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Lance Wulfers

At a .Net User Group meeting this week, I experienced two poorly prepared speakers floundering through presentations….  As a Lead Technologist at the company I work for, I have experience training technical staff and also giving presentations at code camps.  Here are a few guidelines for aspiring speakers you might find helpful…

 

1.       Do not stand in front of your audience and read your slides.  This is  offensive to your audience and not what they came for...  Your slides are there to reinforce the information you are presenting and to give the audience a little clarification on some terms you may use and as a visual aid for some complicated issues.

2.       Have someone review your presentation (slides, notes, …) who speaks the language you will be presenting in fluently.  Also record at least ten minutes of your presentation and have that same person review that.  One of the speakers this week used the word “Basically” fifty times in less than thirty minutes…  I started to flinch every time he used the term.

3.       Be Prepared  -  before the presentation begins.  Don’t make any last minute changes to your presentation or demo code the night before.  Don’t patch your laptop or demo servers the night before.  If possible create a virtual image that you only use for presentations and use that (refreshed before every presentation).

4.       Know the level of expertise of your audience.  Speaking above or below their abilities will make or break your presentation.

5.       Deliver what you promise. The presentation this week was supposed to be on BDD (Behavior Driven Develpment).  The presenter completely ran off track and 90% of the discussion was how his team mistakenly used TDD (Test Driven Development), and was unhappy with the results.  Based on his loss of focus we only heard a rushed 10 minute presentation on DBB which was a disservice to the audience.

6.       Practice your presentation with your own small team before you try this on a room full of people you don’t know.  A side benefit of doing this with your own team is that you can get candid feedback from your team and also get kudos for training your own team.  I find I can also turn my presentations into technical white papers and get a third benefit from the work I’ve put into a presentation.

7.       Sharpen your own saw.  Pick a topic that is fairly current.  Something you would like to learn about and would benefit your current career path.

8.       Have fun doing it.
Posted on Friday, June 1, 2012 4:09 PM | Back to top


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