Co-existance

I’m no Scot Hanselman, but even then I guess I can share at least one tip for delivering technical presentation that has worked very well for me.

At the very beginning of your presentation always have a slide clearly calling out what the attendees will “Take Away” and what is the “Pre-requisites'” of attending your presentation. Presentation titles sometime mislead and is generally not enough to indicate what a presentation is all about.

Benefits of calling out key take-away

  1. Helps you focus on what you want to convey and you can take feedback from the attendees on whether you met the expectation that you set.
  2. If an attendee feels he already knows about the topic or is not really interested for some other reason he can leave at the very beginning. No point wasting anyone’s time.
  3. You can direct discussion/questions. If someone tries venturing into an area you intentionally don’t want to cover you can get the discussion onto the right track. When I give my GC Theory talk I call out very clearly that the presentation is not about how either .NET or .NETCF implements GC and inevitably when someone ventures into some .NET implementation detail and I use this to get back to the main course.

Benefits of calling out pre-requisite

  1. Just like you need to ensure you are not wasting the attendees time by calling out take aways, you should ensure that you are not wasting your time trying to explain garbage collection to device driver programmers :)
  2. Explaining basic stuff to one attendee (who raises them) and wasting the time of all other attendees who already know the answer is not a good use of anyone’s time. _ASSERT on the pre-reqs and ensure that you are clear about what baseline knowledge you are expecting out of all the attendees.

You can learn more real presentation tips from Scot’s post and maybe then one day you’ll earn a feedback comment “The presentation was superb. I think this is the first presentation for which I was completely awake” and try to figure out who that one was ;)