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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
mary Laiuppa's picture

Here are the notes I...

Here are the notes I took from a workshop on how to do great powerpoints:

blue background yellow text Georgia instead of Times Verdana instead of Geneva/Helvetica for ALL CAPS No more than six words per line No more than six lines per page. Use graphics/pictures instead of text when possible.

Give them the facts on a handout. Use the powerpoint to tell stories.

Knowing the audience, knowing the message and knowing the limits when using PowerPoint.

Audiences want presentations about them -- their needs, their goals, their objectives. A presenter needs to be able to relate their message to the audience. Who is the audience and what are their needs? How does the topic address the audience's needs? Will more time be spent analyzing the audience or creating slides? Audiences want the message to be simple, clear and passionate.

The survey found that PowerPoint can be a powerful tool in communicating a message, although the caveat is to use it sparingly. Simple slides clarify the message, while complex slides cloud the message. Does the presentation need slides? Are the slides simple? Could someone read the slides from the back of the room?




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