September 19, 2011, 9:07 AM —
Help! I'm a .NET developer and was just asked to make a formal 30 minute presentation to senior management on the business intelligence system I just built. What do I do?
The importance of proper rehearsal cannot be emphasized enough. Record yourself during practice and don't stop until you would be comfortable with uploading the result to YouTube. With enough practice, you can be confident that you will be within the time limit. Once you know what to say without thinking, you can also focus on other aspects of your presentation, like making eye contact with your audience, good posture or avoiding fill words like er, um, etc.
First, congratulations on the new software you built. If you were asked to present it to senior management, then it must be very good. Well done!
To your question regarding your upcoming presentation, consider the following:
1. At a high level, begin your presentation with a short (five minutes maximum) PowerPoint based overview of the system's overall data and functionality, followed by a live demonstration of the system, and ending with a short question/answer session.
2. Regarding your short (yes, I said short again because it's really important) opening PowerPoint, you could potentially include the types of slides listed below. When reviewing this list, note that the goal here is simply to give your audience a context that enables them to understand (and appreciate) the live demonstration of the system.