real world programming

Presentation is everything.

Posted by kevinup on December 16, 2007

So the other day I was at a presentation that went horribly wrong.I’ve never done a presentation at a user group or conference, but it is on my to-do list. I feel like I’ve seen enough presentations that I know what do to, and not do. 

Star and End on time:
Don’t wait another 5-10 minutes to start, and make sure you end when you said you would. As long as you make available your power-point, or code, the stragglers should be able to get what they missed. As long as you provide you contact information, people can ask any lingering questions that didn’t get answered in the allotted time.  

Practice your presentation:You could tell that the guys just hadn’t gone end-to-end on his presentation. He would drop some code in or make a small tweak and everything would blow up. At least 3 of his examples ended with him saying ‘this is really cool, but its not working, I’ll fix it during our break’. 

Don’t read to me:Don’t just read the power point bullet points out loud to me. I’ve been reading a long time, and just to hear you say it isn’t going to be any different than me reading it. If you are going to use some bullet points, expand on what it says. 

Figure out your hardware:I was at one presentation once, and it was painful to watch him use a mouse. In another presentation, the presenter kept stopping and asking everyone in the audience to turn off their wireless mice. Personally I think you should use a wired laser mouse, or at least have a backup that you are used to. 

Don’t deviate from your presentation:Make time for a little Q&A as you go, but you’re still trying to keep things going. If the question isn’t related to what you’re talking about or is going to require a lot of time to answer, suggesting coming back to it at the end if time allows. Also if you are showing code never make changes to it that come from the audience…. Ok, maybe never is a little strong, but make sure you are comfortable with the suggested change that you know it will work, and won’t require a lot of time. I guess those are my heavy hitters for me. I’m curious to see what other peoples’ pet peeves are if you have any I’ve missed.


One Response to “Presentation is everything.”

  1. Jayme said

    Put a joke in your presentation and show some excitement. Drives me crazy when people are 100% flat-lined with no passion at all. It’s good to remember the geeks are here and excited like you, show it.


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