When you are preparing for an event, meetup, webinar or other activity and you want to build an effective outreach to developers in your community, you can follow 10 steps to create interest, start the engagement, lead your members to prepare and participate, and create a catalog of digital assets that you can use to drive their journey to purchase.
- Create a blog/news item on a technical topic to start your developer member’s interest and engender engagement.
- Create the Event/Webinar – invite developers.
- Create 2-3 short teaser videos (like you see for movies that have “trailer” and “teaser” clips to drive interest and social buzz) and post these to developer social media portals.
- Hire a subject matter expert/author to create an Independent Expert White Paper (20-60 pages depending on the complexity of the architecture and technology) with supporting information for the topic area.
- Encourage developers to download the available materials in advance of the event/webinar to prepare for and follow along with the presentation.
- Run the Event/Webinar in multiple locations / time zones. Remember that developers have different schedules and are located in different countries.
- Package the slides, demos, and notes for reuse by team members, partners, and other leaders in your community.
- Create a landing page with all of the videos, code/project samples and demos, slides, technical paper, and additional info/links
- Email all of the attendees/no shows and other community members with links to the landing page. Track their progress in using the materials with tracking links.
- Nurture all of those interested in the topic with additional information and offers based on their individual path(s) along the journey.
Creating all of these reusable assets and collecting them together into landing pages and placing them in an easy to find catalog on your developer community site will allow members to quickly follow a learning path and enter at a point in their development journey based on their interest area and technical level.
This 10 step process was covered in the recent DevRelate Webinar, “Effectively Communicating with Developers“. Additional information about this webinar is available on the webinar’s information links page and on the webinar replay page (DevRelate memberships required).
This week, I am presenting a DevRelate webinar, “Know your Developers and Creating Personas” on Tuesday (June 20) and Thursday (June 22). Creating developer personas is one of the first steps to applying more modern developer marketing techniques in a technology world that is more and more individualized. This DevRelate webinar introduces you to different types of developers. This blog post contains additional information and links covered in the webinar.
Know your Developers
Discovering Developer Personas Specific to Your Technology – Evans Data Research Service
Understanding the personas of your targeted developer segments allows you to:
- Communicate more clearly with each persona
- Provide the tools and technologies each persona uses
- Provide the level and type of support each expects
- Find developers that match the personas for effective outreach
- Understand where each persona can be reached
Developer Personas I have Known – a DevRelate blog post.
Developer Program Workshops and Assessments
Evans Data’s Developer Program Advisory provides expert program guidance through workshops and assessments from proven program leaders to help make your program the best it can be. Contact us today for a free consultation.
We just completed the 13th Annual Evans Data Developer Relations Conference which was held in Palo Alto California on March 27 and 28 (the Boot Camp took place on Sunday March 26th). As I was watching some of the presenters and their presentations, I was thinking back to the early presentation training I received from Jerry Weissman. I love sitting in on other speaker presentations. I know there is always something new I can learn about speaking in front of an audience including tips, techniques, slides and demos. While we were doing our conference retrospective meeting back in the office, I was thinking about what more I can do to help Developer Relations professionals and decided to pull together some of what I learned from Jerry and other presenters over my many years of presentations, panel discussions, webinars, product launches, and meetups.
Beyond the title of this article, here are see some of my thoughts about what I’ve learned by giving presentations, what I’ve seen in watching other presenters, and the days I spent, years ago, with Jerry Weissman. The only other piece of advice I have is to practice and present as often as you can – if you want to add presenting to your skills inventory.
Power Presentations, Ltd.: Corporate Presentation Training – Jerry Weissman
About Jerry: “Jerry Weissman is the world’s number one corporate presentations coach. His private client list reads like a who’s who of the world’s best companies, including the top brass at Yahoo!, Intel, Intuit, Cisco Systems, Microsoft, Dolby Labs and many others.” Read more about Jerry and his company – https://www.powerltd.com/aboutus/
You should definitely Buy and Read his book: Presenting to Win: The Art of Telling Your Story, Updated and Expanded Edition
Jerry’s top words of wisdom about your presentation: “The key building block for Audience Advocacy is WIIFY — What’s In It For You. The WIIFY is the audience benefit. In any presentation, before you make any statement about yourself or your company, or the products and services you offer, ask yourself, What’s the WIIFY? What benefit does this offer my listener?”
Presenting to a Live Audience or Meeting
Here are the three aspects for giving a great presentation that includes slides/visuals. Doing live demonstrations or products and technologies adds several additional levels of training, setup, practice and especially how to handle “exception” cases when the demos don’t go very well.
- Eye Contact – keep your eyes on the audience, not on the floor, sky, etc. Look around the audience – front, left, right, middle, back. Move about the stage or front of the room – but don’t make quick moves like some comedians do, and don’t pace. Pretend that you are speaking one on one – in those conversations you usually look in the other person’s eyes when you are speaking with them. Do the same with your audience.
- Reach Out – engage the audience with your hands, person. This advice comes from the days of the Knights with the handshake. A Knight meeting another Knight, would reach out their hand to show that they didn’t have a weapon. Reaching out to the audience will bring them in, show that you are open to them. If you feel comfortable, you can even go out in to the audience or move about the room. One time I started my talk while sitting in the audience with attendees and then moved around before I got to the front of the room. A couple other bits of advice for reaching out to the audience:
- Avoid using a podium. While you need something to put your computer on – use a table, or stand for the computer. Speakers hide behind the podium, use it as a crutch, grab on to it. This means that you are putting barriers between you and your audience.
- Use a remote control to advance your slides. This way you are separated from the computer and engaged more with the audience. Even better would be to have someone advance your slides – this way you don’t have anything in your hands that you might fiddle with. If you don’t have someone to advance your slides you can always combine moving to get some water and hit the spacebar on your computer and then move away.
- Avoid putting your hands in your pockets – this could alarm the audience that you are going for a weapon, or keep you from reaching out. If you feel compelled to fidget with your hands – do it behind your back for a moment.
- Animate – be animated but not crazy. It’s okay to nod your head, move your hands/arms around – not waving wildly – shake your head and shoulders. Don’t stand stiff even if you are petrified during a talk. Moving about will help you relax and also support having eye contact with a larger audience/room and also is part of your reaching out to the audience.
2) Avoid the Um(s), Ah(s), And(s), So(s), You Know(s), Stutter Starts/Restarts, etc.
- Presenters sometimes feel that they always need to be talking doing a presentation. We feel compelled to be speaking, outputting audio even when moving between thoughts, bullet points, etc. Unconsciously many of us will use the Um(s), Ah(s) and such – often without realizing it. A better approach is to pause and rest your voice for a moment – this also lets the audience take a rest (they need it too). The only real way to fix this (if you have a bad case of them) is to record yourself giving a presentation for about 10-15 minutes at least. Play it back and watch and listen to yourself to count how many times you hear yourself with the Um(s) and Aw(s). As someone who edits presentations and webinars to create replays, I can tell you that I will usually remove 3-5 minutes of them in a 30 minute presentation. I still have this problem, using during Q&A time.
- Let the audience read a quote – and you read along with them quietly at a “normal” reading pace. Instead of reading a quote that is already on your slide and the screens. The audience will be reading the quote while you are reciting it anyway. Let them. After you and they have read the quote, then you can talk about why you put the quote on the screen. IF your slide has a video with audio – you usually wouldn’t talk over the audio – why talk while everyone is reading?
- Stutter Starts/Restarts – here I am not talking about stuttering. I’m talking about the starting a thought, stopping, starting the thought again, stopping, changing your starting thought. My advice is to put a slide up or listen to a question being asked and think a bit before you start talking. Again, the audience is still probably taking in the Slide, the question, the image. It’s okay for a few seconds to make sure you have your thoughts together and then talk. This can also happen to some presenters when you are trying to think and speak at the same time. Practicing your presentation, reviewing your slides multiple times before a presentation will help you feel that you can talk without starting, stopping, restarting. Allowing yourself to think on your feet and then speak will also allow the audience to think.
3) Mr. Roy G. Biv – Creating your presentation
3a) Colors – know the color spectrum and what colors work well with others. Take a look at the following and be reminded of our dear old friend: Roy G. Biv. Who is Roy? No one but it serves to remind us of what colors to combine in your presentations. Of course there are variations of colors beyond the specific rainbow and spectrum – Red, Light Red, Pink, etc.
ROY G BIV + White, Shades of Grey and Black – the Chinese restaurant menu of choices.
Choose one from column A:
Choose one from column B:
- Green – works with just about everything
Choose one from column C:
Have you noticed how well Yellow on a Blue background looks good? Adding drop shadows can also increase the clarity. You can use White, Black and shades of Grey with your choices.
3b) Color challenged attendees – the challenges related to how the eye is constructed and works – think Rods and Cones. The fact that some humans have eye conditions that might steer you to avoid certain colors or color combinations because of color blindness and other color based sight impairments. There are different types or color categories for color blindness:
- Red Green color blindness – the most common type of color blindness – three conditions: Protanomaly (1 % of males) – Red, Orange and Yellow can appear greener. Protonopia (1 % of males) – red appears black. Shades of orange, yellow and green appear as yellow. Deuteranomaly (5 % of males) – yellow and green can appear redder, can be difficult to distinguish between violet and blue. Deuteranopia (1 % of males) – red looks brownish yellow, green looks beige.
- Blue Yellow color blindness – rarer than red green – two conditions: Tritanomaly (extremely rare) – Blue appears greener and it can be difficult to tell yellow and red from pink. Tritanopia (extremely rare) – blue appears greener, yellow appears violet or light grey
- Complete color blindness – most rare. Two forms: Cone Monochromacy – trouble distinguishing colors. Rod Monochromacy or achromatopsia – everything is black, white and grey.
3c) Resources for additional reading in this area
Other Presenter and Presentation Aspects to Consider
There are many other aspects for building and giving a great presentation. This blog post could go on for ever. Of course, as a presenter, you should be yourself, smile, exude enthusiasm, be confident, consider making startling statements, and more. For your slide show here are a few bits of advice that I review from time to time.
- Room temperature – depending on the room size, you may have to deal with cold or hot rooms. What should you do? Remember first that the audience will also feel the same effects of the room temperature and humidity. If you have control over the environment, have the hotel, convention center or team set the room temperature as if it has bodies in it. If you can’t control the environmental aspects – then you (and your audience) can follow the same advice we give each other about wearing layers that you can take off and put on throughout the presentation.
- Sound System, Speakers noise, buzzing, hum – get to the room early (if you can) and check out the audio system (do a sound check) if there is one. If there is a nasty background noise in the audio system – have the AV team fix the problem before you start. No one likes to hear buzzing, static or hum while you are presenting. It is a major distraction. If your presentation has audio in it – make sure you have the right connectors and sound levels. Alert the A/V team as far in advance that you have special requirements for your computer, audio, power, device, etc. setup. Again, get into your room early to make sure you have all that you need. Don’t assume connectors or adapters. If you are going to be presenting a lot, bring what you need.
- Video Connectors – depending on your computer, notebook, and device – bring connectors, adapters and cables to connect to the projector or large monitor. My MacBook Pro has HDMI output. This is the norm today for most “modern” projectors and monitors. But, just in case, I also bring adapters for VGA and DVI just in case.
- Internet Connection – Most places have Internet access. But sometimes the quality of the Internet signal or speed is less than what you need. Sometimes you will need some ports opened that are blocked in the location you are presenting. I have a second mobile phone that I can set up as a Hot Spot to give me a better quality and open ports. For example, I use Airplay to display the screen of my iPhone on my Mac connected to a projector/monitor. Airplay requires some ports that are often blocked. The only ways around this are to ask that an Airplay set of ports be opened (good luck) or to use an alternate Internet connection – hot spot to the rescue. The second benefit of using a phone as a Hot Spot is to avoid being caught up in bad internet speed in a hotel or convention center, or too many other devices connected to the same Wi-Fi or wired network.
- Your Cell Phone – set it to “Do Not Disturb” or completely off. Put it away from the sound system to avoid interference, buzzing and other distractions. Do not have it in your pocket or attached to your belt. Unless it is part of your demo, tell anyone who might message or call that you are giving a presentation during a specific date/time and won’t be monitoring your phone.
- Fluids – If you are going to keep hydrated, drink still water that is room temperature. No Ice Water – constricts the vocal cords? Avoid too much coffee, never drink alcohol before, during or after a presentation (unless it is in the evening after all of your sessions are completed), Red Bull, 5-Hour Energy, chocolate/sugar, etc. Be naturally amped up for your audience. Get a good night’s sleep the night before and hydrate, hydrate, hydrate (ok, watch your total fluid intake so that you won’t need to take an unplanned break in the middle of your presentation).
- Floor monitors for video and audio – For a larger room/convention center – have a floor monitor (or 2 or 3 if it is a large stage and large audience) between you, stage and the audience. If there isn’t room or separate monitor available, it’s okay to turn look at a slide and refer to it. It’s also good to have audio monitor speakers between you and the audience (if possible) – then you won’t have to ask the audience if they can hear you. You can hear what the audience is hearing.
- Audio Feedback and Projector Blindness – avoid getting near the PA system speakers. The audience doesn’t want to hear a 60’s Jimi Hendrix guitar/amp feedback. If the projector is not behind the screen or raised above your head, now where the beam is and avoid standing between the projector and the screen. Don’t go near the light “Carol Anne” – you’ll have spots in your eyes for a while.
- Lighting – Don’t have bright lights shine on the screen that your presentation is being projected on. The lights will wash out your slides. While you don’t want to have complete dark in the room, you can usually play with the room pre-sets to get lights off the screen. If you can’t control the lights yourself, you can ask the hotel or convention center to set up a preset for your room. One other option would be to move your screen and projector to another part of the room where the ceiling lights won’t affect the quality of your slides.
Practice, Practice, Practice
- Practice in the mirror and on camera. I know that it is hard to watch yourself on video, but it is important to take an honest look at yourself. Count the number of um(s), ah(s), bobbles, times not looking into the camera, etc. Think about what you see in regards to what you have read above and also what you are trying to accomplish in your presentation. How does it look and sound to you?
- If you’re the kind of person that can’t practice to a camera, to an empty room or in front of a mirror, practice in front of your family, office mates, or a picture of a group of people.
- Rinse and Repeat – make any changes/adjustments. Record yourself again. Do you see improvements? Do you have less um(s), ah(s), not look at and reaching out to the camera and animating? Repeat as often as necessary.
Give lots of Presentations of Different Types/Kinds
Variety is the Spice of Life! Once you are ready, give lots of presentations or all types, topics and lengths. Solicit and read (if there are speaker evaluation forms) all of comments after your presentations. Take all of the comments and suggestions to heart. Remember also, that there might always be one or a few outlier evaluators in your audience that don’t like you, don’t like your presentation, and don’t like anything. It is okay to try and learn a nugget from these attendees, but don’t let that color all of the other feedback.
Good Luck (So Long) and Thanks for All the Fish!
I wish you all good luck in all of your future presentations. I hope that all of your presentations will be warmly received. While you might have a less than stellar presentation from time to time, you can always learn from missteps and get more comfortable and professional as a presenter every time you get in front of an audience.
Do You have your own Presentation Tips and Experiences?
Send me an email if you have your own presentation best practices or links to your favorite presenter advice articles.
David Intersimone “David I”
Vice President of Developer Communities
Evans Data Corporation
At this year’s Evans Data Developer Relations Conference, March 27 and 28, at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Palo Alto California, attendees will hear from Guy Kawasaki, the world’s best developer evangelist. I first met Guy when the Macintosh computer was launched when he and Alain Rossmann delivered an early Mac to the company I was working for, Softsel Computer Products, in Los Angeles.
Guy and Alain carried the Mac on the plane in a bag (back then you did not have to take your computer out for screening before boarding the plane). They showed me the new computer, demonstrated the software and left it with me. Their goal at the time was to get as much Macintosh software into computer stores (yes, there were stores back them for hardware and software) as soon as possible. I remember taking the computer home over the weekend and with my brother-in-law Leigh, we played with and learned about the Mac. We first used Mac Basic to write some test programs and to peek and poke around the Mac’s memory. Then we used Digital Research’s CPM/68k and developer tools to do some additional testing.
I’ve had the distinct pleasure of introducing Guy as a keynote speaker at one of Borland’s (now called Embarcadero) developer conference. Guy often tells people that I’m the only one who has ever introduced him as a keynote speaker wearing shorts and a tie dye t-shirt. Welcome to Santa Cruz, Guy! At that developer conference, Guy spoke about his “Rules for Revolutionaries” with 10 rules taken from the book. I often use Rule #5, “Make Evangelists, Not Sales”, in my evangelism talks to developer relations program professionals and software companies.
I’ve heard Guy present more times that I can remember and I learn something new from him every time. After he spoke about his 10 tips for using Social Media (he and Peg Fitzpatrick are the authors of “The Art of Social Media“) at our local Santa Cruz New Tech Meetup, You can watch the Facebook Live replay. I went home and immediately updated all of my social sites avatars and background images.
Evans Data Press Release about Guy Kawasaki and the 13th Annual Developer Relations Conference
In a recent press release, Evans Data announced that Guy Kawasaki will be part of the keynote lineup of speakers for the 13th annual Developer Relations Conference on March 27-28, 2017 in Palo Alto, CA.
“Over the past 13 years the Developer Relations Conference has been bringing together leading authorities on developer relations and developer ecosystem strategy to meet, forge partnerships, and exchange insights on developer ecosystem development,” said Janel Garvin, CEO of Evans Data Corp. “This year’s conference will be no exception and we’re delighted to be joined by legendary evangelist Guy Kawasaki for his keynote session on “The Art of Evangelism.”
If you’ve never had the pleasure of seeing Guy Kawasaki, currently the chief evangelist of Canva, live you should join us in Palo Alto at the end of March. If you need Guy’s keen developer evangelism insights to help you enhance your developer outreach program, you shouldn’t miss this opportunity to learn from Guy any many other world class developer relations program leaders, advocates and evangelists.
Register now for the Evans Data Developer Relations Conference. You can also register for the Sunday, all day, Developer Relations Boot Camp to kick start and accelerate your company’s developer outreach program.
David Intersimone “David I”
Vice President of Developer Communities
Evans Data Corporation
It was an honor and privilege to listen to Guy Kawasaki speak at the recent Santa Cruz New Tech Meetup on Wednesday, November 2 at the Hotel Paradox. Evans Data‘s offices are just down the street, so several of our team walked a few minutes to the hotel. Guy, who is now a Santa Cruz county resident, gave a great presentation, “The Art of Social Media” (co-authored with Peg Fitzpatrick) using his “10/20/30 rule of Powerpoint” format. The 10/20/30 rule is 10 slides, 20 minutes and 30 point font. While Guy went longer than 20 minutes, he finished soon enough that I had time to drive home and still catch the 10th inning of the World Series Game 7 Chicago Cubs win (thanks to the rain delay between the 9th and 10th inning).
Guy Kawasaki – Best Evangelist on the Planet
I first met Guy Kawasaki back in 1984 when he and Alain Rossman brought the first Macintosh computer down to the Softsel Computer Products (now Merisel) offices in Los Angeles. They gave us the Mac so that we could help get software into computer stores as fast as possible (Softsel was a major software distributor in the early days of the PC business). Who remembers that there were these brick and mortal stores that sold computers and software, some only sold software (Software Centers International, Egghead Software, etc). While I was at Borland, we had Guy Kawasaki give a keynote at one of our annual developer conferences (Guy noted that I was the first person wearing shorts and a tie dye t-shirt to introduce him) where he talked about his book “Rules for Revolutionaries” (co-authored with Michele Moreno). I have rule 5, “Make Evangelists and not Sales” on a slide in many of presentations (every developer evangelist should read and re-read this book periodically).
Guy’s “The Art of Social Media” includes the following topics (note: while Guy uses 10 slides in his presentations, there are 12 chapters in the book):
- How to Optimize your Profile
- How to Feed the Content Monster
- How to Perfect Your Posts
- How to Respond to Comments
- How to Integrate Social Media and Blogging
- How to Get More Followers
- How to Socialize Events
- How to Run Google+ Hangouts On Air
- How to Rock a Twitter Chat
- How to Avoid Looking Clueless
- How to Optimize for Individual Platforms
- How to Put Everything Together
A great companion resource for Developer Relations professionals and Social Media power users is available on Peg Fitzpatrick’s site – “The Art of Social Media Apps and Services Resource List“. There is also an awesome “Art of Social Media” presentation video by Guy and Peg that is linked from the Artof.social site.
Optimizing my Profile on my Social Sites
After the Cubs won the world series, I went to my computer and used Guy’s advice to update the images on my social sites. In his presentation he talked about “Building a Foundation” by optimizing your photo and profile. Step 1: Guy advises everyone to set your Avatar to a well lit picture and focus on your Face (look at the avatar and ask yourself if you think people will say this person is likable, trustworthy and competent), be Asymetrical (offset your face in the photo). Step 2: take a look at your cover photo (most social sites allow you to have a top of page background photo) and make sure it tells your story and not showcase pictures of your pets (for example). I did just what Guy advised and now my social sites have updated avatars and background photos. You can see my updated Facebook technology page at https://www.facebook.com/davidi99/ (where I post developer and development focused news and articles). Thanks for the tips Guy 😀
Developer Relations Professionals – Guy and David I can help You!
Guy gives presentations all over the planet. Guy speaks at developer, vendor and industry conferences. If you are interested in finding out more information, you can visit Guy’s web site. Check out his books. David I note: I am not Guy’s agent. I am just a fan!
I also present at many conferences and I am ready to help your developer relations program in every way.
David Intersimone “David I”
Vice President of Developer Communities
Evans Data Corporation
I have given thousands of presentations to tens of thousands of developers in person and online webinars. It’s been great to be able to create and present a broad range of technical sessions, keynotes, webinars, hands on labs, briefings, etc. It’s also an honor and a privilege to talk and listen to developers while showing them new technologies, architectures, methodologies, compilers, frameworks, libraries and tools. One of the most important things that we can do in our developer relations programs is to help educate our members. Meeting and geeking with developers is always a shared experience for me as I learn as much from developers as I present to them. Sometimes I have the luxury of attending developer conferences and meetups and learn new, cool tech from other developers. What makes a great tech session? What do developers want to see and hear from a developer relations evangelist? Here are a few of the Developer Tech Session best practices, observations and ideas that I’ve learned over more than 30 years as an evangelist.
Giving a Great Developer Tech Session
Developers have told me what they look forward in a technical session. Developers are not shy or quiet. They will also tell me when one of my presentations didn’t live up to their expectations or doesn’t cover the topic.
- Have a clear session title, description, agenda, timing, prerequisites, use cases, expected audience (who should attend) and expected session outcomes (what they’ll see, learn and walk away with). Ensuring that the session information is clear and focused will set the stage for a satisfied developer audience. Of course there will always be a few developers who won’t read the session information in advance of your presentation.
- Developers want to learn cutting edge methods, technologies, architectures and best practices. Make sure that your presentation is as technically exciting and interesting to you as it will be for your audience. It’s always fun to be able to show cool products, cool technology and cool demos.
- Have more source code than slides. Developers love to look at code and dislike slides. My good friend Charlie Calvert would refuse to use a slide application and would instead put bullet points, images and notes on HTML pages and use a browser for the non-source code parts of his presentations. If you need to have a couple of slides, try to keep them to a minimum: title slide, agenda slide, an architecture slide or two and a final Q&A slide with your contact, short URL to your a blog post for your presentation and source code download information.
- For source code, make sure your development environment or programmer’s editor has a large clear font. For source code I use Lucida Console font with 14 point size (or higher if you are presenting in a larger room). If you are using an IDE also configure it with a “Source Code Only” layout option. If you are giving a webinar, use 1920×1080 screen resolution (your developer audience will have multiple high resolution monitors on their desktops). If you are giving a live presentation, know the size of the room, display your desktop with code and walk to the far reaches of the room to see if you can read the font.
- Prepare and practice, practice, practice for your developer technology presentation. Doing this will help you avoid some of the challenging demo issues, configuration settings and timing problems for your session. There is always the possibility that you will be hit by the “demo beast” and have to remark “that’s never happened before”. A mysterious bug or crash will also have happened to every developer attendee in the audience. Problems, hopefully only one, will show that you are human.
- Developers love to see and listen to a dynamic presenter. This doesn’t mean that you should run around the stage, crack jokes, rant, rave, wear goofy hats, etc unless they are relevant to your presentation. Your audience audience will enjoy your session when they see that you are really excited about the topic, technology, tools, projects, source code and techniques.
- Arrive early for your presentation, check the setup and configuration (especially if you have multiple computers, servers, devices and internet connections) and make one last pass through the slides and demos before you start your presentation. It’s always good to make sure that something didn’t change since the last night. Remind yourself to talk clearly, loud enough for the room and slowly (especially if audience members don’t speak the same human language as you, thankfully all programming languages and most libraries/frameworks have English keywords and function names). If you have consumed too much coffee, Red Bull, Mountain Dew Code Red, 5 hour energy drinks and other high octane beverages, take care to not over rev during your presentation.
- Turn off all of your popups, notifications, Skype, emails, alarms, screen savers, sleep/hibernate modes and other operating system and apps that will disrupt your presentation. Developers don’t want to read all of your instant messages, calendar alerts, etc. You probably don’t want them to see confidential information, meeting reminders, messages from your family either.
- Control the audience during your presentation. Don’t allow some attendees to take you and the audience off topic (they can come up afterwards to ask their specific questions). It’s okay to take some questions along the way, especially if your presentation has logical transition points. If you are going to cover a topic later in the presentation, gently reply to a questioner that patience is a virtue and what they are asking for is coming up soon in the presentation.
- Did I mention to show lots of source code? You can never explain the source code enough to a developer. It’s okay to type in code during your presentation. That’s what we as developers spend a lot of our time doing. This also helps the audience follow along and kibitz with you on typos and alternatives. I believe that it is also acceptable to open prebuilt projects as long as you explain the project and walk developers through the source code. It’s also okay to have snippets of code ready in a notepad, especially for some longer and complex code sections I doubt that they whole audience will sit there and watch you type in thousands of lines of code.
A Few Final Bits of Advice
If you are going to use some slides and other visuals here are a few additional bits of advice.
- Take care with your color sections for fonts. Some audience members may have a color vision deficiency for red, green or blue. I had presenter training early in my evangelism career and was introduced to Mr. “Roy G Biv” (Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo, Violet). For text color selections choose one from Roy and one from Biv. Green, Black, White and 50 shades of grey are okay to mix in.
- If you need to include Slides in your technical presentation – you should read Guy Kawasaki’s “10/20/30 Rule for Powerpoint“. Visuals can convey so much more that text for most slides. If you have to have bullet points with words, try to use the 4×4 rule – 4 bullet points with 4 words max each.
- Have a blog post availalble in advance for every presentation you give. Make sure there is an easy to remember ShortURL for your blog post. With the blog post you can provide links to additional information, resources, sample code and some of the questions asked during your session. You can always update the information omn the blog post for days, weeks and years after the presentation takes place.
- Give the audience your contact information including email address, twitter handle, SkypeID and blog URL. If you take the time to present and your audience takes the time to attend, you will be just at the first step in a mutually beneficial relationship.
Do you have other Technical Presentation advice?
Being a developer relations evangelist or team member is a great thig. We are on this software development and technology journey together. I love getting your presenter and attendee ideas and feedback.