Decktopus Content Team
Tips to Ace Your Technical Presentation
Let’s say your company launched a SaaS application a few days ago. As head of the team, the onus is on you to spearhead the sales process. And the first step started with drafting a technical presentation explaining the product. Yes, you are a pro who knows all about the technical aspect, and you might be confident too.
But there are several questions you should ponder over
- Who will you be presenting to?
- How well is everyone aware of SaaS products?
- What should be your approach to drive sales and convince people of the product?
The answers to these questions will change the course of your presentation each time because the content will have to be modified accordingly.
Technical presentations are lengthy, specific, and involve complex information/ideas (often dreary and detailed), making them difficult to deliver over non-technical ones. And that’s why they require a different approach, which we have covered in this article.
How to Deliver a Winning Technical Presentation?
Here are some pro tips for creating impeccable slides and leaving your mark.
1. What is the core message and purpose of your presentation?
Structure your presentation around the key goal, which could be anything from sharing information and eliciting feedback to getting funding or a job offer, etc.
Organizing your presentation around a core theme will help your audience identify and follow the central points that support your content.
For instance, if your goal is to present a scientific result, include more information about what the result means and how it can be used rather than focusing on your methodology.
Or if your goal is to elicit response/feedback on some experiment, focus more on the methods, i.e., advantages, disadvantages of different models, your assumptions, how your model is more useful, etc.
Tell your audience what you want them to do. Why should they do it, and how?
2. Who is your audience?
Knowing your people (audience analysis) will help you stick to the right chord.
It will also help you know how much technical jargon you can rely on and whether images and analogies would suit the audience better.
Your audience might be diverse (investors, clients, customers, etc.) with different interests, knowledge bases, goals, and concerns. And, mind you, they are as central to your presentation as you are. So, know as much as you can about them and structure your presentation accordingly. Highlight how your message overlaps with what these people care about, and remember to include the diverse backgrounds and experiences in the introductory part. And you will have everyone’s attention right from the start.
3. Define a clear outline
You can divide the content into three sections for clear structure and easy comprehension. The first section gives an outline/summary of the main topic and illustrates why it was important enough to become the subject.
The second part can elaborate on the main subject with its minute technical details and everything that the audience needs to know.
The third section can highlight the resolution, solution, CTA, and course of action to the problem presented.
An effective presentation is not one where you detail every possible information about the topic or include as many issues as possible. It is when you can get people to build understanding and support for your central message.
4. Take help of everything that can explain the concept
For any presentation, words/text are not enough. And it becomes all the more imperative in a technical presentation slide.
According to a survey, people prefer 1/4th of the slide composed of text at most.
Since you will have to use jargon here and there, you can’t rely just on your speech. Use pre-designed PowerPoint templates comprising graphs, diagrams, animations, videos, infographics, etc., to help people understand technical concepts and information clearly. You can also use other experiential methods like prototypes, handmade models, or real-time experiments.
For a better understanding, go through this video showcasing paper prototyping of a mobile application :
5. Remember to be consistent
When your presentation slides differ in size, display, structure, etc., it can distract or confuse people and make them lose attention. Creating a consistent theme is important to help people focus and keep your presentation aligned.
Take the help of these tips to incorporate consistency in your work-
- Go for colors that complement each other, following the preferred color scheme.
- Choose fonts that are easy to read in a presentation or digital content like Serif or Sans-serif.
- Go for the same layout for a similar kind of content. Use one kind of layout for cover slides, one kind for section introduction, and one for content slides. It will help your audience categorize the content and know where to look for what information.
And, of course, don’t forget how immensely it will help you as a presenter.
And yes, keep your presentation short – not more than 10 slides. You can go for the 10/20/30 rule, i.e., 10 slides, 20 minutes, and 30 font size.
6. Leave space for questions and queries
Since your presentation is technical and the audience might be diverse, be prepared to answer questions. The major cause of anxiety before a presentation is a lack of preparation. Being thorough with the subject matter will also aid you in answering any questions being asked, apart from avoiding presentation jitters.
Allocate a well-designated time to interact with the audience. You can also do that during the course of the presentation if it doesn’t interfere with your speech. It will keep people engaged and alert as they get small windows to pose queries throughout.
7. Practice sessions
You might be confident about your content, but when you speak/deliver, your words and ideas might come out in a different way and not as you intend.
It could so happen that you are not too good with voice modulation or at specifying relevant points. That’s why it is imperative that you have multiple practice talks before delivering the presentation.
Keep your practice audience small and diverse so that you get relevant opinions and everyone has something to share.
You can share hard copies and remember to number your slides as well. It will help people annotate them and return them at the end. You can videotape yourself as well to see how you come across and improve accordingly.
8. A few quick tips
- Point B
Keep in mind where you want to take your audience through the presentation. What perspective shift do you seek?
Do you want them to invest in the product? Or is it just an internal meeting highlighting the attributes of the product?
WIIFY is an acronym for What’s in It for You. Make sure you present it to your audience. For example, in the case of the SAAS application, your WIIFY to your potential investors would be - Investing in our product will get you an excellent ROI.
Let them know the USP of your proposition and the concept you are presenting. For example, you could highlight your USP as the one place for everything from website development to QA testing.
Use a short statement to capture everyone’s attention. It may be anecdotes, statistics, analogies, aphorisms, a question, etc.
For example, you could start with a statement like - Keep track of how many times I shall say ‘if’ when I explain the success of this product.
Or an analogy like - SAAS is like traveling by train where you have assigned routes and co-ride with other passengers.
Do’s and Dont's
- The presentation should start with the motivation, i.e., why this particular thing needs to be presented.
- Every presentation slide should contain only relevant information and not more than that.
- Titles should be enough on their own (self-explanatory); the rest of the text should be there to support the visuals, comprising relevant graphs, charts, histograms, etc.
- And most importantly, the audience properly understands the message the presenter desires to convey. Also, be mindful of overusing jargon.
In a Nutshell
Be thorough about the topic, learn about your audience, take the help of props and visual aids, and structure your presentation well. Don’t forget to interact with your audience as and when you get the chance. Also, make sure your audience knows what to do with the information you shared, i.e., give them a proper course of action.
Keeping these points in mind will help you create a coherent technical presentation that can serve its purpose.