Building Better Security Presentations

Write The Abstract

One last alternative is a talk you’ve given before. I’m mixed on that. Original content is key but audience matters more than anything. I’ll be talking through this process with a case study of a talk I’ve given before (once at a closed, very small event and once in a different hemisphere) and I’m giving again (for SANS CTI Summit). I’m fine doing this since 1) I basically rewrote the talk since the format (time) moved from 15–45 mins 2) the audience is completely different 3) for CTI Summit I’m adding the content and stage presence of Matt B.

Homemade Ramen & Threat Intelligence: A Recipe for Both

Julia Child said “No one is born a great cook, one learns by doing.” The same thing could easily be said of threat intelligence analysis. In this talk you’ll learn the recipe and techniques for building an in house threat intelligence capability (as well a a great bowl of ramen). The focus will be on what you can do today, now, regardless of budget, fancy feeds, or background. Chef’s knife not required.

Write Your Outline

Tell ’em what you’re gonna tell ’em.

Tell ’em.

Tell ’em what you told ‘em.

Outline Slides

Pick a Theme & Gather Pictures, Fonts, & Colors

Font Aside: My friend @rtankrowbar had a great point about typefaces. Fonts aren’t embedded in presentation files, they’re installed on the system. That means when you send the file you don’t send the fonts. This is complicated if you’re not presenting off your own system. I’ve sent fonts to conference tech staff (they hate it), but mostly I try to use built in fonts for whatever application the conference is using. The alternative is web based tools like Google Slides where the fonts are included, but I recommend asking the conference organizers their preference.

Projectors vs Non-Projectors: Presentation medium makes a huge difference. Contrast is especially important if you’re using a low power projector in a bright room. If, just say, you were doing a webcast or going to be in a known dark room with a high power projector then you can be a little less particular about these.

SpeakerDeck: Introduction to Open Source Security Tools

Build The Content

Practice your Slides

Wanna go for bonus points? Keynote lets you record your practice.

Aside: When in doubt timing wise it’s better to be short than long. This is doubly important if you are the last presentation before a break like lunch or the end of the day. Five mins early: You were concise. Five mins over? You’re causing problems for organizers, annoying the person after you, and look sorta like a blow hard. It’s a fine line.

Give your Presentation

Another Aside: Like a gun always assume a mic is ready to be used. Once you’re mic’d up assume everything you say is going to everyone and anyone. Even if it’s not over the public address system the venue may record and you don’t want to find out the hard way.

I work for GitHub. If you haven’t used GitHub before we’re a sticker and t-shirt company but we’re getting into git hosting and I think it’ll be big for us!

Welcome to <INSERT NAME OF THE TALK>! This is my three and a half hour lecture on <INSERT CORE TOPIC>! <LOOK TO THE SIDE CONFUSED> Oh… I don’t have three hours? 45 minutes?! We better get started!

Here’s a good GIF for early in a presentation. RIP though… maybe not a good one.

I was presenting in Brazil at Mind The Sec. It was a great event. However I made a mistake in preparation. I put my presentation together assuming I could present of my own laptop, a 2016 MacBook. If you aren’t an Apple fan you might know what’s coming but if not the beauty (and in this case downfall) of the Macbook is it only has one connector and it’s USB-C. You need dongles. And I was prepared for that, I had my usual go to USB-C ➡️ HDMI adapter ready to go.

Except the venue didn’t have HDMI connector but only VGA. So they asked me to transfer it to a PC. Sadly I was using Speakerdeck… which is Mac only. Not great. So what did I do? Took a draft version of the presentation, which I’d started in Keynote, exported it to PowerPoint, and gave them that. The content was all there, but zero styling… none. So what did I do? Laughed at myself, was extra descriptive, and did my best to hit my points. What happened? Well everyone told me it was great. I choose to believe them.

Call Attention to your Presentation

Getting Started Speaking in Security

Conclusion & Resources

TLDR: Your images are too small, your fonts are too small, you have too many words, your colors don’t have enough contrast.

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