The Power of Public Media

Published: 7 years ago

Presentation Technique

(short on time? TL;DR)

How to Present

Know your Audience

Be aware of who your audience is, and what experience they already or don’t already have. Try to put yourself in their shoes, as if you were attending the presentation that you’re preparing for. Think about what questions your audience will ask, and what they want to get out of your presentation.

Know your content

This is the reason your audience cares about your presentation. Recognize when you’re presenting facts and when you’re presenting opinions. Make sure you’re open about that distinction. Acknowledge when you don’t know everything, but be confident in what you do know. Provide resources to additional information when applicable. As you build/refine your presentation, constantly ask “If I attended my presentation, would I want to know this?”

Give Examples

Start with small simple examples in your presentation. Remember when you were first learning the content of your presentation. It didn’t come in one big information dump, and most people don’t learn like that. Show the first struggle you ran into when learning the related content. Show the steps you took to over come it, and what the new result was. Try to give 2-3 simple quick examples that aren’t quite there, then show the final product. Walk through the final product quickly, glossing over any details that you explained in the more simple examples, and really focus on the details that make this final example interesting. This is the culmination of the presentation. The ‘Aha’ or ‘Gotcha!’ moment. Be observant of your audience to see that they experience this, and don’t be afraid to prompt for questions if you don’t feel like the audience is on the same page as you.

Wrap it up

Finally, know when to end. If you feel that your audience isn’t engaged, and you don’t have a plan to get them engaged, just wrap up your presentation. On the flip side, stick to your time limit, even if people are asking lots of questions. Either give them a way to reach you later so you can answer more questions, or consider a follow up presentation.

TL;DR

Personally, specially on the web, I find there are times when I want to know all the juicy details, and times when I just want the broad brush stroke. Consider adding a TL;DR (Too Long; Didn’t Read) version of your presentation for people who just want the summary so they can move on.


TL;DR

 

How to Present

Know your audience

Put yourself in your audience’s shoes and the knowledge they have/don’t have.

Know your content

Separate fact from opinion, and make those clear. Be sure to ask the question ‘Is this what I want to learn about if I attended my presentation?’.

Give Examples

Start simple, explain your struggles, and build to a final complete example. Show where your failed and how you turned it around to succeed.

Wrap it up

Stick to a timeline, and don’t drag it out if your audience isn’t engaged. If there’s too many questions either schedule a follow up presentation or have a way for the audience to reach you after the presentation.

TL;DR

Write a quick summary of the presentation for people who either missed it or didn’t care for the details, but still cared about the presentation as a whole.

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