20 February 2013

Presentation Stuff

I'm sitting at the Microsoft MVP Summit, one of the few conferences where I don't have to present. Sitting in the audience always triggers reminders for my presentations. I'm putting some thoughts here for me and maybe to help others.

  • Bottom Line Up Front. Don't save the big reveal for the end. Put it in early and then talk about it, justify, explain. If you build to a big reveal, it's got to be huge to overcome 55 minutes of boredom. By huge I mean, you better give me a car when you are done.
  • Tell a story, don't write a book. Like the first point, we want stories but stories don't have to start at the beginning. Start at an exciting point.
  • The description of the session cannot be specific and detailed enough. More info is always better. Type, level, experience, expertise, etc. Session description/delivery disconnect is a an absolute killer.
  • Giveaways build goodwill. Giveaways exclusive to your session build more goodwill. Good giveaways build even more goodwill.
  • Tactful honesty is the best approach to difficult subjects. Raw honesty is funnier but it can come back to bite you. Dishonesty will get you killed.
  • Stephen Rose has a heck of stage presence.
  • I love the idea of a track moderator who may or may not be a speaker. If a track is in the same spot all day the track moderator helps close out a session, open the next session and keep people on track, what's next, etc.
  • Depending on the forum, be willing to toss the presentation.
  • Be willing to tailor your presentation as much as you can. (See session description) If you walk into a room and find  a majority of attendees are really advanced or really new to whatever you are talking about, adjust.
These thoughts are in addition to all of the other rules. Practice, a lot. Know your material. Have a point and make it, your presentation is not your slides, etc.