--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- [..HOME..][..TOP POSTS..][..NEW DROP LIST..][..LINKS..][..ADVERTISE..]

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Presentation Tips for the Technical Professional

As professionals, we are often experts in our own area of expertise. Be it the salesman trying to sell something, or the marketing executive presenting his or her plans to management. In the workplace, we often have to make technical presentations to an audience.

Here are some tips that can help you the next time you are delivering a technical presentation.

Tip 1: Limit the use of Overly Technical Jargon

The longer we specialise in a certain area, the more we use to such phases. Hence, it is natural that we will tend to use such technical jargon in our presentations. Some people like to use lots of technical jargon as they perceive that it will appear to make them appear more knowledgeable and hence more convincing as a result. However, what usually happens is that they end up confusing and distancing their audience.

Use common words that the audience will understand and this will help them to follow your speech, as well as to establish rapport. Remember, speeches usually involve simpler words compared to technical writing.

Tip 2: Use Examples and Analogies to help Explain

Instead of saying “cigarette smoking kills over a thousand people each day,” use an analogy such as “imagine taking out a cigarette and lighting it up, in the 5 minutes needed to smoke that cigarette, 4 people would have died as a result of smoking. Will you be one of the four the next time you light up?

Simple analogies relating difficult terms to common everyday experiences allow the audience to better understand your message.

Tip 3: Limit Excessive Details

We are bombarded with thousands of messages each day and are flooded with loads of information. Do you think that the audience will want to know exactly how everything works? Usually, the audience just wants to know the main points and how it can benefit them.

By the end of a speech, the audience would have already forgotten about most of the content. So do avoid boring your audience and leave the details till only when specifically asked to elaborate further.

Tip 4: Use Appropriate Visuals

If possible, complement your presentation with appropriate visual aids and use them appropriately. The use of visual aids could be the topic of a discussion by itself so I’ll only mention the main points here.

If you are presenting using PowerPoint, avoid displaying excessive text on your slides. Keep this rule of the thumb in mind. Limit your points per slide to a maximum of 7 and keep each point below 7 words.

Avoid reading excessively from your slides. Your audience can do it for themselves. A good PowerPoint presentation usually involves the presenter listing the main idea on the PowerPoint slide and elaborating upon the idea in his or her own words.

Use pictures and visuals to help emphasise as well as to highlight your main points. This will help engage the audience rather than just words or no visual aid at all.

Tip 5: Keep your Presentation Interesting and Funny

This is perhaps the most important point. By the nature of its content, technical presentations are inherently boring, so you will have to do your best to keep your audience entertained. A good method to keep your presentation lively is to keep your voice sounding lively. You can learn the basics of a better vocal presentation here.

Do inject some personality into your talk. Always remember to try to wear a smile if possible. This helps you to appear confident as well as project a positive sense of well being to your audience.

Do remember to apply these guidelines and start giving better technical presentations at work today! Achieve better interpersonal communication in the field of business!

No comments: