Jesse J. Anderson

A Simple Guide to Teaching What You Don't Know

Ever wanted to speak at a conference, but didn't know what to talk about? The answer is simple, teach what you don't know.

Find a topic that interests you but doesn't make sense

Even better if you can't find any good tutorials—this means you've found an opportunity.

Write down all the questions you have

This is key. You will never understand your future audience more than right now. Capture what it feels like to know nothing about your topic.

Research and find the foundation

Look for the basic blocks of knowledge to build on. Any "aha moments" while researching are a sign to write it down.

Search for connections

Build on your foundation by finding essential truths. Try to see where you can explain 2 or 3 ideas in a single neat package. Your goal is to connect ideas and then compress them into the smallest form that makes sense.

Look for the story

You need a narrative to pull your audience through this complicated topic. An overarching story will keep them on the path even when things get extra complicated. Provide your audience with easy to remember metaphors for retaining knowledge.

Find a hook

Too many talks start with who I am, where I work, what my talk is about, etc. Cut all that.

Instead, grab the audience with a hook, an unanswered question that leaves them wanting more.