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Listening to technical presentations.

My reception of technical presentations can vary depending on how well I'm prepared. Things I'm going to list might seem obvious at first, oh yeah you know them all, but the tricky part is to actually do it.

When going to a technical presentation...
  • Make sure you understand the jargon.
    Collect the vocabulary that is related to the subject and might pop up in the talk. Search through related mailing list archives or just lurk on one of them.
  • Have a general understanding of how stuff works.
    Familiarize yourself with the programming language, protocol or product that the presentation is about. Most importantly, look at other languages, protocols and pieces of software designed to do more/less the same thing and try to compare the differences.
  • Try to stay focused during the presentation. If you lose concentration only for a split second you might get out of sync which turns out to be a little discouraging.
  • Take bullet point notes during the presentation, expand them afterwards.
  • Always follow up with some hands-on exercise, e.g. install the software, set up the network configuration, do some coding.

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