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.

Sales Presentations With Love

It was the sixth house Mark and Andrea had looked at in just one day, and they hoped it would be better than the previous five. The house was slightly out of their price range, but the real estate agent had insisted they at least look at it. Pulling into the driveway, they couldn’t help but gaze at the house, perched so peacefully beside the Maumee River and illuminated by orange tint of the sunset. At first they tried to hide their faint smiles from the real estate agent, but as soon as they walked through the front door their stoic resistance melted. Their eyes followed the spread of the natural wood floors, and climbed up the arched passageways towards the detailed, historic ceiling. Through each passageway and opened door, the house revealed its beautiful features and distinct personality. Mark and Andrea couldn’t help but smile at each other. In the living room, they envisioned their children laughing and playing on the soft, beige carpet. In the kitchen, they saw their family making meals together around the large center island. Andrea gasped in sheer delight at the sight of the roomy master bathroom, where she would finally have space to get ready every morning. Mark nodded in proud approval of the spacious garage, where he could store his tools and new fishing gear. With just one walk-through of the house, Mark and Andrea felt they were at home.

The inevitable details of the sale came only after they became emotionally invested into making the house theirs. What was it that captivated Mark and Andrea? It wasn’t the age of the house, price of the house, or even its new roof. It was the pictures they had in their minds as they walked through the house and saw it as their own. It’s hard to find a more emotional purchase than that of buying a house, yet that powerful element can be implemented into any sales presentation, regardless of how ordinary or routine the product may be. When you create an emotional and visual experience in your sales presentations, you completely change how a customer’s decision is made. You make your customers fall in love with your product simply by envisioning themselves using it. If they can see how your product will make them happier, they will want to buy it. The rest of the sale (even the price and contract terms) is just a detail, and as long as the details are in the ballpark of what the customer can do, the sale is made. Before a customer can see themselves using your product, they must have the interest to do so. A unique sales presentation is the best way to spark curiosity and engage customers. Don’t resort to brochures, comparison charts or the dreaded power point presentation. Be bold. Be different.

If you’re not sure how to do this, ask yourself two questions: “What are my competitors doing?” and “What is the customer expecting me to do?” Your sales presentation should not be a part of either answer. Blow them out of the water with something exceptional, and your customers will want to know more. Feed their interest by choosing a sales method that will inspire them visually. Paint a picture that demonstrates how your product leads to success and happiness. Not just anyone’s success and happiness – theirs. If they can see themselves enjoying your product, it will feel right to them. This is what will determine the sale. Getting your customers emotionally involved with your product will change how they make the decision of buying it. The details of the sale will be just details, rather than decisive factors. The strength in the sale will be in the emotional investment the customer makes with the product the very moment they can happily see it as theirs.

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