Technical Communication UK 2011 balanced sessions about industry standard methods (such as personas and minimalism) and about seemingly marginal topics which turned out to be highly relevant and “fresh”.
- Andrew is a professional who’s helping specifically IT people to become better presenters.
- He walks the talk. He lives his own advice, so his presentation was not just an example, it was an embodiment of how to get your point across.
Andrew shared five things which, in his experience, make a good speaker:
- A presentation is neither a document, nor a performance, so:
- Don’t write out your soundtrack and read out your slides. Limit slides to what you cannot describe quickly, pictures, charts, etc.
- Don’t try to perform, you just set yourself up for unnecessary stress and failure, unless you are a regular, seasoned performance.
In the subsequent Q&A session, Andrew answered our questions. Most useful to me were these tips:
- Reformulate highly specific questions to repeat them (many listeners may not have heard it…) and so they stay generally relevant, then answer them.
- Talk to an individual person in the audience. There is no crowd, there’s only the individual, 400 times…
- A good general template for a presentation is to spend the first 15-20% on the elephants in the room and to spark your listeners’ curiosity. Then make a point and back it up by a story. Repeat point + story 3-5 times. Close by leading towards your outcome, which is what you want your listeners to do after your presentation.
– Andrew’s session was very relevant and quite influential for me. I heard it 20 hours before Chris and I were due with our own presentation. We were both there and couldn’t very well go ahead with our document of dozens of slides with bullets and text.
So rather than doing a run-through, we took out most text slides, leaving the pictures and examples and the bullets with big points. But it worked very well, and was very well received. So I can confidently say that Andrew’s tips actually work – even if it’s only your second presentation at a conference as it was for me! 🙂