How to improve your presentation skills

Know your audience

Before we organize any hackathon, we have a thorough discussion with the client to learn about the audience. We ask lots of questions including:

  • Experience
  • Background in the subject
  • Company’s industry
  • Some information about the project
  • Number of people

That is just the beginning. We ask questions so we can modify the hackathon and presentations. For example, we remove information for complete beginners if we know that the participants already have some background in the subject. If we did not do it then people would get bored and it would be very hard to get back their attention. We change examples and challenges to make them more relevant to the audience.

Define your goals

Your goals for the presentation should help you define the topic to choose, the length of the presentation, etc. What are you trying to achieve by doing the presentation? Let’s say you want to show necessity and advantages of Scrum. What are the essential parts of Scrum that people should get so they can later use it? Is it 15-minute daily meetings? Write down the most important points. After that, it will be easy to follow them and not sidetrack at the presentation.

Do not be discouraged

At almost every event, we encounter a few people who do not like it. Why? The main reason is that they had different expectations. Some people thought that the hackathon is similar to a regular training session, other people do not like that they have to skip meetings for the whole day. Do not be discouraged by that. If the overwhelming majority liked your presentation you did amazing. If most people liked it then you did great. In any scenario try to get feedback. It will help you improve your skills without feeling down.

Practice

All of our instructors when they started had the same problems. They did not leave enough time for questions, challenges were too difficult, presentations were too long, etc. With time they built their skills and polished the material. Only by practicing, getting the feedback, incorporating feedback, and practicing again, they managed to improve their skills.

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