How to Prepare a Technical Presentation

Technical presentations are the most difficult presentations to prepare. The reason is you have a subject that is inherently dry and detailed and an audience that has varying degrees of understanding on the topic. The tips below will assist you to overcome the major difficulties faced by presenters who need to deliver a presentation laced with technical detail.

Use a Proven Process

The key to developing a presentation that will achieve all what is required entails following a standard process. This process will ensure that you answer all the key questions, and understand what is needed so you can be successful. Some presenters can get lucky and successfully deliver a presentation once. To consistently deliver great technical presentations you need to find and follow a repeatable process.

Understand your audience

When preparing a technical presentation the challenge is to understand what the audience knows about the subject you will be presenting. This is a challenge in all presentations, but the nature of technical presentations raises the importance of this to a higher level. You need to understand your audience so you can customize the detail and language of your presentation to meet their needs. Without this understanding you can easily present information which is too detailed, or equally frustrating for your audience information which they already know and understand.

Compare your concept to something your audience knows/understands

A true expert is someone who can take a difficult subject and translate it so that those who are not experts can understand it. A metaphor is one of the best tools to utilize in a technical presentation to help position you as an expert in a topic whilst making the subject digestible to your audience.

Look around and see if you can identify any everyday items or activities that your subject can be compared to. Invariably most technical concepts are an engineering or programmatic way of reflecting a real world concept. If you can find something that parallels your technical topic that is understandable you will make your presentation understandable by everyone in your audience.

There is work involved in identifying an appropriate metaphor, but the reward will come at the conclusion of your presentation with an appreciative audience who will consider you the “guru” on your particular topic.

Keep your slides clear

One of my favourite examples of what not to do in a technical presentation is the application developer who includes lines of code in their PowerPoint slides! What benefit is there in displaying lines of code on the screen? Unless you are showing something VERY specific that needs that level of detail there is nothing to be gained by displaying such detail. Your audience will not have the ability (or interest) to decipher the detail they are being bombarded with.

With everything you display on the screen ask yourself “What would I lose by not having the audience see this?” If the answer is “My audience won’t understand what I’m talking about” then keep the slide. However if it is any other answer – dump the slide – you will only confuse or bore your audience!

Make diagrams/schematics relevant

Often diagrams will be displayed to assist audience understanding, and as the saying goes a picture can replace a thousand words. However the issue with most diagrams is that the presenter wants to reference a small section of the diagram. The result is an audience which heads on a journey of discovery as they try and decipher and understand the rest of the diagram, leaving you as the presenter talking about one aspect, while the audience is thinking about another aspect.

The key to changing this is to display only the part of the diagram or schematic that is relevant for the presentation you are delivering.

Technical presentations are the most challenging and difficult presentations to prepare and deliver. But, with the assistance of the tips covered in this article you can master the presentation, and become an expert in the eyes of your audience.

Prevent Presentation Bloopers

Once upon a time… A synthesis of real-life presentation bloopers.

There was a presenter who knew her subject cold − a true expert. Naturally, she was chosen to deliver a sales presentation to an important potential customer group of 50. The afternoon before the event, she loaded the standard charts and graphs on pricing onto her laptop for a PowerPoint presentation. Thinking the slides looked a bit dull, she colored the backgrounds red, yellow and green. For additional interest she made the slides replace each other by alternately fading, zooming left, right, up, down. She added twirling leaves in the borders, colored to contrast with the background. She was ready. This was going to be a piece of cake.

The audience is seated. She says “Good morning,” turns on the projector and sees a sea of faces bathed in psychedelic light, eyes squinting. She squints, too. She cannot quite make out the numbers on the lap top screen. Not wanting to turn her back completely to the audience in order to read from the large screen, she steps behind it and peeks her head out, neck craned. She starts reading and explaining the numbers. As the audience’s eyes begin to accustom to the light show, they try to keep up with the numbers the presenter is launching through. They scramble through their briefcases for paper to take notes.

They miss an entire screen. The presenter notices that no one is paying attention to what she is saying because they are all madly writing notes. She steps in front of the screen, still talking, everyone still intently copying numbers on their scraps of paper. How to capture their attention? She begins to wave her arms around to punctuate her points, she speaks faster and yells her words. This does distract them. As 50 pairs of eyes turn to hers, she gets nervous. She cannot think of the right word. She loses her entire train of thought. She decides to just keep talking until she finds it again.

Mercifully, somehow, she gets to the end of her presentation and asks for audience questions. “That was all pricing information. Your competitors charge less. What are the benefits if we invest?” “What are examples of how your product works for your other customers?” “How will you tailor your service to our unique needs?” “Why are you are better than your competitors?” “What would we lose if we go to your closest competitor?” With five minutes to answer these questions, unprepared, she wonders what she could have done differently.

Prepare!

PREPARE your Purpose
PREPARE your Persuasion Points
PREPARE your Presence
PREPARE by Practice

Preparation = Relaxed Presentation
Nervousness and lack of preparation are directly proportionate to each other!

My next ezine will detail my PREPARE Presentation System

Some Chinese Negotiation Tactics That Could Help Your Business

Well you have done some research and have decided that the Chinese market is one you want to enter with your business concept. There are some things you should do in order to prepare for your first meeting with your Chinese clients. Knowing certain Chinese negotiation tactics can really help you in your dealings with people from China. There are different forms of business meeting etiquette that you will want to make sure you have knowledge of before entering into any formal negotiation. Why is this? There are certain China business practices that if you do not know, you can come off like you are insulting potential business partners which is never a good thing. If you take the time to learn these Chinese negotiation tactics it can really give you a higher chance of success in doing business.

First and foremost, in order to achieve maximum business meeting etiquette you will want to enlist the services of some form of interpreter. It is assumed that you do not know the Chinese language which could definitely lead to things being misinterpreted or misunderstood. You want to meet with your interpreter before to not only get on the same page with them, but to go over any kind of relevant China business practices that you should be made aware of before the meeting. He will also be able to let you know of any particular industry jargon or work terms that are commonly used in the Chinese market.

Remember that it might be so that you feel there is not much progress made in your first meeting with a Chinese business professional. Do not worry because this is not abnormal in any way. Some common China business practices include group decision-making that will involve the people you are negotiating with running things by their superiors. In other words they will not rush to give you a concrete answer for anything until that had the time to run it by their bosses. Add to that that is a very important staple to the Chinese business world to develop relationships over time, this is why your business meeting etiquette and all the little things you do can have a severe impact on the success or failure of your potential partnership.

If you are expecting to visit your Chinese counterpart only wants to secure a deal you will probably be disappointed. The one very important things remember throughout the process is to not rush your potential partners. This is simply not how they do business in China and it will not be an effective Chinese negotiation tactic that you want to resort to. You’re bargaining power will be resorted to nothing if you fail to comply with a very specific China business practices that are laid out for you.

Just like if someone from another country came to negotiating yours there are certain things they would need to know about your culture to get up to speed. This is all we need to practice good Chinese negotiation tactics. Your business partners will appreciate that not only do you have an interpreter, but you have trying to learn their culture to achieve the best deal possible for both sides. Remember to rely heavily on that interpreter as they can really help you avoid some huge pitfalls in your negotiations. Good luck in entering your new market and you will soon find that if navigated correctly the Chinese market is a wonderful one.