Shirish is a fast learner with an IQ way above average , I would presume .He recently made his first major technical presentation to a group of 50 or so techies ,with some of them joining in the session via video conferencing. He told me was nervous in the run up to the presentation but not so during it .He also ran into a spot of difficultiy in the first ten minutes ,as he felt he had got off to an inappropriate start, and as he said ,seemed to be heading no where . He took the difficult step of asking for a five minute break as he gathered his thoughts before commencing again . He went on to do a reasonably good presentation although he over ran his time by a long shot and some of his colleagues missed their flights !!
He is a fast learner , as I said and his own reading of the situation was that he has very well informed on the subject of his presentation and could answer comfortably any question raised by the audience .This kept him confident and free of nervousness. He also felt he had done a poor job of planning both from the perspective of what to cover and in the sequence that would facilitate easy absorption by the audience and also in terms of keeping to the alotted time .These are vital ingredients to a good presentation and I am sure my son would do very much better in subsequent presentations.
I would give to Shirish a few tips that will ensure he makes great presentations to diverse audiences under differing situations .The first would be to understand clearly who the presentation is being made to and establish the purpose, scope and content as the first step in planning . Then would come the messaging he plans to include in his presentation out of which flows the substance , sequence and visual aids that may be necessary. Preparation and home work to be ready with all possible aspects of the topic in hand is necessary along with a plan to release this additional information gradually ,based on audience interest, reactions & questions . Planning for the alotted time is extremely important because a presenter must finish on time unless requested to carry on due to audience interest .This would mean rehearsing the entire presentation with a planned emphasis on each of the key information areas with allowances for questions and debate and preplanning for recovering time .
During the presentation I would advise him to start with an ice breaker of sorts .For a techie group giving them the objectives and scope of the presentation is a fairly good way to get started .Taking feedback up front if the scope and objectives meets the audience’s expectations is also necessary and a good yard stick to gauge if changes may be necessary to the planned flow of the presentation. Great pre-work enables a presenter to make spot changes to the presentation and communication based on continuous on line feedback from audience reactions & questions .In the final analysis a presenter must meet the expectations of the group while ensuring that all the important messages and information bytes are correctly communicated .
This looks like a management sermon but the truth is that I was very happy with the way Shirish approached his presentation and the lessons he learnt from it .I did give him, off the cuff ,some of the advise given above but I nevertheless felt the urge to pen these thoughts in the spirit of capturing all events and thoughts significant to life around me .