February 8, 2011

Presenting in public

It has been almost three years now that I work as a Technology Evangelist for Amazon Web Services. On this matter, you might be interested in reading how I got hired by Amazon.com. It’s also almost three years that I’ve been presenting more than 100 times a year, in different continents, to different audiences. So far, only at Amazon, I “collected” more than 270 events where I presented or keynoted. A fantastic experience.

Today, on this blog, I’d like to share something with you. First, this not-so-recent letter to a Technology Evangelist, in case you’re interested in becoming one.

Second, let me talk about presenting in public.

There are many, many books, and trainers, and material on this topic. One of my favourite authors is Garr Reynolds, and I wrote a few lines about his Presentation Zen book a while ago. I personally met Garr in Seattle, and I’ve been a fan of him ever since. I like his humility, him passion, and his preparation. He’s also fortunate that he can talk about anything he wants, without the need to check your corporate PR guidelines, or your corporate template design (yes, this is something that I have to deal with, sometimes).

If you are NOT a professional presenter, but just someone that wants to present decently, a good start would be to avoid the most common mistakes… Or, put in other words, avoid the so-called Death by Powerpoint, see below.

Death by PowerPoint

My personal view is that the tool itself, Powerpoint in most cases, is overrated. Most people tend to focus on the presentation itself, without wondering what kind of message will be sent out. And this is true if you present in front of your colleagues, or in front of an anonymous audience.

In fact, I love this other book by Garr, The Naked Presenter. The tag lines says it all: delivering powerful presentations with or without slides.

If I find some time, I’ll talk more about my ideas on this blog, in the coming weeks. I am tempted to start working on a book or something similar, but in that case I want to make sure that it’s a unique work, not the same usual boring stuff on how to design slides and such, that we’ve seen too much over and over and over again.

Well, you have some food for thought. Let me know your impressions, comments, suggestions. All the best.