With my change of role in July I will be doing a lot more technical presentations – to small and to large audiences. At MS I get a chance to see lots of summaries of feedback scores and I know that I always end up top half of presenters and mostly top 25% – but it does seem to vary a lot. One thing I want to work on is being consistently good – so I feel my audience are always getting good value by attending my session (and won’t wish they were elsewhere!).
I am a decent "self taught" presenter – I have never had formal training. But I do watch other presenters carefully and endeavour to understand why sometimes they are highly engaging and sometimes they are bland. I believe my strengths include story telling (anecdotes etc), making the complex simple and ensuring my audience see the relevance of what I am discussing. I am also a little quirky, a little bit too honest (I don’t think I am a good person to put in front of an analyst or reporter…)
However… I am inconsistent. In general I am very good when I really know the subject, when I have prepared well, when I understand the audience and when I am passionate about the topic. I am not good when I have had no time to prepare, when I don’t care about the topic, when I need to stick rigidly to a "script". Err…. when I write it like that it seems pretty darned obvious how I could become more consistent!
Scott has a great list of the top 11 Top Tips for a Successful Technical Presentation. I liked number 11 the most.
"11. Care (deeply)
I really avoid presenting on topics that I don’t care about. I avoid it like the Plague and I encourage you to do so as well. There’s nothing more important that truly caring about your topic. If you care, it’ll show. If you eschew all the other tips, at the very least care."