. These serve two purposes. First, if you wear glasses, give them a good cleaning before your talk. The second purpose, clean your laptop screen.
Seeing your notes is important, even when you’ve given the talk several times, seeing your notes can help keep you on task. Smudges can be super distracting and why not just start your talk with a nice clean screen and glasses (if you wear them).
Lip balm. Speaking requires you to well, talk. Talking means, for most, that you will have to move your lips. Conference halls are often very dry places and lips can dry out. Keep them moisturized! This will eliminate yet another possible distraction.
Eyedrops. I suffer from dry eyes, but again, places where you would typically give a talk have some sort of climate control and usually those dry out the air. I usually put drops in my eyes about 14 to 20 minutes before I give my talk. Can not stress the importance of being able to see your slides and notes.
Dry Mouth Lozenges or Gel. Right before I give my talks I will use one of these. I recently switched to the gel which is great because I don’t want to have to spit out a half used lozenge right as I’m going up to speak (YUCK). What these products do is moisturize your mouth and when you take sips of water during your talk it helps keep your mouth moisturized longer.
Bandages. I’m accident prone. I could cut myself with a grape. This makes me anxious before having to go on stage to speak. Have I yet needed to use one? No. It just helps to know I have one in my pocket if I did happen to get a paper cut or something. Sometimes you just need a little insurance to make yourself relax so you can concentrate on your talk.
Mint. Even with the dry mouth product I still feel like I’ve been licking sandpaper by the time I’m done talking. I also know from experience that people will want to talk to you after you have finished, which is awesome, and I will quickly have a mint of some sort as I’m clearing off the stage before the next speaker.
Things that aren’t pictured:
Shoes. I wear the same pair for every talk. Again, I’m personally accident prone and having shoes that are familiar keeps me feeling comfortable and ready to give my talk.
Giving your talk a dry run at a local user group. This isn’t a thing, so much as something that really helps me refine what I’m presenting. It gives me a lot of insight to areas I didn’t consider covering. This is one of the reasons I really love the Python community, the user groups are an amazing place to get feedback on a talk you are going to give or an idea you want to propose.
I’m sure as time goes by I will add to this list. I hope others find it helpful. If you have anything you would like to share as part of your speaker’s survival kit tweet it to me @geekgirlbeta