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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
Kyle's picture

Lots of good points here....

Lots of good points here. Framing an idea by introducing it, stating it, and then summing up what you've just said feels stupid, but in the moment as an audience member it's invaluable.

My contribution is that if I ever feel lost or disoriented during a talk I cling to three things. 1. What is my central point? 2. Who is my audience? 3. If I've made the first while keeping the second in mind, I stop talking. Immediately.

I can't tell you how many times I've seen someone forget one of these points. A great speech, but then says something inappropriate. Talks warmly and charmingly, but doesn't seem to have a point. Great out of the gates and kicks ass, but then loses his/her nerve and rambles on and on, repeating herself.




An Oblique Strategy:
Honor thy error as a hidden intention


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