For most of us, technical presentations have been a challenge since college. Others still get sweaty palms and every time they have to give technical presentation. This is absolutely normal and as in anything else in life, your skills can be enhanced through proper practice. The following list provides some simple principles that will help you in conducting successful technical presentations.
No matter who the audience is, do your homework well. You may have been working in the field of mechanical engineering for over two decades and might think it is no big deal to make a presentation for new engineers. You are wrong. Be thoroughly prepared about the subject and refresh through the notes no matter how many times you have made the same presentation.
Know your audience
Make sure you know who your audience comprises of before you make the presentation. Such insight will help you tailor your presentation accordingly and also gives you a chance to anticipate the kind of questions you should expect. Put yourself in the shoes of the participants and think what they would want to hear. No matter what the technical presentation is about, think about it from the perspective of the participants.
Use visible fonts
Never use font sizes that cannot be read by the backbenchers. Check both the font and the size before you actually make the presentation. If you area able to access the conference room you will be using, you should load your presentation before hand and run it to make sure that it is visible from all angles. If you cannot access the conference, make sure you determine the size of the room, and the position of the furthest seat. From this, you should be able to simulate the exact room configuration and adjust your PowerPoint accordingly.
Use meaningful content
Every slide you use during the presentation should have meaningful content. There is absolutely no need to use filler slides. Doing so only sends the perception that you do not know your content well enough. Also, as a rule, never read out from the slides. If you do, the audience will quickly realize it and some will soon find it more effective to read the slides instead of listening to you. Beside, the slides are there to only provide summaries of what you are talking about.
Modulate your speech
If your voice is without any modulation, it is likely to put the audience to sleep. Speak with confidence. Remember that the participants look up to you as the authority in the technical matter you are presenting. A clear and authoritative voice can mesmerize your audience. A good speaker does not even need a microphone; he can throw up his voice to the back of the room with ease.
Be passionate about what you are presenting
Never make a technical presentation about a matter that you are not passionate about. Care deeply for what you are speaking. You can forget all the points above, but if you are not passionate about what you are presenting, it is very unlikely that you will get a good feedback on your presentation.
Backup and have backups
It will one day happen that in the most important presentation of your life, the computer will conveniently crash; the projector will cease to function, and the light will go out. So what will you do?
Technology will always fail us and it is up to us to make sure that we have a way to access information incase of such an occurrence. First, you should always carry your files on a memory stick. These same files should also be stored online. If everything fails you, then you better make sure you have hard copies of your presentation.