I did a presentation on sqlcmd at the Chicago Sql Server User Group meeting yesterday at Microsoft’s downtown Chicago office. Overall, I think it went pretty well.
For participants, thanks for coming and your great questions. As I mentioned earlier, the slides and scripts used can be downloaded here. Let me know if you have trouble downloading them.
The session lasted for about one hour. Here are the principals that I try to follow for my presentations:
1. Make simple slides. Do not read your slides. Reading slides is a waste of everybody’s time;
2. Do a lot of live demos and hands-on work. Show your concepts and ideas in action;
3. More demos are good. However, do not make your demos so fancy and complicated that your audience have a hard time understanding them. Remember to practice your demos beforehand;
4. Ask questions related to the topic of your session, or ask casual questions to break the ice. This can make your talk interactive, and you will get people’s attention most of the time;
5. However, do not just ask questions for the sake of asking of questions. If you do that, people will sense you are really not interested in their answers, and it will probably backfire on you. I think this also depends on how many people attend your presentation;
6. Be adaptable based on your audience and your interaction with the audience;
7. Prepare, prepare, and prepare more. You obviously need to have a solid understanding of the subject you are presenting. It helps if you do one or more rehearsals, where you pretend you are talking to a live audience. It is good to talk it out loud during your rehearsal, if you can;
8. Some commentaries are good, provided they are based on facts or your own real-world experience. They can make your talk sound interesting and help keep the audience engaged. Here the right attitude is the key. If you are self-righteous and/or start lecturing people, you will not have a good presentation;
9. Preparation also means that wear the clothes you feel comfortable with, brush your teeth properly so you can have a confident smile, get to the meeting place ahead of time, etc., etc..
10. Creating flash cards helped me. I ended up not using them at all, but the process of doing it helped me understand my own material, the questions I wanted to ask, the humors and anecdotes I can use, etc..
What other tips do you have?