Presentations: PowerPoint sheets are not enough

During the Dutch Landelijk Architectuur Congres (LAC) congress, I visited a lot of presentations during the two days of the event. Some presentations were better than others, and this was usually not because of the subject.

During the presentations, I made notes, which I want to share with you here. Not all of the observations and tips are from the LAC congress, I will regularly amend this article if I find more tips in other presentations I attend. If you are to give a presentation, please take notice of the following:

To start: Make sure all technology works. Nothing is as disturbing as oscillating microphones, or microphone clips falling off of jackets or ties. It is very unprofessional to let the audience wait for you to startup your laptop, PowerPoint application or beamer.

The first slide should be on the screen before the first members of the audience enter the room and the microphone must be tested too. Also make sure your laptop is fully charged (yes, I've seen it happen, someone started searching for his laptop charger in the middle of a presentation). Also seen in practice: During a presentation a Windows message popped-up every 5 minutes, stating that automatic updates were installed and the laptop must be rebooted. A bit negligent in a room with 60 people...

So far for the technique, now for the content.

Do not make an agenda stating every part of your presentation. No one finds this an interesting part, and it takes all of the surprises from your presentation. Better start with: “Today I will tell you something about...”.

Don't put too much information about your company in the presentation. No one is interested in how many countries your company has offices in, what your stock value is, or your complete product portfolio. It is better to present the essence about your company: “Nokia is the world leader in mobile communications hardware”. After this, you can state the most inportant problem your company is facing: “Our biggest challenge is to put as much electronics as possible in a increasingly smaller housing”.

Most presentations have way too much PowerPoint slides. This makes presenters panic halfway during a presentation. They go faster and faster through their slides in a race against the clock. I never encountered any presenter with too few slides.

Text is to be spoken, not read out loud during a presentation. Slides should present pictures you cannot tell. I once saw a presentation where some slides with much text were shown and the presenter said “I will be quiet for some time now, so you can read this slide”. If I wanted to read the information, the presenter could have emailed a text instead.

Pictures must be explained, as they might not be obvious to all of the public. Also make sure the pictures in your presentation are consistent with each other.

Practice, practice, practice. Practice out loud, preferably using a colleague as the audience. It is immediately obvious to the audience if a presenter has told the story more than once. Because you practice your presentation, you  know how long it will take, and you know what slide comes next.

Don't talk too fast. You know your story, but the audience hears the story for the first time. Therefore, also be sparse with abbreviations that are known to you, but not known by the audience.

Make sure your presentation has one subject only. If you have more than one main subject, after your presentation the audience will only remember the last subject presented.

Try to learn from professional presenters, like TV hosts or stand-up comedians. Why is everyone listening to them? Usually because they tell an interesting story including some humor.

Try not to make your presentation boring. Let your voice vary in tone and try to make it a “performance”. Steve Jobs, the CEO of Apple, is a master of presenting, because he is an entertainer.

End your presentation with a statement: “Nokia, Connecting people”. Statements will be remembered.

Here is a nice description of a good and a bad presentation.

More presentation tips can be found here.


This entry was posted on Friday 24 November 2006

Earlier articles

Infrastructure as code

My Book

DevOps for infrastructure

Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)

(Hyper) Converged Infrastructure

Object storage

Software Defined Networking (SDN) and Network Function Virtualization (NFV)

Software Defined Storage (SDS)

What's the point of using Docker containers?

Identity and Access Management

Using user profiles to determine infrastructure load

Public wireless networks

Supercomputer architecture

Desktop virtualization

Stakeholder management

x86 platform architecture

Midrange systems architecture

Mainframe Architecture

Software Defined Data Center - SDDC

The Virtualization Model

What are concurrent users?

Performance and availability monitoring in levels

UX/UI has no business rules

Technical debt: a time related issue

Solution shaping workshops

Architecture life cycle

Project managers and architects

Using ArchiMate for describing infrastructures

Kruchten’s 4+1 views for solution architecture

The SEI stack of solution architecture frameworks

TOGAF and infrastructure architecture

The Zachman framework

An introduction to architecture frameworks

How to handle a Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack

Architecture Principles

Views and viewpoints explained

Stakeholders and their concerns

Skills of a solution architect architect

Solution architects versus enterprise architects

Definition of IT Architecture

What is Big Data?

How to make your IT "Greener"

What is Cloud computing and IaaS?

Purchasing of IT infrastructure technologies and services

IDS/IPS systems

IP Protocol (IPv4) classes and subnets

Infrastructure Architecture - Course materials

Introduction to Bring Your Own Device (BYOD)

IT Infrastructure Architecture model

Fire prevention in the datacenter

Where to build your datacenter

Availability - Fall-back, hot site, warm site

Reliabilty of infrastructure components

Human factors in availability of systems

Business Continuity Management (BCM) and Disaster Recovery Plan (DRP)

Performance - Design for use

Performance concepts - Load balancing

Performance concepts - Scaling

Performance concept - Caching

Perceived performance

Ethical hacking

Computer crime

Introduction to Cryptography

Introduction to Risk management

The history of UNIX and Linux

The history of Microsoft Windows

The history of Novell NetWare

The history of operating systems - MS-DOS

The history of Storage

The history of Networking

The first computers

History of servers

Tips for getting your ITAC certificate

Studying TOGAF

Is your data safe in the cloud?

Proof of concept

Who needs a consistent backup?

Measuring Enterprise Architecture Maturity

Human factors in security

Master Certified IT Architect

ITAC certification

Open group ITAC /Open CA Certification

Human factors in security

Google outage

SAS 70

TOGAF 9 - What's new?

DYA: Development without architecture

Spam is big business

Why IT projects fail

Power and cooling

Let system administrators participate in projects

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

Archimate

A meeting with John Zachman

ITAC - IT Architect certification

Personal Information is Personal Property

The Irresistible Forces Meet the Movable Objects

Hardeningscheck and hack testing for new servers

Knowledge management

Information Lifecycle Management - What is ILM

LEAP: The Redmond trip

LEAP: The last Dutch masterclasses

What do system administrators do?

Is software ever finished?

SCADA systems

LEAP - Halfway through the Dutch masterclasses

Securing data: The Castle versus the Tank

Non-functional requirements

LEAP - Microsoft Lead Enterprise Architect Program

Reasons for making backups

Log analysis - Use your logging information

Archivering data - more than backup

Patterns in IT architecture

Layers in IT security

High performance clusters and grids

Zachman architecture model

High Availability clusters

Monitoring by system administrators

What is VMS?

IT Architecture certifications

Storage Area Networks (SAN)

Documentation for system administrators

Rootkits

Presentations: PowerPoint sheets are not enough

99,999% availability

Linux certification: RHCE and LPI

IT Infrastructure model

Sjaak Laan


Recommended links

Ruth Malan
Gaudi site
Esther Barthel's site on virtualization
Eltjo Poort's site on architecture


Feeds

 
XML: RSS Feed 
XML: Atom Feed 


Disclaimer

The postings on this site are my opinions and do not necessarily represent CGI’s strategies, views or opinions.

 

Copyright Sjaak Laan