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Open Thread: Your best tip on doing presentations

As I mentioned yesterday, I'll be leading a discussion on Tinderbox and "the trusted system" tomorrow. Probably running a few Keynote slides, but mostly just casually chatting with a small group of enthusiastic Tinderbox fans.

I'm not a seasoned public speaker by anyone's estimation, so I've made my share of rookie mistakes in the past (hint: avoid doing a rambling, overlong talk without slides at ETech; people get confused, hungry, and eventually want to defenestrate you).

So, as I prep myself for tomorrow, I turn to you guys:

What's your best presentation tip? What's the "never break it" rule for PowerPoint/Keynote decks? What's your favorite site, article, or link on great presentations? How do I get that Lessig-, Jobs-, or Veen-like fu that makes audiences so giddy? (Self-links are okay within reason here)

I'll be over here imagining people in their underwear, but I'd love to hear your best advice on this stuff.

Update 2005-11-19 21:37:26

I've posted the slides from my talk today along with links to some of the posts and cool applications I mentioned.

Summary: went well! Very enthusiastic group -- great questions and conversations. And no one threw rotten vegetables. Elin liked it, and that's good enough for me. :-)

TOPICS: Off Topic, Tips
Susan Kitchens's picture

To the "know what you're...

To the "know what you're going to say" parts, I'll add this: Know how long it will take to say it.

What's the alloted time you have? Break down the talk into your 1-2 minute intro, your first 5 minute segment, your second 5 minute segment, the little extra longer bit that's 7 minutes, and then ... and so on throughout your talk. Know how long it will take to do each part. Be aware of your time. Stay aware of your time.

I like the advice to "know it so well you don't need notes" but keep your crutch-y cheat sheet notes. And mark the time on it. So you know that you begin this segment at 11:02, and start that segment at 11:04... and so on throughout your talk. If you think through the time elements beforehand, and yes, practice it on your own, talking out loud to the empty room you'll end up flowing through it more smoothly than if you only rehearse it in the perfect auditorium within your head, where time slows down while you grasp for that other point.

As to keynote/powerpoint, heck, I dunno. When I've done these kindsa speeches w/ computers, I'm usually demo-ing software, so I'm making the computer DO something, rather than displaying bullet pointed phrases.




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