Guidance on giving presentations
The graze tech team do regular knowledge transfer/learning sessions that we lovingly call Snackademies. These are usually technical but can be non-technical as well. They can be about things like some internal tool or process, a new technology someone has encountered or a conference someone has been to.
The format might be a freeform discussion but most of the time they involve a presentation of some sort. We have some guidance on things to think about beforehand that we thought others might find useful when delivering presentations. These will all have an impact on how you prepare for the talk and how the talk will go.
Who is the target audience?
This will help you decide what level to pitch the talk at.
- Is it a focused audience or a mix?
- Are they people you know or don't know?
- Are they technical or non-technical?
- How much do they already know about the subject matter?
How long is your allocated time?
This will help you determine what level of depth/breadth to go into. It will also help you assess how long to wait for latecomers.
Does this include time for questions?
- Only relevant if you are allowing questions. See the dedicated questions section below.
What do you want the audience to take away?
This will help you decide what goes into your talk. Everything in the talk should contribute to these goals.
- Do you want them to learn something new?
- Do you want them to go away and try something?
- Do you want them to understand enough without the need/desire to go and learn more?
- Are you trying to convince them to take a particular course of action?
How many people will there be?
This will have an impact on how interactive your talk can be. This becomes more impractical the larger your audience.
How big is the venue?
- Is it big enough for the number of people who are coming?
- Are you able to make yourself heard?
- Will everyone be able to see your presentation and/or other visual aids?
What equipment is available?
You should scout out the venue beforehand to ensure that it has everything that you need. You don't want to scramble around at the start of the talk looking for cables and things. Showing up five to ten minutes beforehand would be ideal to get things set up.
- Are there enough chairs?
- Is there a Chrome box/Apple TV/HDMI cable or whatever other piece of technology you need?
- Is there a whiteboard with working pens?
Make sure your approach to questions is conveyed at the start.
- Do you want questions only during dedicated question times (eg. at the end)?
- Do you want people to ask questions as and when they arise?
- Do you want people to note down questions to be handled at a later date?
Most of the time what you are talking about is not straight from your head, so acknowledge people or resources involved.
- If anyone helped you, be gracious and mention them with any attribution if appropriate.
- If you used any resources, list them. It gives people a jumping off point if they want to continue with some independent learning.
So what do you think? Are you going to try using this? Is there something on the list you disagree with? Is there something you think we have missed? Let us know!