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Tips for a Great Presentation

Fellow PASS director Rushab Mehta pointed out a really good URL for those of you who are contemplating speaking for the first time.  Take a look at:


Written by the Microsoft Regional Director of Chennai, these presentation tips contain many gems.  I think these should be required reading for anyone considering standing up in front of a crowd for a technical presentation.  I’ve encountered more than a few ‘worst practices’ out in the field – speakers who obviously haven’t learned Venkatarangan’s tips.  Here are some of the bigger blunders that I’ve encountered lately:


  1. General Rule #8:  Don’t stare at the screen of your laptop all the time.  (I’ve sat in plenty of presentations where the presenter must’ve been terrified of the audience because eye-contact was something they clearly avoided.)

  2. Health Tip #3: Keep water handy.  (I’ve seen more than a couple speakers suffer with dry throats and/or hot lights shining down on them without anything to quench their thirst.)

  3. Technical Tip #3: Each slide averages 3-5 minutes of talk time.  (There’s only one thing worse than sitting through a presentation where the speaker sits on a few slides for a long time, unless they say demo, and that’s when they sit for a long time on a LOT of slides.)

  4. Slides Tip #2: Slides are only pointers.  (Some speakers tell you exactly what is on the slide.  Yawn!  I can read for myself.  Tell me what’s not on the slide!)

  5. If any of you had attended my “Translating Between Oracle and SQL Server” session at PASS 2003, then you might cite me for messing up on General Rule #10.  I accidentally stepped right off the end of the stage!  Thank goodness I didn’t fall on my face.  <blush>

I hope this little tip of the iceberg gives you an idea of all the goodies you can find in  Venkatarangan’s blog entry.


There is at least one entry that I’d add to his list.  One important Q&A technique that many speakers now use is to ‘Repeat to the entire audience any question that you hear from the floor’.  This has two benefits.  First, it ensures that you understood the question properly.  And second, it ensures that the question is captured if the session is being recorded in any way.  Are the any changes or additions you’d make?






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