By now, many of you have read my guidelines to presentations HERE and HERE. I sit through enough presentations that I have my own opinions of how they should be done. However, I also give presentations from time to time. With the advent of my new Flip MinoPRO, I can now record my presentations and upload to whatever video service I choose to annoy this week. As such, allow me to present you with the first Networking Nerd presentation:
47 minutes of me talking. I think that’s outlawed by the Geneva Convention in some places. So you can follow along, here’s a link to my presentation in PowerPoint format.
I don’t like looking at pictures of myself, and I don’t like hearing myself talk. You can imagine how much fun it was for me to look at this. I tried to give an IPv6 presentation to a group of K-12 technology directors that don’t spend a lot of time dealing with routing and IP issues. I wanted to give them some ideas about IPv6 and what they needed to watch out for in their networks in the coming months. I have about a month to prepare for this, and I spent a good deal of that time practicing so my delivery was smooth.
What’s my opinion of my performance? Well, as you can tell by the title of this post, I immediately picked up on my unconscious habit of saying “so”. Seems I use that word to join sections of conversation. I think if I put a little more conscious thought into things, I might be able to cut that part down a bit. No sense putting words like “so”, “um”, and “uh” in places where they don’t belong. They are crutches that need to be removed whenever possible. That’s one of the reasons I like writing blog posts much more than spoken presentations: I can edit my writing if I think I’ve overused a word. Plus, I don’t have to worry about not saying “um” while I type.
You’ll notice that I try to inject some humor into my presentation. I feel that humor helps lighten the mood in presentations where the audience may not grasp everything all at once. Humor has it’s place, so it’s best to leave it out of things like eulogies and announcing the starting lineup at a Yankees game. But if you watch a lot of “serious” types of presentations, a little levity goes a long way toward making things feel a lot less formal and way more fun.
I also try to avoid standing behind a lectern or a podium when I speak. I tend to use my hands quite a bit to illustrate points and having something sitting in front of me that blocks my range of motion tends to mess with my flow a little. I also tend to pace and wander around a bit as I talk. Having to be held to a physical object like a lectern would drive me nuts. I would have preferred to have some kind of remote in my pocket that I could advance the slides with and use a laser pointer to illustrate things on the slides, but I lost mine some time ago and it has yet to turn up. Luckily, I had someone in the room that was willing to advance my slide deck. Otherwise, there would have been a lot of walking back and forth and out of frame. Note to presenters, invest in a remote or two so you can keep the attention focused on you and your presentation without the distraction of walking back and forth or being forced to stay close to your laptop.
Let me know what you think, good or bad. If you think I spaced out on my explanation of the content, corrections are always welcomed. If you don’t like my gesticulations, I want to know. Even tell me if you thought my Spinal Tap joke was a little too corny. The only way I can get better as a presenter is to get feedback. And since there were 8 people in the room, 7 of which I knew quite well, I don’t think I’m going to get any feedback forms.