Pushing technology the hard way (Part3): How to do an interesting tech presentation
In the previous part of this blog, we set up immudb as replicated StatefulSet in Kubernetes. Now it is time to talk about our work. The perceived performance of a project or an employee is very important inside large organizations. That’s why we have to present our work properly. Interesting technical presentations are rare because it is very difficult to explain complex concepts in an entertaining way.
Know your audience
One of the most important pieces of advice for tech presentations is that you have to know your audience. Are you doing the presentation for managers, engineers, or salespeople? Your audience can also be mixed. Knowing your audience is crucial in order to get their attention. For example, students are not the right audience for a sales presentation of enterprise software. As a general rule of thumb: the presentation should be less technical the more people are in the audience. Learn how to simplify things in a digestible manner by explaining the topic to people who are not familiar with the field or the terminology.
Also, you should think about these questions: Why should your audience listen to you? What do you expect from your audience? The attention of an audience is a valuable thing. They are spending their time with you. Be respectful by doing good preparation and an interesting presentation. Last but not least you have to have a goal. Do you want to inform people or ask for collaboration and resources? Make it clear. You are a butler serving information for your audience on a silver platter.
A really good introduction is key to captivate your audience. The attention span of most people today is very narrow. Your audience could simply get out their phones if your presentation is not interesting enough. Online presentations make it even worse. People will not listen to your presentation if it is boring, so the best way is to get their attention right from the start. I love to structure my presentations by the why, how, what method. Now let’s look at an example of presenting a cybersecurity solution built on immudb:
- confidently introduce yourself
- Tell your audience why you are here. That can be done by quoting an interesting fact. For example: “In 2020, the average business cost of a cyberattack is $3.86 million and it takes over 200 days to detect the breach.” (IBM). Or start by telling a story. An interesting story in this field is the SolarWinds hack of 2020.
- Offer a solution. Shortly explain how the right solution looks like.
- What can you do to solve the problem? Provide a short, clear, and interesting agenda.
Facts and linked stories can almost always be found in the infos of the manufacturer. You don’t have to be super creative. Just do some research!
Main part and techdemos
The main part is really about presenting the solution with the most important details. Try to keep the attention up. Only show clean slides without unnecessary information. Be concise and simplify the charts as much as possible. Don’t lose your audience here. Tech demos are very popular in order to get some interaction with the audience. They are also very risky because things can go wrong. Maybe that’s why they are generally more interesting than slides. You should always try to set up your tech demo redundantly. For example, immudb could be demonstrated running locally on your laptop, hosted on a server or cloud environment, or with the immudb playground. The tech demo is a great opportunity to choose entertaining examples and to interact with the audience.
I love to end the presentation by displaying keywords or a collection of the most important slides on the final slide. People will remember what has been said more easily and are more likely to ask questions. Every good presenter wants feedback. That’s why you have to allow time for questions at the end. Don’t overrun, your audience will hate that. Last but not least: close with a summary. It is important to have the last word to save your presentation from being ruined by a bad question.
In this blog, we talked about doing a tech presentation in an entertaining way. Don’t be too hard on yourself when doing presentations. It is oftentimes more authentic and sympathetic if there are some signs of stage fright.