Presenting: structure story and support

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Conference presentations are the moment to share your results, and to connect with researchers about future directions. However, presentations are often created as an afterthought and as a result they are often not as exciting as they could be.

In this slidedeck Felienne Hermans shares hands-on techniques to engage an audience.

The talk covers the entire spectrum of presenting: we start with advice on how to structure a talk and how to incorporate a core message into it. Once we have addressed the right structure for a talk, we will work on adding stories and arcs of tension to your presentation. Finally, to really perform as a presenter, we will talk about how slide design and body language can support your presentation.

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  • After three hours only 40% is remembered
    • After three days only 15% is remembered
    • After three months 5% or less is remembered
  • After three hours only 40% is remembered
    • After three days only 15% is remembered
    • After three months 5% or less is remembered
  • After three hours only 40% is remembered
    • After three days only 15% is remembered
    • After three months 5% or less is remembered
  • Presenting: structure story and support

    1. 1. Presenting Structure, story and support I am Felienne Feedback welcome! @felienne mail@felienne.com
    2. 2. Presenting Structure, story and support I am Felienne Feedback welcome! @felienne mail@felienne.com Hi! In this slide deck, I’ll share three ways to impove your presentation skills: Structure Stories Support
    3. 3. Presenting Structure, story and support I am Felienne Feedback welcome! @felienne mail@felienne.com Hi! In this slide deck, I’ll share three ways to impove your presentation skills: Structure Stories Support But first of all? Why would you want to be a better presenter?
    4. 4. First of all, to increase your impact. This guy is famous Dutch scientist Robbert Dijkgraaf and he has a law for scientific impact.
    5. 5. First of all, to increase your impact. This guy is famous Dutch scientist Robbert Dijkgraaf and he has a law for scientific impact. Knowledge = Information * Audience
    6. 6. First of all, to increase your impact. This guy is famous Dutch scientist Robbert Dijkgraaf and he has a law for scientific impact. Knowledge = Information * Audience So if you want your ideas to spread, make sure you have a big audience that is actually getting it.
    7. 7. If you don’t care about spreading your knowledge, you can improve your public speaking skills for you.
    8. 8. If you don’t care about spreading your knowledge, you can improve your public speaking skills for you. Fear of public speaking is the second most common fear, second only to snakes. If you become a better presenter (for example by following my tips) you’ll be more relaxed and less scared!
    9. 9. The good thing is that there is really only 1 rule to presenting. I know there are loads of lists like ‘the n tips for presenting like awesome person y’ But in my book, there is just 1 rule. Ready for it?
    10. 10. Don’t lose your audience
    11. 11. Easy, right? The only thing you need to do is get your audience from the beginning to the end of your talk, without them being tempted to fall asleep/look out of the window/check their email. Don’t lose your audience
    12. 12. When preparing many presenters (myself included) think about themselves first: What do I want to share? What will people think about me? To make a great presentation, think about the audience first. What do they already know, what do they like or hate. And most important, what tools will I use to get them through my talk. This presentation gives you tools for achieving this. Don’t lose your audience
    13. 13. Another way of putting this is you have to minimize ‘exit moments’, moments where the audience might drop out. Next time when you are at a conference and you feel tempted to stop paying attention, try to figure out why. Did you miss the ‘why’, was the speaker monotonous? Recognizing exit moments in others will help you prevent creating them yourselves.
    14. 14. Don’t lose your audience In the remainder of this presentation, I’ll share three techniques you can use to not lose the audience.
    15. 15. Don’t lose your audience 1) Right structure
    16. 16. Don’t lose your audience Ever sat in a presentation where you where like “why is he/she telling me this” or “where is this going?” And not in the good movie arc of tension style? That is the sign of a badly structured presentation. 1) Right structure
    17. 17. Don’t lose your audience “Energy spent on trying to follow you is not spent on listening to your message” Ever sat in a presentation where you where like “why is he/she telling me this” or “where is this going?” And not in the good movie arc of tension style? That is the sign of a badly structured presentation. 1) Right structure
    18. 18. Structure gets your audience from A to B
    19. 19. Structure gets your audience from A to B
    20. 20. “Successful presenting is constantly answering the questions the audience has in mind” Stolen from this book -> It’s my favorite
    21. 21. “Successful presenting is constantly answering the questions the audience has in mind” In other words, you are having a CONVERSATION
    22. 22. What people think about when they prepare a talk
    23. 23. What you should think about when preparing a talk
    24. 24. What you should think about when preparing a talk Most conversations do not go like this.
    25. 25. What kind of work do you do?
    26. 26. What kind of work do you do? First I will tell you how local government works in the US Then I will elaborate on the position of city treasurer Finally, I will tell you about some legal troubles I am currently facing.
    27. 27. First I will tell you how local government works in the US Then I will elaborate on the position of city treasurer Finally, I will tell you about some legal troubles I am currently facing. Most conversations do not go like this, because it sounds crazy.
    28. 28. First I will tell you how local government works in the US Then I will elaborate on the position of city treasurer Finally, I will tell you about some legal troubles I am currently facing. Most conversations do not go like this, because it sounds crazy. So please no more outlines (or as one of my colleagues calls it “the zone outline”) Don’t waste time and scare people off with meta-remarks.
    29. 29. Think about conversation if you structure a presentation
    30. 30. Some ideas So, if I don’t start with an intro, how shall I start then?
    31. 31. Some ideas Start with the end “40% more performance”
    32. 32. Some ideas Start with how “We spoke with the lead dev” Start with the end “40% more performance”
    33. 33. Some ideas Start with how “We spoke with the lead dev” Start with why “Building a web API is hard” Start with the end “40% more performance”
    34. 34. In any case
    35. 35. Don’t copy the paper
    36. 36. Don’t lose your audience 1) Right structure
    37. 37. Don’t lose your audience 1) Right structure 2) Adding stories
    38. 38. “Successful presenting is constantly answering the questions the audience has in mind”
    39. 39. So how do you get the questions in? “Successful presenting is constantly answering the questions the audience has in mind”
    40. 40. Stories
    41. 41. Stories Of an average presentation, how much is remembered after 3 months?
    42. 42. Stories 5% Of an average presentation, how much is remembered after 3 months?
    43. 43. Adding visuals and storyline increases this to…
    44. 44. Adding visuals and storyline increases this to… 60%
    45. 45. Yes... but... Now, you are like “yes, but my topic is so boring, I cannot not possibly add cool stories” You were thinking that, right? Sure, my topic is
    46. 46. Spreadsheets!
    47. 47. Spreadsheets! What is more boring than a spreadsheet? Exactly. If I can do it, so can you! (Curious how I work stories in my talks? Have a look at this one)
    48. 48. Spreadsheets! What is more boring than a spreadsheet? Exactly. If I can do it, so can you! I am going to presume you like your topic. So there must be a cool story there. How did you start it? Did you manage to screw up big time once? Stories like that stick.
    49. 49. A good story There’s a great book on stories that stick, I highly recommend it.
    50. 50. A good story S Simple U Unexpected C Credible C Concrete E Emotional S Stories There’s a great book on stories that stick, I highly recommend it. Is says a story should be
    51. 51. A good story There’s a great book on stories that stick, I highly recommend it. Is says a story should be These three are the easiest to start with.S Simple U Unexpected C Credible C Concrete E Emotional S Stories
    52. 52. An example Here a standard slide on SickBeard. It’s a personal video recorder, etc.
    53. 53. My story for this: Do you know what will happen on April 6th? (It’s the launch of the new Game of Thrones. Crowd goes Yes, we know) Don’t you dread that day? You can’t go on Twitter or Facebook, because your friends in the US have already seen in. So you have to hide from spoilers all day. What would be worse than having to manually download the episode when you get home? This is what SickBeard solves!
    54. 54. Appealing, right? Simple (short) Concrete (relating to a real event) Emotional (dread, hide) If you think about something that connects you to the audience, it is easy to come up with a good story.
    55. 55. Don’t lose your audience 1) Right structure 2) Adding stories
    56. 56. Don’t lose your audience 1) Right structure 2) Adding stories 3) Support Once you have the right structure, and added memorable stories, the last thing you can do is support your presentation in the right way. Supporting is done with: • Beautiful slides • Good body language • Clear use of your voice/speech
    57. 57. Awesome slides You watched my slides so far, so I guess you have an idea on my tips for slide design: • Consistent style • One thought/sentence per slide (Note I added these grey text boxes for the online version! They are not in the real slides) The problem with text heavy slides is that the audience starts to read them, and stops listening to you.
    58. 58. Special attention to the final slide. To often it is this:
    59. 59. Special attention to the final slide. Remember, this slide will most likely be on the screen the longest. So: • Add your contact details • Summarize your results
    60. 60. Putting the science in computer science Felienne Delft University of Technology These slides (with narrative) are on SlideShare.com/felienne Want to know more? • I’m around all day • Send me a tweet (@felienne) Or have a look at my website www.felienne.com where I regularly cover the newest SE research
    61. 61. Body language
    62. 62. Body language Body language can really support your talk. This part of my tutorial was interactive and it is a bit hard to explain without, you know, a body, but I’ll give you some hints.
    63. 63. Curse of knowledge But first, why care? Because of the curse of knowledge. You think you are very clear, because you live and breath your topic. But you might not be as clear as you think.
    64. 64. Body language Body language can underline important parts of your sentences. Instead of saying: we did two case studies one big and one small, try to use your body and stress ‘small’ with your hands. Like this
    65. 65. “Small”
    66. 66. “Small” I know this feels ridiculous in the beginning, but it really helps, especially if you are a non native speaker, or your audience are non native ‘listeners’ As an exercise, you can try to spot body words in either your own talks or others, and try gesturing them in your own talks. Big, small, two, three, different, slow, all candidates from stressing with your body.
    67. 67. The final tool for supporting your talk is your voice. My most important tip: Pause. Ideally between each sentence. (if you watch talks, try to pay attenten to how many speakers pause or ‘ehm’ in the middle of sentences!) But at least pause before and after important sentences. Ironically, the best way to get attention of the whole room is to shut up!
    68. 68. Don’t lose your audience 1) Right structure 2) Adding stories 3) Support That’s it! All you need to keep your audience awake. Okay, not really.
    69. 69. Don’t lose your audience 1) Right structure 2) Adding stories 3) Support One more thing…
    70. 70. PRACTICE !
    71. 71. PRACTICE ! You have to practice this stuff! Please don’t think “I am’just’ not good at this” No one is born a violin player or a marathon runner. Everyone needs practice. I like this book, but the most important lesson I got from it is that even Steve Jobs practised and practised still, for every talk. It is not a god given skill. So look for user groups, meetups or toast masters in your neighbourhood. I’m sure they’d love to hear from you.
    72. 72. Presenting Structure, story and support I am Felienne Feedback welcome! @felienne mail@felienne.com

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