Five Ways to Make Your Presentation Stick at SATURN 2012

Speakers, now that SATURN 2012 registration is open, it’s time to start thinking about the presentation you’ll be giving at the conference in May. Even experts get pre-presentation jitters, and whether you’re a first-time presenter or a veteran presenter, don’t let yourself get caught off guard the day of.

Presenting at SATURN gives you the unique opportunity to boost your résumé, make invaluable professional contacts, and garner feedback from your peers. Perhaps most importantly, your presentation will be considered for publishing in a future issue of IEEE Software magazine. To make your time at the podium count, read through our Five Ways to Make Your Presentation Stick:

  1. Tell a story. Start off with a compelling personal experience: a way you or your company successfully adopted new software practices, how you benefited from a previous SATURN Conference or other learning opportunity, or your business goals. People love stories, so instead of reading off your bulleted slides, simply talk and engage your audience with genuine details.
  2. Know your audience. Who are the people sitting in front of you? If someone got up and started explaining the intricacies of molecular biology and you’d never before touched a microscope, you would be confused. Understand your audience and fit your presentation into their existing knowledge. Rather than guess, try asking a few guiding questions at the start of your talk to gauge their personalities and experience level.
  3. Make it matter. From your audience’s perspective, what’s in it for them? Tailor your presentation to learning objectives and goals. Use real-life examples, and again, stories, to illustrate your points and paint a bigger picture. Remember, you’re not lecturing, you’re instructing them on how to implement practical changes.
  4. Don’t let your slides do the talking. People are there to hear you; they can read bullets on their own. Be careful not to have too much written text on your slides, and don’t rush through them. Instead, develop effective slides with pictures, diagrams, or graphs that illustrate what you’re saying.
  5. Be confident. The best way to be engaging is to be visibly comfortable at the front of the room. Polish your presentation by practicing beforehand, so you know you’ve got great things to say. Pausing for effect, making eye contact, and beginning and ending with strong statements are signs of confidence your audience will appreciate.

The opportunity to gain exposure at the SATURN 2012 Conference is one you don’t want to ignore. A polished presentation will make your words stick with your audience, leading them to approach you afterwards and engage in further discussion. For more presentation tips, read Jeff Veen’s article on giving great conference presentations.

See you soon in Florida!


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