, 17 tweets, 4 min read Read on Twitter
I gave a talk at @nsnorth a few days ago. I had a great time. It was a wonderful conference. Over the two days, I saw many other people speak, and many people asked me about my talk and how I approached putting it together. So, here are some notes and advice on presenting. 1/
@nsnorth Always match your words to your slide. If you want to tell a long story, click to a slide that says something like “Story Time”. Don’t leave a slide that says “Sales up 50% last quarter”, and then digress to talk about your dog. 2/
@nsnorth Keep your slides moving. In my @nsnorth talk, I spoke for an hour. I had 310 slides. That’s just about twelve slides per minute. Five seconds per slide. 3/
Most of these slides have one line of text, and yes, I almost always read those words. These lines serve as a prompt for my talking. I connect these lines to make points and tell stories. 4/
I break up the progression of text slides with images and graphics. People subconsciously understand a simple format once you introduce it—text slides alternating with visual slides—and like it more if they can’t quite predict whether a text slide or visual slide will be next. 5/
Rehearse! I never go on stage without having done four or five complete run-throughs of my slides with my clicker in hand, speaking out loud as if I was in front of an audience. This is the best way I’ve found to learn my slides and get comfortable with my content. 6/
Get a clicker. Your gestures on stage can (and should) have meaning. Clicking your laptop to advance slides ties you to wherever the computer is, limits your movement, and introduces a number content-free gestures equal to the number of slides in the deck. 7/
I’ve used this Kensington Wireless Presenter for years. Range is great. Batteries last forever. Never had to fiddle to get it to work. Great product. 8/

Use your physical presence on stage. This ties into my comment on gestures. Every move you make can have meaning. 9/
You can move on stage to punctuate a point. Begin moving to set up your “punch line”, then stop moving to deliver it. Your movement matches your words. Your physical stop acts like a period on the end of the sentence. 10/
You can move on stage to give yourself a moment to think. People will follow you for a few seconds and not notice the gap in your talking. Move after making a point, or between sections of your talk. If you mention getting a cup of coffee with co-workers, take a few steps. 11/
Your gestures can direct our attention. Make your gestures big. The people in the back row have to see what you’re doing. If you’re going to point up at a slide, or if you want to make a mock “shoulder shrug” gesture, your hands should probably be above your head. 12/
Making big gestures may feel silly to you, but they’ll read naturally to people in the audience. Within reasonable bounds, the bigger the stage, the bigger your gestures should be. 13/
Put milestones in your presentation. Give the audience some sense of where you are in your talk. You know how long you’ll be talking, but the audience doesn’t. 14/
Tell the audience there will be four sections, and then have numbered slides beginning and ending the sections as you talk through them. Simple. 15/
Unless you are the world’s most fascinating speaker, your audience wants to know how much longer you have to go. Giving them a timetable with visual and storytelling cues reduces their sense of dread that maybe you’ll never stop talking. 16/
Most of all, tell stories. Even in a technical setting, your presentation should have an arc. There should be a point to it all that transcends technology. What’s it all for? Tell us! Personalize. Make it about you and us and why we should care. Tell me a story! /end
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