A Presentation Exercise

May 6, 2015

To begin: I am not the most proficient person around at presenting and speaking to a large set of people. 

I’m flattered every time someone asks me how I make photos. (Especially because I have no idea what I’m doing and someone likes it? Whoa.) I thought I’d reach out to the HR folks at work and tell them my story. We worked together on the blog post, and it struck me that I should consider going beyond the blog post to hold a session for people who were interested in learning more about iPhone/mobile photography. HR was happy to oblige again. It’s tiny things like this that brings about confidence and excites me about doing more.

Back to the elephant in the room: presenting publicly. I had about a week to prepare for this and looked at these two resources: 

  1. Speaking.io by Zach Holman
  2. The 10-20-30 rule by Guy Kawasaki.

The 10-20-30 rule encourages presenters to make the following choices:

I didn’t adhere to the first part of the rule as I wanted to eschew use of excessive transitions and animations. It saves time to just skip em… and focus on other things. So I made a bunch of slides (80 in all), and learned to make use of master slides in Keynote. The presentation slightly exceeded the twenty minute mark, but that’s all right. I had no trouble meeting the thirty point font guideline since a lot of the presentation was visual.

Another note: In the past, I’ve made the mistake of fitting content of the slides to its animations as much as any other teenager. My indulgence in making animations work brought me to believe that people would care about them. Nothing could be further from the truth. Animations and transitions are implementation details. The audience is there for the subject covered and the best way to make the talk worth the collective time spent is by leaving them sufficiently acquainted with the subject. Trust the audience to figure out more in their own time. This is where the value is. Excessive design choices are not signs of your attention to detail. It’s a sign of apathy and disrespect to the subject. Like excessive web design using the same templates and javascript irrespective of the content. The manner in which the talk is designed considering the audience takes precedence.

The deck should complement your presence, not take the stage.