Geeks and Presenting to Business Folks

Our chapter for this week is titled “A Geek’s Guide to Presenting to Business People”. They give a five-step process to follow to help you (a geek) to present to business people better, I think one specifically is where a lot if disconnect happens between geeks presenting and the business people trying to listen to the presentation, that is step 4 of their 5 steps, which is: “Present, connect, and resonate”. I think this step is the one that geeks miss the most. A lot of times we present wonderfully, but we don’t connect. Why don’t we connect? We are emotionless beings and we strip out all emotions to just present logic and reason, but when we are trying to get folks to listen to our ideas and get them on board with something or to get excited about something, we need emotion to do just that. Facts and figures are just not enough for getting people excited about a topic from a presentation.

Our book does a great job of walking through this, but since hopefully all of you have read it, I am going to review an article that I found, titled: “A geek’s guide to presenting to business people“, which is surprisingly the exact title of the chapter in our book. The article adds a lot of good steps to the chapter that help us understand how to better present to suits, as we call them. The article is written by Dan Taylor. It goes over 6 great suggestions, and some of them have a lot of subpoints. The subjects below are referencing the article linked above.

Plan Your Destination

The article starts off with some great advice, planning. You need to plan what your goal is. What are you wanting the audience to understand? Where are you going? They reference the example of going on a trip, and the fact that you probably just don’t jump in your car, pick a direction, and go (unless you’re my friends and I, who do that), and that you pick a destination before leaving. This is what you need to do with your presentation to connect with the suits.

Know the Suits

You need to know stuff about who you are presenting to, to figure out how to best present to them. In speech class, we call this audience analysis, which is simply analyzing the types of people you are going to be speaking to, to figure out how to best craft your presentation so that they understand it.

Love is in the Air. Not really.

The article talks about how as geeks we are taught from day one to remove emotions. But you can’t do this for a speech or presentation. You need to express emotion so that your audience can connect to you and what you’re talking about. Have you ever heard those speakers or teachers who just speak in monotone the whole time? Don’t be them.

Believe it or not, there can be TOO much information.

This may seem hard to believe, but there can be too much information. You might enjoy one or two or three or four of the images attached at the end of this blog. There are some other subpoints, but I think that they boil down to: don’t be late to your own presentation, and 10-20-30. What is 10-20-30? Your PowerPoint shouldn’t contain more than 10 slides (or you’ll lose people), it shouldn’t last longer than 20 minutes (or you’ll lose people), and it shouldn’t have text less than the size of a 30pt font (or you’ll lose old suits).


A lot of times in our programming lives as geeks, we don’t practice things. We learn by trial and error, and trying. For speaking however or presenting, you also need to practice and practice. Go through the presentation and fix any things that don’t flow well. Ask some friends to listen to it too, it’s different with people compared to being by yourself.

Below are some images related to my blog topics to laugh at.

download (1) download (2) download images 20110810bulletpointpresentation

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