What makes a good presentation (at SEARUG)?
I’m not a professional speaker, and my workday does not typically include addressing large groups of people. However, I’ve sat through thousands of presentations, both large and small, and have spoken at lots of conferences over the years. Here are my thoughts on what makes a presentation both memorable and valuable.
- Ask others what they would find useful – Before you even start creating your presentation, ask your colleagues what they are interested in, and what might make a good presentation. You might even find volunteers that will present with you.
- Create / provide documentation to go along with your slideshow – Although your presentation will be seen first by those in your audience, remember that others in the HEUG community will likely review your presentation and the attached documentation at a later time. The resources attached to the various presentations made at HEUG conferences are one of the greatest benefits available to HEUG Institutions.
- Do not let the presentation tool detract from the presentation message – Be simple and uniform with your slides, use a consistent and easy-to-read font, and stay away from fancy slide transitions. Finally, don’t make the slides too dense with text. You can add text to the Notes section, or provide a handout if needed.
- Practice your presentation in advance – As with all things, practice will help improve a performance. Run through your presentation several times before you make it, and if you can find an audience on campus for your dry run, so much the better.
- Make it personal – To make your presentation more memorable, add personal anecdotes and examples. People are hard-wired to remember stories, and if you can provide context for your topic, your audience will retain it longer.
- Leave time for questions at the end – You will have questions after you finish your presentation. Remember to leave some time at the end to interact with your audience. Also, bring business cards!