Presentation observations
23 March 2007 in Events, Mindscape | Comments disabled

Lately I’ve delivered a few presentations as you’ll likely know from my previous posts. I thought I’d write a few thoughts on what I’ve found while doing them. To set the scene for those who haven’t attended my recent talks, the audience size has been between about 150 to 500 people. Quite large by my standards, certainly the largest audiences I’ve spoken in front of.

A few things I’ve learnt from doing these presentations:

  • The first words are the hardest, get them out and you’re fine.
  • When you’re mic’ed up you don’t even notice it after about 3 seconds of speaking, I was a tad concerned about that.
  • The intense nerves you get before speaking are actually good if you can turn them into energy when you speak.
  • Check if you have a “nervous tick”, mine was saying “Good Times” which while amusing to most, I tried to ensure I didn’t say it too often after the first presentation.
  • Make sure you have some water, a dry throat tends to hit you suddenly.
  • Be ready for bright lights, often you can’t see the audience very well because of it (which can be a good thing if you’re nervous).
  • Look around the room, even if you can’t make out the faces you should look like you’re talking to the people.
  • Try to use pictures and less words on your slides, you’re less likely to read the slides to the audience and it’s more interesting to the crowd.
  • Don’t name your last slide consistently as “Call to Action”, the audience learns and reads it as “Pack up” when it’s potentially the most important message of the presentation :)
  • Many more things but I won’t go on :)

One thing I’d also suggest is that you find somebody who has done these types of talks before to work with when you first do them at this size. I was fortunate enough to doing them with Jeremy there as well who I’m pretty sure has done about a million big audience talks. He was really useful for being able to answer any questions I had and for making sure I didn’t let me imagination run away on me about how intimidating the audiences could be (I found the audiences great, I ended up feeling quite relaxed by the end of the presentations). So a big thanks to him.

Now I’m thirsty for some more presentations, that nervousness is like a drug :)

- JD


    5 comments. Add your own comment.

    Eddie says 26 March 2007 @ 12:27

    Hi JD, I attended your presentation in Wellington and it was excellent. Keep up the good work.

    I’ve been trying to get a copy of your presentation file from the Microsoft website at http://www.microsoft.com/nz/events/techbrief/agenda.mspx
    , but the link to the file is failing. Could you check with MS, or perhaps put a link to the file on you blog?

    Thanks.

    traskjd says 26 March 2007 @ 14:49

    Thanks for the comment Eddie.

    I’ve contacted Microsoft about the link issue. You can find the presentation downloads here:

    http://blog.bluecog.co.nz/index.php?s=presentations+ppt

    – JD

    Daniel says 28 March 2007 @ 22:34

    I was at the Auckland MS technical event – your presentation was great and my collegues and I really enjoyed it.

    However “good times” has become a recurring joke around the office, one person will say it and it’ll be repeated at least 3 or 4 times by everyone else present for a cacophony of good times…

    traskjd says 28 March 2007 @ 22:38

    That’s great Daniel, thanks for the comments.

    As a side note, everyone at Mindscape says “Good Times” a lot. In fact Jeremy Boyd is now trying to get me to be the #1 Google result when searching for “Good Times” by always linking to my blog with that term!

    Glad to know I’m bringing laughs to your office :)

    – JD

    JD’s Blog » Tech Ed NZ 08 is a wrap says 11 September 2008 @ 00:16

    [...] is in relation to my saying “Good Times” about 200 times in a presentation last year when I was extremely nervous with my first [...]