Five indicators for your presentation success

If you ever present in a technical conference, you should know these five indicators that help you to decide if your presentation would be a success or a disaster.

1. Are audience able to present your talk to themselves faster than you do it to them?
  • Most of the speakers in a typical tech conference cram their slides with all the talking points so much that they merely end up reading off of their projected slides.
  • If you are one of them ... then you have already failed....
  • If every thing you wanted to present is in the slides, you might as well not attend the session.
  • Remember! people can read faster than you speak and you will loose their attention after a mere 4 minutes if you don't offer some thing worthwhile to listen to.
  • NEVER have more than three bullet items in a single slide. Never use font size less than 18. Never ever use phrases like ' the slide is self explanatory ... '
2. Are you able to make your audience listen?
  • When you are presenting , content is NOT the king.... you are!
  • If you don't know how to speak confidently and coherently ... then you need to practice your talk. Buy a digital voice recorder and a full length mirror. Practice always makes you perfect.
3. Are you running your animated slides on a timer ?
  • If you have animated slides which describe a temporal sequence of actions or work flow or simply some thing cool, please make transitions to happen after a mouse click or key press.
  • Never ever discount the chance that you would be interrupted in the middle of an animation sequence to clarify or to expand on a point. Trust me! You will be ..
4. Can you visualize your points of presentation?
  • A picture is always worth more than a thousand words. If you can't present the core idea of your slide using a graphic, you can't explain it in words on 10 slides.
  • Try to present findings. not data.
  • Use graphs, charts, motion charts, cartoons, movies
5. Can you eat up into the time slot of next speaker with your Q&A session?
  • Try to present hypotheses / summaries. Not arguments. You are not a lawyer. This will present a lot of scope for useful Q&A at the end of the talk as well.
  • If you plan to present till the end of your time slot, then you are inviting failure. Please leave sufficient time for Q&A in your time slot.
  • If the Q&A session extends well into the time slot of the next speaker, then you have generated enough interest in the audience to grab their attention. This is one of the sure signs of a successful presentation.
Make sure that your slides do not substitute for you. You are the presenter.... not the presentation.
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