Geeks? Presenting? nah

When you think of geeks, you don’t necessarily think of them being the most verbosely ideal people to present information to a group of people, especially when they are important people in the company. Usually you would want to pick someone who is charismatic and outgoing to really hit the nail on the head and make the most of the opportunity at hand. However, the truth is, geeks aren’t always just looming in the shadows tucked away in the basement away from everyone else. Their contribution is also needed. There are topics that they may know the most about and may mean more coming straight from them. However, just because they may know a lot and they are needed, doesn’t mean that they are good at it. Luckily, the book gives us some tips on how to be the most effective while presenting.

There are five tips in the book that will help make information easy to understand and remember. The first one is to discover how you audience likes to be communicated with. It all depends on who you are communicating with because everyone has a different way for how they consume information. Talking to marketing people differs from talking to financial people, or upper management. Try to talk to someone who represents your audience beforehand to get a feel for how they will react. Don’t be afraid to just straight up ask them for some tips on how to specifically cater to them. The second tip is to not write a reference guide. People usually organize their presentations around how they think, and for geeks, that may not be the best approach to take. You want to keep it succinct and to the point, and easy for your audience to take in and digest. The third tip is to use slides as headlines. Don’t end up using your slides as a script. If the audience gets everything that they need to know just from the slides, then you have put too much. You want them to have to listen to you, not just read your slides. The goal is to just use the headline as a reference and to keep it to ten words or less per slide. The fourth tip is that verbs are better than nouns. Too many nouns in the headings can be boring. By using verbs instead, you tell people what is happening or what they should do and why they should care. It gives them something to get excited about and not just think of this presentation or topic as just another thing that they have to sit through. The fifth tip is to never use your slides as handouts. This is just kind of stupid if you think about it. Why would you give people a packet of your slides before you present? You might as well not even present at all if they can just read what you’re about to say. It will give them even less of an incentive to want to be there and really listen to what you have to say. Instead of giving handouts, make sure that they are engaged in the topic, and if they want the slides make sure to get them to them after the presentation is over.

Just because you are a geek doesn’t mean that you cannot do well when it comes to presenting. Although it is probably one of the least desirable thing about the job, if you can get good at it, then it will make your job less stressful, and will make you look really good to your superiors. It may even lead to promotions where you will be doing something that you really want to do, for more money.