Presentation tips

How to make your point succinctly and non-boringly


I wrote this from the experience of presentations at conferences, so all of this is written in the context of a conference-scale presentation. Some details may differ (e.g., you may not have a fixed-length time slot) and some of the writing may differ.

Even if your presentation is at a meeting rather than a conference, most of this advice applies equally.

Table of contents

An inventory of problems

First, a list of some of the problems that this list seeks to address. Consider whether any or all are true of your presentation:

All of these problems are fixable. Doing all of the things I'll tell you to do below will save you from each of them (with the partial exception of technical problems, for which there is only mitigation).

Required reading

The tips

The “Oh Shit!” card

I've made a quick-reference card that provides solutions for some of the most common non-hardware problems I've seen happen when taking the stage.

If you're a presenter, you can bring this card with you on stage and consult it when you have a problem (that doesn't involve wrong connectors or other missing or malfunctioning hardware).

If you're an organizer, you can have a stack of this card on stage for presenters to consult and/or take.

At present, I only have a Keynote Edition of this card. I'd like to add PowerPoint versions (for both Mac and Windows) at some point.

Revision history