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Become A Powerful Technical Speaker In 7 Simple Steps
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Become A Powerful Technical Speaker In 7 Simple Steps


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  • As engineers we do good work. We tell people about the good work that we do in a number of different ways, but giving a presentation is the most powerful way that we have to communicate. When we deliver a presentation, the audience sees us as the expert source of information on what we’re talking about. If we do a good job, then we can change the world because of our presentation. If we don’t do a good job, then we’ll leave our audience dazed and confused. They won’t remember what we talked about and they’ll feel unfulfilled -- they didn’t get what they came for. I’ve developed a way that you can transform your next presentation into a powerful communication session. I call my system the Clear Blue Technical Presentation System. During our brief time together today, I’m going to reveal the entire system to you and teach you how to use it to take your presentations to the next level.
  • This is a 100,000 ft view of the Clear Blue Technical Presentation System The TPS gives you all of the steps that it takes to create a great presentation that will make a positive impact with your audience. From left to right you move from creating your presentation to delivering it From top to bottom you move from the mental activities of thinking about how you want your presentation to look and feel to the actual tasks that you need to go through to make it happen. The TPS represents over25 years of in-the-field experience in creating technical presentations that not only work, but work well. We’ll be doing the speed learning version of the course: you won’t be able to absorb it all, but you will get some of it and that will make your next presentation that much better.
  • x
  • 1.1. Know your purpose [Why not just distribute a document?] 1.1.1. Technical work can come alive for your audience 1.1.2. You can read the audience and react to them 1.1.3. You get instant reaction
  • 1.1. Know your audience 1.1.1. What are the three questions my audience would most likely ask me about this subject? 1.1.2. How much do they know about this topic? 1.1.3. How willing will they be to accept your ideas?
  • 1.1. What kind of speech is this? 1.1.1. to inform 1.1.2. to persuade 1.1.3. to inspire 1.1.4. to teach 1.1.5. to entertain
  • In today’s business world, the activity of “data mining” has become the only way that firms can sift through mountains of information and understand what it is telling them. Many times our technical presentations are not so much about complex technology as they are about lots, and lots of data. When we give technical presentations, we have no shortage of information. Our real problem (and the value that we bring to our audience) is that we sort through all of the available information and we present just what is needed in a way that leads to a conclusion. What this means is that you audience could get the info that you are presenting anywhere. It’s how you organize it that is providing them with the real value that they’ve come for.
  • At the beginning of every technical presentation, your audience is asking themselves one question: why should I listen to you? You need to answer this question right off the bat. One of the best ways to get (and keep) their attention is to tell stories. How did you come to be there? Why do YOU care about this topic? Let your passion convince your audience that you are qualified.
  • Start with an outline (so that you can see it from start to finish) Don't just create the first slide, add slides, and then stop when you've covered the topic – that will create a wandering presentation Sample outline: Intro, History, Conclusion, Q&A Make 3-5 points the focus of your presentation
  • This is the $1M waterfront property part of your speech – don’t waste it by putting a trailer home there. Your audience spends the first 30 seconds of your speech trying to get the answer to one question: should I listen to you? Strong opening (start the story, what are they going to get out of this?) 1.1.1. “Mapping” slide 1.1.2. Background – Why is the work needed / important? 1.1.3. Big picture Don’t say “Before I begin” Don’t apologize for being nervous Don’t read the introduction Don’t use a dramatic, irrelevant opener Don’t make the introduction too long
  • 1.1.1. 1/3 for all, 1/3 for 80%, 1/3 for 50% 1.1.2. Details of work – May be more technical 1.1.3. Theories, formulas, tables, figures, etc. 1.1.4. Verbalize connections between points 1.1.5. Transitions: A word or phrase that signals when a speaker has finished one thought and is moving onto another. These are the turn signals necessary for changing lanes. 2 parts to a transition: Transitions state the idea that the speaker is leaving (the review part) and the idea that the speaker is coming up to (the preview part). Ex: Now that you know what the TPS report is (review), I will discuss its functions (preview).
  • 1.1.1. Review – What did the work contribute? Remind audience why it was important. 1.1.2. The ending summarizes main points and places those results in the context of the big picture 1.1.3. Conclusions 1.1.4. Offers audience a sense of closure 1.1.5. Reinforces thesis Don’t drag out the conclusion Don’t end on a weak or rambling note Don’t introduce new points Don’t say “so in conclusion”
  • 1.1. Create: Research 1.1.1. Know your material well 1.1.2. Be able to talk about your subject at many different levels from the abstract to the specific: not just the "what", but also the "how" and the "why" 1.1.3. Goal: "Here is what the system does, here is how it works, here is why it's built that way." 1.1.4. How to create slides that show numbers
  • 1.1.1. Bring numbers to life with analogies: Don’t say an acre is 43,560 square feet. You’ll connect better with an analogy: “an acre is the size of a football field without the end zones.” 1.1.2. Bring numbers to life with stories.
  • Bad things Using awkward y-axis increments Don’t make your graph lines too thin – they can be hard to read Don’t make your graph lines too thick – they can hide important details
  • Keep any graph labels that you use nice and concise – they should be no longer than one short sentence
  • Keep it to 4 or fewer lines Purpose: you are trying to compare and contrast different data series Label your lines directly Don’t use any far away legends Don’t use dashed lines or those different shaped markers (circles, squares, triangles)
  • Don’t use lots of multiple colors Don’t make your bars too narrow Do NOT use 3-D bar charts!
  • The width of the individual bars should be roughly 2x the space between them Shading is a good way to distinguish between bars Always start at a zero baseline
  • No zebra patterns – don’t use alternating dark / light bars Going from lightest to darkest is ok
  • Negative numbers can never go up! Negative numbers can never go to the right!
  • Largest segment goes on top Next largest segment goes clockwise No more than 5 slices in a pie Using multiple colors for slices is bad, using different shades is good Don’t do too much – use multiple shadings and pull a slice out 3-D charts are bad! Feel free to highlight an important slice
  • Exclude details that the audience does not need or cannot remember Make Sure You’re Grammar is Correct Affect v. Effect Affect (verb) influence or change Effect (verb) bring about or (noun) result Whose v. Who’s Whose means belonging to whom Who’s is a contraction of who is Your v. You’re Your is possessive You’re is a contraction of you are Its v. It’s Its is a pronoun indicating possession It’s is a contraction of it is
  • Fonts Use Microsoft sans serif fonts Use readable font sizes 40 point Title 28 point Heading 24 point Sub-headings 18 point References and Labels 1.1. The Abuses of Capital Letters 1.1.1. Bullet points typically have one capital letter at the beginning 1.1.2. Just because You think a word is Important does Not mean it should be Capitalized 1.1.3. ALL CAPITAL LETTERS MAKE IT HARDER FOR YOUR AUDIENCE TO DECIPHER WORDS TYPE SET IN ALL CAPITALS IS READ SLOWLY BECAUSE EVERY LETTER MUST BE READ.
  • 1.1. Color 1.1.1. The color combination that is read most quickly is black on yellow.
  • The Rule of Thirds is a guideline for composition that suggests placing key graphic elements along lines which divide your image into thirds, or at the intersections of those lines. Rule #1 – Place Key Elements of Your Composition at Power Points Rule #2 – Place Key Elements of Your Composition Along Horizontal Lines Rule #3 – Place Key Elements of Your Composition Along Vertical Lines Rule #4 – Place Key Elements of Your Composition at Power Points and simultaneously on Dividing Lines
  • Bring screen shots as a backup!
  • Don’t show everything about that which you are demoing!
  • 1.1. Highlight in your notes difficult pronunciations or phrases that need emphasis or a slower rate of speaking 1.2. Practice in a room similar to where you will present 1.3. Imagine the audience to whom you will present 1.4. Always practice out loud 1.5. Plan movement and gestures 1.6. Practice with all of the equipment you will use 1.7. Practice 7 to 11Times 1.7.1. 1st Practice: Use notes and try to get a sense of the rhythm of the speech 1.7.2. 2nd to 4th practice: Make notes of difficult transitions, phrases, or words 1.7.3. 5th to 7th practice: Focus on how to maintain freshness and energy without making the speech seemed “canned” 1.7.4. Practice two more times beyond the point of pain…you’ll know it when you get there
  • 1.1. Establishing Credibility 1.1.1. KNOW that you KNOW your stuff 1.1.2. KNOW that you ARE an expert 1.1.3. Speak loud enough 1.1.4. Look at your audience 1.1.5. Don’t assume your audience knows 1.1.6. Be in control at all times Watch for audience’s non-verbal feedback and adjust your rate, content, or eye contact for them There are differences between giving a presentation and dropping off a document Retain your credibility by adjusting to your audience
  • 1. Timing: Ready, Set, Stop 1.1. Assume 2-minutes per slide 1.2. How to add timing notes to a slide No audience will ever be unhappy with you if you finish early!
  • Stand in one spot, make a point, move, make a point Face Hands 40” TV gesture box
  • 1.1. Show passion 1.1.1. Eye contact 1.1.2. Smile 1.1.3. Tell the audience why you are excited to be there 1.1.4. Open palms 1.1.5. Don't hold a slide clicker (you menace the audience by pointing at them) 1.1.6. Don't speak to your slides 1.1.7. Ask questions – or at least ask them to think about things
  • Who here has been to a comedy club? Billy Crystal story Intro: Who are you and why are you here? 1.1. What do you communicate with eye contact? 1.1.1. * Confidence 1.1.2. * Preparation 1.1.3. * Trustworthiness 1.1.4. * Authority
  • 1.1. Principle 2: Leave lots of time for Q&A. 1.2. Handling Questions and Answers 1.2.1. Repeat the question when people ask one 1.2.2. Decide who will answer which types of questions 1.2.3. Decide when questions should be asked 1.2.4. Introduce “new voices” 1.2.5. Use welcoming body language 1.2.6. Reword the question before answering 1.2.7. Say “I don’t know” if necessary (you can always find the answer later and get back with the person)
  • 1.1.1. Check the room 1.1.2. Bring your presentation on a reliable disk 1.1.3. Check the presentation projection 1.1.4. Decide how loud you must speak 1.1.5. Decide where you and your audience will be located
  • 1.1.1. Practice dramatically reduces nervousness 1.1.2. Nervousness is natural. The key is to use the nervous energy to speak loudly and energetically 1.1.3. Try breathing exercises 1.1.4. Do a run-through 1.1.5. Don’t eat a big meal before presenting 1.1.6. Use the bathroom before getting up on stage 1.1.7. Intend on “working the room” Turn an audience into a room full of people that you know 1.1.8. Tighten up your muscles and relax them while waiting to speak (this releases the adrenaline) Focus on a time in the future when the presentation will be done
  • Meet the audience before you start to speak: turn strangers into friends
  • 1.1. Slides are props, not a teleprompter 1.1. Good Delivery… 1.1.1. Is clearly audible, fresh, and energetic sounding 1.1.2. Is a polished version of yourself 1.1.3. Looks and sounds natural 1.1.4. Is human, not robotic or like a TV news anchor 1.1.5. Has controlled and planned body movements 1.1.6. Is extemporaneous (don’t read slides!) 1.1.7. Is always focused on the goal (speak so your audience will understand) Your slides provide a backdrop that supports the words that you are saying
  • 1.1.1. Voice 1.1.2. Movement 1.1.3. Stage presence
  • Self reflection – what should I do differently next time?
  • Take time to review and understand
  • Ask your team: if you had to sit through it again, what would you want to be different?
  • Plan -- binder -- feet Organize -- little storage box -- knees Create -- table with you in the middle -- hips Demo -- angry picketers -- back Rehearse -- curtains -- shoulders Present -- gift box -- end of nose Improve -- clown -- head
  • Transcript

    • 1. Become A Powerful Technical SpeakerIn 7 Simple StepsDr. Jim Anderson / (@drjimanderson)
    • 2. Research Purpose Edit Purpose Intro 7x Next Audience Qualifications Plot Outcomes Anticipate Q&A Practice Time Speech Type Outline Review Anticipate Credibility Checklist FeedbackPrepare Deliver Plan Organize Create Demo Rehearse Present Change 1 Strong Text Preparation Timing Nerves Collection Take-Away Opening Middle to Movements Make Color Script Discussion Close & Gestures Friends Stronger Images & Limited The Role Energy Close Positioning Scope of Slides 3 Components / 813.418.6970
    • 3. A Good Technical Presentation StartsWith Good Planning 3
    • 4. Purpose 4
    • 5. Audience 5
    • 6. Speech Type -- 5 To Choose From •to inform •to persuade •to inspire •to teach •to entertain 6
    • 7. Organizing What You Want To Say Is The KeyTo Clear Communication 7
    • 8. Qualifications 8
    • 9. Outline 9
    • 10. Strong Opening 10
    • 11. Middle To Close Close Middle Opening 11
    • 12. Stronger Close 12
    • 13. Creating Your Presentation Is Where You NeedTo Match Your Images With Your Words 13
    • 14. Research 14
    • 15. Edit 15
    • 16. Plot 16
    • 17. Line Graph 17
    • 18. Plotting Multiple Data Sets On A SingleGraph 18
    • 19. Bar Graph 19
    • 20. Horizontal Bar Graph 20
    • 21. Horizontal Bar Graph 21
    • 22. Negative Bar Graph 22
    • 23. Pie Charts 23
    • 24. Area Graph -- Blood Pressure 24
    • 25. Area Graph -- Farming 25
    • 26. Bad Bar Graph 26
    • 27. Review Back To School Time: •Affect v. Effect •Whose v. Who’s •Your v. You’re •Its v. It’s Too Much Detail! 27
    • 28. Text • Use Microsoft 40 point Title sans serif fonts 28 point Heading – Sans Serif 24 point Sub-headings – Not Sans Serif 18 point References and Labels • Use readable Avoid using 12 point font or smaller font sizes • Use appropriate color combinations 28
    • 29. Color• Avoid loud, garish colors… dark text on light background is best.• Avoid text colors that fade into background, i.e. blue and black 1%• Avoid color-blind combinations:• Red and green 5%• Blue and yellow 0.001% Most Effective Combo! 29
    • 30. Picking The Right Colors Using Microsoft’sPaint Program 30
    • 31. Pick A Color That You Want To Use As YourMain Color 31
    • 32. Microsoft Paint Will Tell You What R,G,B ValuesMake Up That Color Red: 214, Green 104, Blue: 103 32
    • 33. Adobe’s Online Program Kuler Will Tell YouWhat Colors To Use With Your Main Color 33
    • 34. Images & Positioning: The Rule Of Thirds 34
    • 35. Demos Can Add A Great Deal To A TechnicalPresentation … But They Are Dangerous 35
    • 36. Purpose 36
    • 37. Outcomes 37
    • 38. Anticipate 38
    • 39. Preparation 39
    • 40. Script 40
    • 41. Limited Scope 41
    • 42. Knowing How To Rehearse Is The Key ToDelivering A Good Technical Presentation 42
    • 43. 7x Practice 43
    • 44. Credibility 44
    • 45. Timing 45
    • 46. Movements & Gestures 46
    • 47. Energy 47
    • 48. The Presentation Is Where You Get To Shine AndConnect With Your Audience 48
    • 49. Intro -- It sets the stage for the rest of yourpresentation, don’t leave it to chance! 49
    • 50. Q&A 50
    • 51. Checklist 51
    • 52. Nerves 52
    • 53. Make Friends 53
    • 54. The Role Of Slides + = 54
    • 55. 3 Components 55
    • 56. Every Technical Presentation Is An OpportunityFor You To Learn How To Change 56
    • 57. Next Time 57
    • 58. Feedback 58
    • 59. Collection 59
    • 60. Discussion 60
    • 61. What Do You Remember? 61
    • 62. Research Purpose Edit Purpose Intro 7x Next Audience Qualifications Plot Outcomes Anticipate Q&A Practice Time Speech Type Outline Review Anticipate Credibility Checklist FeedbackPrepare Deliver Plan Organize Create Demo Rehearse Present Change 1 Strong Text Preparation Timing Nerves Collection Take-Away Opening Middle to Movements Make Color Script Discussion Close & Gestures Friends Stronger Images & Limited The Role Energy Close Positioning Scope of Slides 3 Components / 813.418.6970
    • 63. Where Do I Go From Here? 63