Technical Presentations

(by Bill Mckeeman, DEC/Compaq)

A technical presentation, like a chain, is as strong as its weakest link. The links are confidence, context, content, structure, focus, delivery, visuals, handouts, humor, preparation...

Here are some guidelines. The first rule is:
    There are no absolute rules. Use your head--do what works for you.

Ten Commandments

  1. Know your audience
  2. Know your material
  3. Set the context
  4. Use logical order
  5. Size the talk to time
  6. Use simple visuals
  7. Use complex handouts
  8. Make eye contact
  9. Make ear contact
  10. Prefer quality over quantity

Seven Deadly Sins

  1. Stretching the truth
  2. Being boring
  3. Losing the audience
  4. Putting ten pounds in a five-pound bag
  5. Writing illegibly on the board
  6. Speaking unintelligibly
  7. Being arrogant

Ten Commandments

1. Know Your Audience

2. Know Your Material

3. Set the Context

4. Use Logical Order

5. Size the Talk to Time

6. Use Simple Visuals

7. Use Complex Handouts

8. Make Eye contact

9. Make Ear Contact

10. Prefer Quality over Quantity

Seven Deadly Sins

1. Stretching the Truth

2. Being Boring

3. Losing the Audience

4. Putting Ten Pounds in a Five-Pound Bag

5. Writing Illegibly on the Board

6. Speaking Unintelligibly

7. Being Arrogant

Final Advice

Have a buddy score your dry run. A fresh set of eyes and ears is very valuable. If you break most commandments and commit most sins, completely rework your talk. If you break some commandments and commit some sins, do another dry run.