How to give a presentation without sucking

Wed, 01 Feb 2006 16:45:47 +0000
rant lca

So not everyone can be a brilliant speaker like Damian Conway, but you can at least apply yourself to the standard of not sucking.

Here are some ideas not on how to be a good speaker, but just how not to suck.

Turn off your screensaver.
Do you have any idea how annoying it is when the overhead flickers on and off every minute?! It is a really brilliant way to distract your audience. And it will also distract you as you have to wake up your laptop every minute.
Use a large font size.
If you are presenting a subject to nerds, then chances are a large portion of them have sucky eyesight, so just bump the font size up a couple of points, please. On the plus, this means you will have less crap on each slide, therefore making your slides better anyway.
Look at the audience, not the overhead screen
Eye contact is nice, back contact less so. Don't look around at the screen to work out what you are talking about. Most laptops let you have it show what is on the screen, so if you must cheat, look at the laptop screen, not the overhead screen.
Don't mumble to yourself
If you realise some problem or something during your presentation, don't mumble about it to yourself. Just move on -- the audience probably won't notice it anway.
Stick to your allotted time
If you are given a 20 minute speaking slot, speak for no more than 20 minutes. Otherwise you run the risk of the next speaker hating you for taking up their time, or the audience hating you because they want to get morning tea. (Note: You may be able to get away with this if you are a really good speaker, and enthrall the audience, but not if you are just an ordinary speaker.)

P.S: I'm not saying I'm a good speaker, I'm ordinary at best, but I do try best not to suck.

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