Programmers, How to do a Presentation

Vuyiswamb
Posted by in Management category on for Beginner level | Points: 250 | Views : 8670 red flag

I am not a good presenter but I know how to put something into writing. That is what I am good at. I am planning at improving my presentation skills and learn to present to the best of my abilities. I have joined a wonderful team of developers and architects (AVANTedge-http://www.avantedge.co.za/). I watched them closely how they interact with each other and I thought to myself. If I had a chance to choose a company that I would work for, I would have chosen them from the beginning of my development career.

Introduction

I am not a good presenter but I know how to put something into writing. That is what I am good at. I am planning at improving my presentation skills and learn to present to the best of my abilities. I have joined a wonderful team of developers and architects (AVANTedge-http://www.avantedge.co.za/). I watched them closely how they interact with each other and I thought to myself. If I had a chance to choose a company that I would work for, I would have chosen them from the beginning of my development career.

In this team i found directors who are still keen at writing code and who knows exactly what they do. I have worked for a lot of companies and individuals, some I won’t include them in my resume for security purposes and the secret clause I signed with them. In the previous companies that I worked for , I met wonderful people , both woman and man and in some of the companies I have won the award of employee of year, not because I out-shined other people, but because I was encouraging team work and I saw good, when other have no hope and I gave them hope in gloomy days that is why most of my previous employers are still after me.

Let me get back to the main reason I wrote this white paper. What was happening in this team I joined recently, is that they take pride in what they do and they believe in what they do. Today the team was making various presentations while divided into groups. I choose not to comment to any of the topics and I studied each and every member of the groups that caught my attention. I realized that this is an easy group of people to work with.They are eager to learn and they are good people personally and good developers. I have  been writing software that is not related to customers or anything to do with clients. What i mean is that i have been working for unknown entities that does something different. The software's i was writing was not something like, “Customer name” “Address” etc. My Software will have something like “IP Address” , “Port” ,"GPS Coordinates”, "Who is that", "What is he Doing", and "With Who" and you can get more on what i am talking about from this article here. This means that I have joined a team that does something different from what i used to do and  to my surprise it easy to fit in the team. My introduction to this article is too long, let me start the topic


Start


Today I have learned how to do a presentation just by looking. It doesn’t matter who you are , at first you will get nervous. Even the people that does presentation at Teched's conferences do practice many times before they present. One of the fears that most of us have when we go for presentations is , “What if I say something wrong? “ , "What if I Fluff in front of people".  These are the fears or questions that invoke fear and doubts in our selves. When you do a presentation about technology you must expect people to disagree with you, even though they don't voice it and you should never feel bad about it. There are many ways to do things. There are programmers who prefer to declare  a string like this

 

String Myvar = string.Empty;

And there are those who prefer to do it like this

string Myvar = string.Empty;

At the end this is the same thing and it has no performance issues whatsoever, the only difference is a case on the string class and one is an alias of another. So people will always differ that is why when someone disagree it does not mean you are doing a bad job at your presentation. One of the most important things that I have learned is that no matter how technically competent you are , if you go to a presentation unprepared you will not do good.There is a possibility that you will choose a topic that is a little bit beyond your understanding and when questions are being asked , you will look stupid to your audience.


Prepare before a Presentation

Years ago I did a presentation to a high profile government official on a Multimillion project that I cannot mention because of the secret clause. The presentation was successful  and the project was carried out and it was finished with the expected goals. The presentation was a walk in the park because I prepared for 2 months. It does not mean you need to prepare for two months as I did to do a good presentation.I think the presentation went well because i prepared. It had nothing to do with my technical competency. I recently did a presentation to my new team and I did not prepare. I depended on my knowledge and for me it did not go well.


Do's and Dont's


There are things I saw people doing in presentations in the past. One of the things, is they are not visible to the whole audience during the presentation, and that is what I did in my recent presentation. I stood behind people and one of my hand was in my pocket. i am not sure what i was holding on in the pocket or maybe i was hiding my hand. i don't know. When you do a presentation you must at least stand near your white board where everyone can see you, where you can move easily. When you stand behind someone it shows some small nervousness in you.

One more thing is saw people do, is that they carry an A4 page or a book that they keep reading from, while doing a presentation. That is really not acceptable. If you do a presentation you can have some cards or cut a small paper into smaller chunks, just to remind you on some points while you are presenting , not an A4 Page or Book. Well one might disagree with me, but we all have seen best presentations done by CEO’s of companies and they don't carry A4 books or A4 pages. I have done one big presentation as i stated above and I was given an order not an advice, that never carry a A4 page that you will read like you are reading a speech, this show that you did not prepare for your presentation or you are not sure what you are talking about.

Good Presenters


There are people who are good at socializing and there people who are quiet and content like me. Those who are good at socializing, they do very good presentations if they want. I wish i was like them. They stand up at anytime and talk about anything at anytime. I admire people like that, though I have a strange way of showing it. In my team i can point out few names like “Paul” , “ST” , “Werner” , “Craig” “Mogale”, ”Kevin”, “William” , “Dylan”, “Raph”. These are the names of people that I see portraying this behavior that I admire. To be a good presenter you need to follow the good presenters. But there are more in the team , though this one’s are the ones that stands out.

Good Attitude and moods


I believe that if you carry a jolly attitude when you go to work, you will automatically do well. When you are called for a presentation , you will automatically do well. Presentations are not for everyone. There are phobias that prevent people from speaking in public or presenting to an audience. These things come naturally, but I believe they can go away with time, if we put a lot of effort in practicing to get rid these fears.  I have always written white papers for you and most of you have never heard my voice and maybe those of you who once heard it thought I sounded different, that is what I said to Sheo the first time he called me from India.

What is a Presentation


There is a difference between a training session and a presentation. One goes deep into detail about the subject and the other just concentrate on the high level bullet point. Most people do provide more information and this lead to longer presentations and the longer it is, the worse a presentation becomes. A presentation should not be short nor long. You just need to make sure that your audience understands what you are saying. One thing I saw in the presentations, is the slides that are used. I saw some text animation that kept on vibrating while the presentation was underway, this destruct your audience. If you have bulleted points slide with your points, make sure when your animated text appear, the animation happens ones and the audience can read the text that is not moving.

What to Wear when doing a Presentation

The word presentation means a lot. You can present wearing a t-shirt. Well it depends on the culture of our company. In my company you can do that , and that is cool. But in most companies , you need to be presentable,  and presentable I don’t mean you need to wear a suit or a tie to do that. But your appearance can destruct your presentation or make your presentation a success. The most important thing that you should remember is that most of the time , what you present is not all about you, but it is about the topic that you researched or a project that you are working on. This means you need to take away the focus on yourself and make sure that the audience concentrate on what you present not you.


Conclusion

I think I have said enough, I have written such articles before and I hope to write more, as I am moving away from coding a bit by bit. These are my thoughts on presentations . We Programmers we are used to our space but at some point we need to present to our peers and i have tried to outline what you should do and not do. If had another chance again to do a presentation on a topic ,I will practice what I preached today.

Thank you for visiting Dotnetfunda

Vuyiswa Maseko

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About the Author

Vuyiswamb
Full Name: Vuyiswa Maseko
Member Level: NotApplicable
Member Status: Member,MVP,Administrator
Member Since: 7/6/2008 11:50:44 PM
Country: South Africa
Thank you for posting at Dotnetfunda [Administrator]
http://www.Dotnetfunda.com
Vuyiswa Junius Maseko is a Founder of Vimalsoft (Pty) Ltd (http://www.vimalsoft.com/) and a forum moderator at www.DotnetFunda. Vuyiswa has been developing for 16 years now. his major strength are C# 1.1,2.0,3.0,3.5,4.0,4.5 and vb.net and sql and his interest were in asp.net, c#, Silverlight,wpf,wcf, wwf and now his interests are in Kinect for Windows,Unity 3D. He has been using .net since the beta version of it. Vuyiswa believes that Kinect and Hololen is the next generation of computing.Thanks to people like Chris Maunder (codeproject), Colin Angus Mackay (codeproject), Dave Kreskowiak (Codeproject), Sheo Narayan (.Netfunda),Rajesh Kumar(Microsoft) They have made vuyiswa what he is today.

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Comments or Responses

Posted by: ttarakarajesh-8732 on: 8/22/2011 | Points: 25
Good article.
Posted by: Vuyiswamb on: 9/24/2011 | Points: 25
thanks

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