Friday, December 10, 2004

When it is time to don the presenter's hat, ...

One video clip interests me during my regular visit to Channel 9. Don Box, well known (or notorious) for his highly-rated presentations reveals his presentation secrets. It's quite obvious he's not a big fan of Powerpoint. ;-) Anyway, here are some of his pointers for an attention-grabbing techie presentation:

  • Focus on the goal of giving a talk e.g. changing the thought-process of the listener.
  • Do something that gets and holds the listeners' attention. Whether you give a talk from a bathtub or have a flamenco band to harmonize with you, find a style that works for you.
  • Less is more. Use the minimum amount of code to convey an idea e.g. Use Hello World type examples. More people will have a chance of relating to it. Likewise, speaking less gives more too as listening is a taxing task.
  • Don't confuse concepts and facts. Facts shouldn't show up in a talk. In a talk, facts blur the truth. Feed concepts to your audience.
  • Use legible font. On Windows, use at least 14-point font.
  • Default highlighting in Visual Studio is not suitable for presentation. Change highlighting color to something contrasting on projection.
  • Take advantage of modulation. Modulation controls attention. Modulate the speed of talk. To emphasize a point, speak slower. Also, modulate pitch and intensity. e.g. for contrast, switch to speaking quietly.
  • If things go wrong, like failed demos, use the situation as some pedagogical device and use it to your advantage.
  • Don't cramp till 4am in the morning preparing for a talk. Better be restful and alert for a talk.
  • Powerpoint is a means to an end, not an end to itself. Meaning: Powerpoint is an aid, not the talk.

No comments: