Five Effective Tips on Technical Presentations which you should know
Not many scientists and technical experts are good at presentation skills; as a result, there is a stereotype that technical speeches are very dry and boring. Whenever you imagine a technical talk, there are chances that you see a seemingly intelligent person with thick-rimmed glasses speaking in a language filled with jargons which no one can understand, putting most of the audience to sleep.
Though I cannot blame your imagination – I can offer some tips on technical presentations which would make your speech more interesting to your audience. Before we delve further, do you think a technical presentation is different from other presentations?
The answer is – a good presentation is a good presentation whether you are talking about the latest detergent on the shelf or effects of global warming. The basic principles are the same, however, in a technical talk, there has to be more attention to detail and focus on clarity since the technical content is typically more complicated to understand. If you follow these effective tips on technical presentations and prepare well, your next talk could be much more interesting:
1. Know your audience
Analyze your audience in advance and tailor your talk to their technical level, their interest, and their background. I cannot stress this more. In case your audience is a highly technical bunch of individuals who have gathered to understand the intricate details of your technical solution – by all means, go into as much depth as you can. You can use jargons. You can assume that your audience would understand most of what you are going to talk about.
If however, your audience is a group of Business Leaders who have gathered to look at the benefits of your technical solution and the associated revenue possibilities – use simple language. Abstract the hard to understand concepts and speak in the language which the audience can understand.
2. Nailing the Main Objective
Identify and state the main objective of your talk at the beginning of the speech itself and then build your speech structure around the main objective. If you have too many speech objectives – it could mean you are biting more than you can chew and it might dilute the message behind the speech.
A speech or a presentation with good structure is easy to understand, easy to remember and easy to enjoy. Identify the main point, and build the body or content of your speech to support the main message.
3. Do not use too many technical jargons or acronyms
Imagine you are not a rocket scientist, and if someone giving a presentation talks about ADEOS and AEHF – chances are you would be lost right then and there. If however, he explains that ADEOS stands for Advanced Earth Observation Satellite and Advanced Extreme High-Frequency Satellite, there is still hope that you can comprehend the following parts of the speech. Place yourself in the shoes of your audience and imagine how you would react if you listened to the same speech.
4. Use Visual Aids effectively
Visual Aids can help bolster the message of your speech or distract your audience. The most important tip on using visual aids for technical presentations is to keep things simple. Do not excessive colors, fonts, animations or graphics unless they add value.
Remember, “Content is King” – but not all of your content should be printed on the slides verbatim. I have seen many presenters who cram up the whole slide with text and then simply read from it while standing on stage. NOT a good idea. If the audience can read your slides directly then there is no need for you to be on the stage. Instead, you should have large-sized font and graphics which are clearly visible from the back of the room and use your slides to guide your speech like a map would guide you on the road.
Another tip – use graphics, charts, pictures or videos where you can to simplify the message and reduce the need for too much text.
5. Rehearse, Rehearse, Rehearse
Before you are ready to go on stage, reach the venue a bit early and get a feel for the surroundings. Test out your audiovisuals, microphone and any other requirements like Flipchart etc. if needed. Make sure everything is in order and properly works.
The most important part of your speech is practice. Not only do you need to internalize the sequence and content of your slides, but you also need to prepare to be able to answer any questions. Know your content inside out and it will help you field any difficult questions that might come your way. Find a friend or family member who would be interested to help you prepare by listening and providing feedback. You may also video record your own speech in advance and watch it a few times to ensure that the message you are trying to deliver is the same message which is coming across.
To conclude, a good technical speech is a good speech first. If you keep these tips on technical presentations in mind, your next talk is certainly going to be a hit with the audience.
Suggested Reading: 7 Essentials for Public Speaking Success to gain more knowledge about how you can be a better public speaker.
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About the Author
Puneet Wadhwa, the author of this blog – Speak to Succeed! is an IT Business Executive by profession, and a Public Speaker and Leadership trainer by passion. He has been professionally speaking for many years and has won several awards for his public speaking engagements. He presents corporate trainings and seminars to corporations and associations whose people want to speak and lead effectively. To contact Puneet, email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or fill out the contact form at http://www.speaktosucceed.in/about-me/.