How to shape a talk for ProductCamp Cincinnati

When you submit a talk for ProductCamp Cincinnati, you don't have to have the entire idea mapped out. In fact, many past presenters submit a talk idea and work out the details in content and format afterwards (but ahead of the camp itself).

You can structure the format of your talk however you wish: it is your passion and content, after all. But to get you started, here are seven format ideas to explore for your talk.


The Town Hall

By far the most common at ProductCamp Cincinnati, you'll share 5-20 minutes of prepared material on an informative topic, open-ended question or premise; then let the open discussion within the room commence.

The Pecha Kucha

This one is just fun. Drawing its name from the Japanese term for the sound of “chit chat”, it rests on a presentation format that is based on a simple idea: 20 images x 20 seconds. It’s a format that makes presentations concise, and keeps things moving at a rapid pace. Check in with a local network of Cincinnatians that practice this presentation style for some tips.

The Lesson

If you’re inclined to teach, this can be simple and effective. Bring the equipment that you need, and have a plan that will let you teach the audience how to do something all at the same time.

The Show and Tell

You have a cool project, a demo, or just something to show and let people play with that is the springboard for all the conversation in the session. Alternatively, you can invite others to bring their own items to show and tell (perhaps with a theme), and everyone takes a turn sharing.

The Panel

Know several people qualified to offer interesting viewpoints on a particular topic? Wrangle them into your talk! This format works best if the panel includes people with diverse or even counterpoint perspectives or roles.  You can act as (or select a) moderator to facilitate questions from the audience or a series of prepared questions for the panelists.

The Question and Answer

You have a question you want to know the answer to, and you think others in the group could help you answer it. This format could also just be the seed of a broader conversation. Consider breaking out into small groups to identify possible answers with each reporting back to the larger group.

The Thesis Presentation

This is tricky, because it’s difficult to make a formal presentation interactive and engaging. If you're used the presentation successfully before, have great energy and activities around it, or have formulated a well-developed idea, you can pull it off.