Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Delivering a better presentation / training course. No. 16. Learn from other presenters.

This is the sixteenth in a series of posts where I plan to discuss my ideas, tips and best practices for delivering a great presentation / training course. Learn from other presenters.

This one is so simple.

If you have the opportunity to sit in on another presenter's course/presentation, do so. Even if the subject is not one that you need to learn about.

I have already spoken (and will again) about learning what it is you want to present.

Today I want to focus on presentation. i.e. how you present the content and not the content itself.

There are many aspects to a great presentation. For example, use of visual aids, pace, knowledge, engaging the audience etc.

A great way to pick up great techniques is to watch others present and if whilst watching you are impressed/inspired by something that the presenter did or said, then you are likely to try and emulate that in your future presentations.

Perhaps they advanced the slide right on cue whilst maintaining eye contact with the audience mid sentence and stood 10 feet away from their computer. Now doesn't that make a change from having to walk back to the keyboard so that you can press Enter?

Now they are obviously using some form of remote control device. Who would have believed it in this day and age? Why not give it a try? Go find the remote and don't forget the batteries.

Perhaps the thing that inspired you was the way the presenter smoothly increased the font size in Visual Studio without the faff(technical term) of opening up Tools / Options (whilst the audience looked on)?

There is no shortage of presentations to watch online if you are minded to.

I tend to watch several presentations per week. Some of them I watch because I want to learn about something specific. Other times, I might simply want to watch inspirational presenters at work.

If you have some time to spare, I have selected two videos for you to watch.

One presentation is aimed at developers whilst the other is about user experience - UX.

I have picked up one or two techniques from these presenters in the past but what these two presentations reveal to me the most is their passion!

Many of you will have heard of Scott Hanselman. Here is a presentation he gave at DevDays in the Netherlands last year (2011). If you don't speak dutch, perhaps you would like to follow the second link to the moment when he walks on stage. Then again, you might for comedy value sit through 9 minutes of Dutch warm up.

DevDays Netherlands 2011

DevDays Netherlands 2011 (the bit where Scott Hanselman walks on stage)


The second presenter is Bill Buxton who I saw give this talk a couple of years ago at Mix. Now I am not a designer but that didn't matter. I was more interested in his presentation style. However, I found him so informative, that thanks to him I know a great deal more about design and user experience.

Mix Las Vegas 2009


I love what I do.

I love learning about new technologies and how they work.

I love designing and developing new training courses.

What I love the most though (family and farm aside), am passionate about in fact, is delivering my courses to audiences who go away at the end knowing more about the technology than they did when they walked in and have perhaps been inspired to implement their skills upon their return to work.

When I lose the passion for presenting then it will be time for me to retire behind the farm gate and concentrate on getting Harley (my horse) to jump just a little bit higher without me falling off.



So. Tip # 16? Learn from and be inspired by other presenters.

See you soon

Phil Stirpé
"I don't do average!"


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