Presenting in a dark and noisy place

Imagine this scenario: You are about to give a short presentation about your product or company. But you're not in a brightly-lit conference room. Instead, you're in a bar. It's loud, dark, and you can't use slides.

An unlikely scenario? Yet this is the environment that a couple of startups had to present in at a "founder's BBQ" that I attended recently.

So what can you do in such a situation?


Book Review: File > New > Presentation

File > New > Presentation: Presentation Skills for Software Developers and Other Technical Professionals by Simon Guest

As the subtitle suggests, the goal of File > New > Presentation by Simon Guest is to teach presentation skills to software developers and other technically-minded people. As someone who's spent most of his professional life in software development in one role or another and as someone who also goes to attend and speak at a lot of software conferences, I can confirm the need for help in this area. Our fellow developers are all hard-thinking, target-oriented individuals who have learned that it's important to be precise and go into a lot of detail when communicating with each other and with their computers; and so they apply these principles to their presentations as well. This form of communication, however, can get in the way when talking to customers and even more so when preparing a presentation.


Don't just make it different - make it very different

I'm not a designer. Yet, in order to create (i.e. design) more effective slides, you need to be familiar with at least a few of the basic principles of design.

One example that I use (in the book as well as in the workshop) is the Rule of Thirds.


The Progress Bar

I attended FOSDEM last weekend, Europe's biggest Open Source conference. Can you imagine a largely self-organising conference that manages to somehow come up with 500(!) talks for two days? That's FOSDEM.

With so many talks to choose from, I only managed to attend a total of 10 (not counting one spontaneously organised "Birds of a Feather" session). Interestingly, I noticed one common design element on the slides of 3 of these (pretty much randomly selected) talks: A progress bar.