5 important presentation tips for techies

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  • Plan out and practice your demonstration ahead of time. Plan out and practice your presentation keystroke by keystroke and mouse click by mouse click. That way when you practice (again, again, and again), you can develop a good flow and quality verbal commentary.
  • Do not deviate from your planned demonstration. During your presentation follow your rehearsed plan. If you are asked a question outside your plan, answer it and then return to your plan. This will save you from accidently hitting a software bug that aborts the application, showing an example that doesn't really work, displaying data you can't explain, and/or other ugly and unwanted outcomes.
  • Use examples that your audience will relate to. For example, if the VPs of Finance, Human Resources, and Sales are there, use one example from each area. You could show a finance report, Human Resources report, and sales forecasts.
  • Illustrate system functionality as part of your relevant examples. Following on the example above, you could show a standardized finance report, an ad hoc Human Resources report, and a drill down into the company's sales forecasts.
  • Explain your navigation. Each time you click the mouse or press the return key, tell your audience that you are doing so. This will help them understand and follow your presentation.
  • Keep it high level. Don't dig into minor technical points, you don't have the time. If you are asked a low level question, answer it quickly, specifically, and move on.
  • Remember you are presenting, not teaching. Remember that the goal of your presentation is to impress and inform them, not teach them how to use it. You don't have time for detailed instruction that comes later, after they are impressed and informed, and have more time.
  • Talk functionality, not technology. Unless you are asked a specific technical question, tell them what you built, not how you built it. If they are not techies, they won't care and most likely won't understand it even if you told them.
  • Finish your demo on time. Be very respectful of your audience's time. If you plan the demo for twenty minutes, finish it in twenty minutes. This will give you time to properly end your presentation.

4. Close your presentation gracefully. Once your live presentation is completed (about 25 minutes into your allotted half hour) ask if they have any quick questions, offer to follow up with them at another time if they want more information, and thank them for their time and interest.

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