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Checklist for Presentation Speakers

I started writing this up partly for myself, as I learned how to give presentations. I then adapted it to give some advice to those who are not experienced giving presentations, and to set some expectations for those who speak to our group. These are definitely not hard and fast rules – some of the best presentations we've had have been completely different. But if you're a beginner, try to stick pretty close to these guidelines. — Craig Buchek

There are some other helpful guidelines available from the Sydney LUG.

  1. Be knowledgeable about the subject you are speaking on.
    • Be comfortable talking about it.
    • Be prepared to answer tough questions.
    • People may challenge you on technical details.
    • COUNTERPOINT: It's also cool to talk about something that you just learned.
  2. Know your audience.
    • The topic should be relevant to a technical audience.
    • The audience expects a technical presentation, not a sales pitch.
    • Audience members vary from hobbyists to professionals.
      • Some will be new to UNIX and your topic.
      • Some may be experts and know more than you do.
  3. Figure out what you want to talk about.
    • Come up with a high-level outline, about 3 to 6 bullet points.
  4. Submit the presentation title, an abstract, and (optionally) a bio.
    • Email it to your SLUUG contact.
    • The sooner we can get this info, the better.
      • So we can get the word out so interested people will attend.
      • So we can update the web site(s) with info on what the topic will be.
    • The abstract briefly says what you will talk about.
      • A paragraph to introduce the topic.
      • Some bullet points of what will be covered.
      • Why the topic is relevant.
    • Your bio should tell a little about who you are.
      • How do you know about and/or use what you are presenting?
      • Where do you work, what do you do there? Previous jobs?
      • Where did you go to school?
      • How do you use UNIX, Linux, Open Source, etc.?
    • The MC may use parts of your bio to introduce you.
  5. Keep in touch with your contact(s).
    • They can help you develop your presentation.
    • They can make arrangements to get equipment.
    • Let them know of your progress and any problems.
    • Have them review the presentation, if possible.
  6. Arrange to make sure you will have the equipment you need.
    • We generally have access to a VGA projector, which does 800x600 or 1024x768 natively.
    • We usually have access to a whiteboard. (Markers, on the other hand…)
    • We usually have WiFi Internet access.
    • Please ask if you need any additional equipment.
    • External mouse and keyboard are handy if you use a notebook.
  7. Prepare your presentation.
    • Structured presentations are preferred, but not required.
    • Hand-outs usually go over well.
      • Even as a substitute for slides.
    • Slide presentations with bullet-points work very well.
      • Figure on about 5 minutes per slide.
      • Content is more important than appearance.
        • But use some nice (simple) colors and fonts.
    • Demoing how to use an application can also work well.
      • Show relevant real-world usage.
      • Don't dwell on minutiae - concentrate on the big picture.
      • Have a good plan of what you are going to show.
  8. Test in the same environment you will have at the presentation.
    • Make sure you undo the effects of any practice runs.
    • Test with the same versions that you will demo.
  9. Arrive early enough to set up and test any equipment.
  10. Be prepared for equipment failures – they can and do happen.
    • Live demos are good, but are more prone to these problems.
    • Have a backup plan.
    • Have your presentation on the Internet and a USB key.
      • So you can use someone else's laptop if necessary.
  11. Hand-outs of the presentation and other resources can be useful.
    • Make sure you have enough for the entire audience.
      • Attendance usually varies from about 25 to 70.
    • Multiple hand-outs can be bad.
      • Flipping between 2 hand-outs gets confusing.
    • Order the hand-out to flow with your presentation.
  12. Don't be nervous.
    • The best cure for nervousness is to be prepared.
      • Practice the presentation.
      • Be confident that you know what you're talking about.
    • Bring a bottle of water to drink to cure dry mouth.
    • Remember that the audience members are interested in what you say.
      • They are just technical people like yourself.
  13. Introduce yourself at the beginning of the presentation.
    • Tell where you work and what you do.
    • Briefly talk about some of your relevant experience.
  14. Stay focused on the topic.
    • Don't go off on long detours or tangents.
  15. Accept and encourage questions and comments during the presentation.
    • Be prepared for tough or off-the-wall questions.
    • Don't be afraid to admit that you don't know an answer.
      • Ask if other audience members might know the answer.
    • If the presentation doesn't lend itself to interruptions, take questions at the end.
      • State up front whether you want questions at the end or during the presentation.
  16. Be prepared to shorten (or lengthen) the presentation.
    • Put some optional stuff at the end.
  17. Credit sources of information used in creating your presentation.
    • URLs, books, magazine articles.
    • Great for inclusion in hand-outs.
  18. Be prepared to stay afterward to answer more questions.
    • Some people prefer to ask their questions one-on-one.
    • There is usually an unofficial social event after the meeting.
  19. If possible, submit your presentation to put on our web site.
    • Submit HTML and native format if possible. (Any format is OK.)
    • Email your presentation to editor at, or your contact.
  20. Some of us go to dinner after the meetings.
    • Join us there for additional conversation, if possible.
presentations/tips.txt · Last modified: 2012/12/09 19:36 by SLUUG Administration