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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
I-Wei's picture

1) During your run-throughs, notice...

1) During your run-throughs, notice words you might overuse to segue to the next idea, the word "so" is one of the most often abused. Reduce the number of times you use it or it'll start sounding like fingernails on a chalkboard.

2) In the spoken portion of your slide presentation, introduce each slide and make a summary statement at the end of each. These do not have to be on the slides themselves, but it will help the audience remember what you are presenting and prepare them for the next slide.

3) Know your material(concepts and ideas) backwards and forwards so you can avoid overpracticing. Once you've said the same thing enough times, it's hard not to lose that zest in your presentation and bore the audience to death. There should be enough information on the slides to cue your presentation so that you won't need notes.

4) Pause 1 second at the beginning of each slide to allow the audience to see what's on it before you start speaking.

5) I've found that the best way to practice and polish your presentation is to do it on a chalkboard or presentation pad, writing out the important statements and confusing words, draw the diagram in the way that will emphasize what you want to get across. It helps immensely with pacing and emphasis of all the right parts.




An Oblique Strategy:
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