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I finally got the chance to present and I want to do a reflection of my first presentation. What do I think went alright and what can I do to improve. I want to share my experience presenting because this was amazing! If anybody was present and wants to give more feedback or has any other tips please leave a comment. All the feedback is appreciated!
In 2015 I had the opportunity to go to the SQL Cruise Mediterranean. During that trip I was amazed by the people who came to present and the level of skill they had.
I’ve been blogging for a while and I wanted to take the next step and start to present. It wasn’t until the SQL Cruise that I really set my mind to it. Also the MVP’s there convinced me to do it and of course who would say no to Grant Fritchey who’s telling you to do something (imagining the baseball bat in my mind…. )
A couple of months later I meet up with Andre Kamman on the SQL Saturday Netherlands and we start talking about presenting. I had a presentation ready but never had the opportunity to present.
The day comes
When I got the message from Andre about the event I became a bit anxious.
Would I be able to keep the attention of the attendees?
Was the content good enough to present?
How many people would show up? 10, 20, 50…..
Just a few weeks before the presentation Andre send me a message that there is more than a hundred people coming to the event. OMG!
What Did I Know About My Presentation Skills Up To Now
Imagine that I’ve never done a presentation like this before. Of course as a professional you have to occasionally present for colleagues but that’s something completely different. Besides presenting for colleagues, everybody has to present themselves during an interview for a job.
Also I’ve got experience teaching kids martial arts from the age of 5 to 18. If I had any experience standing in front of a difficult crowd try teaching a class of 30 highly active 5 to 12 year old kids and try keep their attention. Thank you Sensei!
So I knew I’d probably not get nervous presenting in front of a large group.
What Did I Do To Prepare Myself
Tips From The Pro’s
I’ve been fortunate to know people how have been presenting far before me (thank you Jes, Grant, Argenis and Tim). They gave me invaluable tips on how to prepare for a presentation
Here is a list of some of the tips I got from them:
- Practice, practice, practice
- Test your demo (if you do a demo)
First of all you have to have fun doing it. If what you’re telling people doesn’t create a spark in you than you better not present about it because everybody will notice. People came to watch something that interests them so you have a relationship there.
Also this is fun, you get to tell about stuff that matters to you. If one person goes away from the presentation thinking they learned something you’ve already won.
Practice, practice, practice
You’ve got to practice your presentation until you no longer have to think about what to say, just how to say it.
Record your presentation and take notes on how you sound, on how fast you speak and about the things you say.
Present in front of someone else and have them take notes on how you did.
Test your demo
Make sure your demo is solid. Go through the demo as if you’re presenting it.
Make sure your physical or virtual machine is working perfectly. There’s nothing worse than trying to do a demo and everything false apart.
The Internet Is Your Friend
I went online to my good friend Google and searched for tips on the internet. I found a lot of information how to prepare.
A few I found helped me out:
- Top Ten Delivery Tips
- Top Tips for Effective Presentations
- 20 World-Class Presentation Experts Share Their Top Tips
- 5 Tips for Giving Really Amazing Presentations
What Did I Learn From This Presentation, And What Feedback Did I Receive
In the past I learned that I’d rather just talk than have lots of text in my slides. It’s because of that that my slides never have more than a few bullet points. In most cases the slides will have one word or small sentence.
Because I had little to no text in my slides I rehearsed my presentation numerous times. However, even though I had gone over what I was going to say many times, I still stumbled and stalled a few times during the presentation.
In the first part of the presentation I noticed that when I got a question, I would turn the question to myself instead of answering the question. People ask the question from their own perspective and I should never feel challenged about these question but take them with me to improve my presentation.
The second part went a lot better because I finally got into a flow where I no longer had to think about what to say but got to presenting. This was the moment I got a lot more questions and I was able to answer most of them.
What Can I Do To Improve My Presentation Skills
I learned that my confidence level wasn’t too high. That might be the reason why I going through the slides pretty fast the first part of the presentation.
I noticed that after I presented the demos there was a lot more interaction with the audience. This might be because I tried to interact with them more by asking questions to the audience.
The interaction made me think less about the presentation itself and more about what I wanted to present.
I think that I started the presentation with a story made the audience connect. I could’ve made the story more interesting and more about the presentation.
Overall I was pleased with all the feedback I received both the good and the bad. I learned the areas I was confident in and also areas that could use some improvement.
I want to thank all the people who were present at the presentation and especially the ones who gave their feedback. I want to thank PASS Netherlands, and in particular Andre Kamman, for giving me the opportunity to start presenting. This is just the beginning and I’ll certainly continue to present in the future.