August 2011 - Posts

The early bird discount ends tomorrow (Friday) so make sure you register to ensure you get the best price £375 for 3 days of awesome SQL Server content.

As has been mentioned in the email this week, thanks to the sponsorship we get, we are also making the evenings more of a social thing. We will having something on both Thursday and Friday nights so make sure you book your overnight stay so you can make the most of the whole conference.

I’ll be posting more about the evening events which will run until 10-10.30 ish on each night. We’ve already announced that we have a two live bands on one night, including a surprise star from the SQL world.

Keep posted for more details soon.

In the mean time make sure you register now.

Posted by simonsabin | with no comments

Do you have any children? Well if you don’t then I can strongly advise that you get some, to help your presentation style.

This isn’t an excuse to just go out and have intercourse with anybody just so you have some mini mes on the planet this is about learning how to tell a story.

I don’t know about you but, in my every day life, I don’t think too much about how I talk to people. Largely because when I talk I’m normally having a conversation and with a conversation you aren’t trying to tell a story its a conversation. Presenting however is about telling a story.

When you did story writing in school you were told to ensure you have a start, a middle and an end. The same applies to presenting you need to make sure your presentation has structure. One of the most common negative feedback points I read from SQLBits is where the audience was left with a cliff hanger because the session wasn’t finished due to a bad structure or running out of time. Thats fine for a soap opera but for a presentation that leaves your audience with a bad feeling. Even the most off the wall presentations that you see work because the have a structure.

Its not only the structure of a presentation that makes it similar to stories its also the delivery.



Your presentation is a story.

How do you audience know the important bits? Is it because you have a bullet point on your slide thats in red or flashing? Thats not very good because your audience are listening to you and so need to know which bits of what you are saying are important.

This story telling is where children come in.

If you sit with a group of children and tell a story in a monotone voice they will be bored senseless and won’t pay attention.

You need to engage your children. How do you do that?

1. You can use voices

2. You can use actions

3. You can vary your voice.

Varying and mixing these means that people aren’t stuck using one sense the variety keeps people captured and ensures they don’t get distracted.

Varying your voice is something that is easy to do and has huge impact. You can vary pitch, speed and volume. I find varying volume has huge impact, just like a tense thriller, everything goes quieter and carries on quiet for a while gets you sucked in and then BANG you can hit them with some huge impact. Do this with your kids and your kids will be enthralled, do it in a presentation and your audience will be blown away.

However to be able to apply any of these techniques you need to know what you are doing, what your goal is. If you have lots of slides then you need to know those slides so that you know whats coming so you can apply your techniques. Once you’ve read your children the same story 10 times you will know it and you will be able to add loads of extra features to the story. It then is not about the story but its about the delivery.

So practice, but IMHO don’t get hung up on detail. If you have too much detail on your slides then you’ll do a bad presentation. Its not about the slides its about the whole content and especially what you have to say.

Everyone is different, but as a speaker you can pretty much learn something from everybody. Don Box did this channel 9 video on presenting style which is a very very good insight into the how to make a presentation work, he talks about voice modulation at 14 minutes in. Even if you’ve never seen Don Box talk if you are interested in presenting then watch this video.

Posted by simonsabin | 2 comment(s)
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