I delivered my first presentation today, at the RittmanMead BI Forum.I was really nervous in the hours and minutes leading up to it, but once I got up there and started talking I actually quite enjoyed it. If you were in the audience, I’d love some feedback in the comments section below, particularly any “constructive criticism”. I obviously didn’t make too much of a mess of it, as I was awarded “best speaker” of the event, which was a great honour. Hopefully I’ll get the opportunity to present again soon, perhaps at an UKOUG event.
You can download the presentation here.
Whilst I was writing the presentation I went through a lot of versions (iterative, huh), as having never delivered a presentation before it took me a while to figure out how to go about writing it. Here are my thoughts that I jotted down during the process, and which hopefully may help someone else:
- You’re writing a presentation, not a paper. You don’t have to cite every reference or prove every example.
- You’re writing a presentation, not a classroom training session. You don’t have to necessarily detail every step to do what you’re doing.
- What do you want your audience to leave with?
- What are you adding by being there that they couldn’t get from a well written blog post or white paper?
This post was useful: Creating technical presentations
I’d strongly recommend talking through your slides, ideally with a colleague but even to your dog – you’ll find some transitions really grate, and some slides you’ve talked about before even getting to them and skip over - that’s a sign you should drop them.
Someone mentioned “The Curve” to me, and if you think of good presentations you’ve been to you’ll know what it means - that idea of a start, the chunky bit, and the gentle ending - all of it carrying you with you on well, a curve. It’s a good concept to aim for.
Finally - possibly trite, but something I found to be true: The presentation will write itself. How’s that work? Well do a version, and then leave it for a week, completely alone. When you come back to it you’ll be fresher and some bits will be obviously superfluous or missing detail.
Here’s a link to a previous posting with some good advice on writing a presentation. One which I found particularly helpful was to remember Pete Scott’s advice – the audience will be on your side (hopefully!). It’s not a sales pitch to a sceptical audience, it’s sharing your knowledge with others who will find it interesting.