Dirk Haun


Presenting to Geeks: Use Introversion to Your Advantage

Key Takeaways

On geeks and facts:

I think geeks make mistakes that they put so many facts into their presentations. They love the facts which is understandable but they're overwhelming the audience and they have to learn to let go.

On connection:

Many geeks are socially awkward and because they don't get around people a lot. Once you really make that connection to them, you can find that they're fairly enthusiastic mostly about their topic but also on other things. It's just finding that initial connection. That's hard sometimes.

On practice and preparation:

I practice what I preach and then getting away from the computer, I start doing the presentation, doing the brainstorming offline on a piece of paper and lots of post-its usually because post-its are really great and you can just scribble down your thoughts, then you can collect the ideas and plaster them, and then you get a better of where the talk is heading, and then you even get early versions of your slides. Start presenting little parts of the presentation just from a few post-it notes. Then, they can see whether that flow is okay or if something's missing. Then from then on, it's really practicing. I actually start practicing post-it to talks just with post-its before I actually create the slides. Then, start practicing so that I can get the transition slides and practice, practice, practice.

On dealing with nerves:

I'm not that nervous but I do get nervous so what you do is or what works for me, at least, is to move, take a walk, maybe just walk down the hallway if nothing else is possible.

What does it mean to speak like a pro?

Actually do your homework. Don't just go up on the stage and talk about something, to pair it and think about your audience, don't put too many facts into it, prepare, rehearse make a good show effectively. That's speaking like a pro.

Top Tips:

I think really I'm convinced that any problem you may encounter just in preparation for your presentation is that you can solve by thinking about your audience. What's in it for them? Why would they need to know about this? This is really my main point.

Let go of the facts. The facts are important, yes, but not so important that you should put all of them into the presentation. People will forget most of what you say anyway so concentrate on the most important facts and let them look up the other things afterwards.

There's also something I usually say at the end of a workshop when they realize that I've talked for two hours and told people a lot of stuff that's new to them, they feel overwhelmed. I try to ease them a little and say, “Don't put all of that to your next presentation. Pick one of two things that you like, that you think should work for you. Try them out. If they work, keep them in. If they don't work, change them or throw them out.

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