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How To Make Your Presentation a Success

When I was 18, I attended a pre-university engineering camp. Someone asked “Who likes doing presentations?” and I put my hand up. In truth, I’d never done one and I had no idea what was involved and didn’t go well.

Skip forward thirty years and I’m Head of Engineering and still making a mess of presentations. You learn though, and you realise that it’s not life and death, it’s just an exchange of information.

So, here’s my top 7 things you can do to make your presentation a success:

  1. Talk about something you actually care about. It sounds simple – but presenting something that you’re not invested in emotionally makes it hard to connect with the material.
  2. Introduce yourself – this can be the hardest part – who am I? What do I stand for? What am I doing up here? Make sure you cover this off and you’re happy with your intro but keep it as short as it needs to be.
  3. Keep the presentation simple – if you can land one point, you’ve done well
  4. As few slides as you can get away with. And not very much on each slide.
  5. Do not attempt to make jokes. If you have something funny to say then say it, but don’t play for laughs. People are there to learn something, not to be entertained necessarily.
  6. If you’ve got a technical subject to talk about – don’t make it a presentation, make it a workshop. Make it interactive. Long presentations on technical subjects are not an efficient mechanism for imparting knowledge.
  7. And the most important thing I’ve learnt is overprepare and that short presentations take a lot longer to prepare than long ones.

I’m going along to DevOps Days in Eindhoven this Thursday and Friday and perhaps I’ll see you there? Who knows – perhaps we can discuss presentation styles ๐Ÿ™‚ ?