Four tips to present your tech project better
Your code is perfect. The solution works. You want to tell fellow programmers. But how? Here are four tips from the experts.
By John Einar Sandvand (text and photo)
In Schibsted Tech Polska more than 30 projects are under development at any time. The programmers are encouraged to share their knowledge as much as possible, both internally and outside the company.
But how? For many developers presenting to others can be both scary and difficult, especially doing it for the first time. Therefore Schibsted Tech Polska organized a special training in Powerful Business Presentations for employees in cooperation with Accent Business Training in Krakow.
Here are the tips:
Presentation tip 1: Have a real goal!
You need a clear goal for your presentation.
Trainers John Held and Robin Baker point out that most presenters make the error of formulating a goal that is focusing on themselves, for instance that they like to present projects and share knowledge.
– However, it is not what you want that matters. It is what you want your audience to do!, says John Held.
He illustrates the point by mentioning a company that was presenting its dress code. The presenter said his goal was that people should know the dress code. – But that is missing the point. What he wanted the audience to do, was to follow the dress code. That should be his real goal, says Held.
Use active words when formulating the goal, for instance that you want them to do or use or take something. This works better than just saying you want them to understand or know something.
Presentation tip 2: Remember it is not about you!
You may have a great product or project to talk about. But the audience does not care about that. They care about how it can help them.
– Therefore as a presenter you need to first think about the audience and how what you present will help them, says John Held and Robin Baker.
They underline that how you formulate this when presenting can make a big change in how the presentation is perceived by the audience.
Presentation tip 3: Think about why the audience should care
– Many spend a lot of time putting their presentation together, but in the process loose sight of why they are actually doing it, says Robin Baker.
– As a result they do not achieve the desired end result.
It is therefore very important to carefully think through why the audience should care about your presentation. How will it make their life better? How will it help them?
– You need to think about how your presentation will change the everyday life of your audience, says Baker.
Presentation tip 4: Keep it simple!
– During our trainings the biggest aha moment for many is to realize that they have spent far too much time preparing their slides, says Robin Baker.
Instead on focusing on slide production the main effort should be to think through what is the real purpose.
– Once you have that figured out, the slides will be much easier to produce.
John Held has an additional tip:
– When you think about whether to add a slide or not, do not ask if the extra slide supports the goal. Instead ask what will happen if you remove the slide. Will it destroy the goal? If the answer is “No”, then remove the material.
The trainers from Accent Business Training say that from their experience especially people from the IT business have problems selecting the main message.
– Often they want to put far too much information in the presentation They can have real trouble picking an option and sticking to it. And they love to put thousands of line with code into the presentation, observe Held and Baker.
And their message always is: Keep it simple!
Very useful training
10 employees participated in the presentation workshop Accent Business Training organized for Schibsted Tech Polska.
– It was a great training. We became much more aware of how to present, but also how to give feedback, says business intelligence analyst Natalia Szczesniak, one of the participants.
She played an active role in making the workshop happen.
– After our Winter Event last year we realized there are big differences in people´s presentation skills. There are people who absolutely have knowledge to present, but who are scared to do so. I was among those – and that is why I wanted to participate.
The group met three times – and the training included many exercises in standing in front of others. After the three sessions all participants received individual coaching from the trainers.
– The training surprised me in a very positive way. It was a lot of emotion, being in front of the other people, but the content was very valuable and useful, says Natalia Szczesniak.
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