We give presentations for all kinds of different reasons. The type of presentation and presenters that I work with the most are technical in nature. I work with technical presenters from all kinds of different fields. Doing this I see some common problems that presenters have when they present a technical topic. Here are 3 of the most common mistakes I see.
Many times in a technical situation, the presenter is an expert on the subject that is being discussed. The presenter is so knowledgeable that he/she wants to share everything they know. There is no detail that does not need to be explained. While the presenter thinks they important, the audience may not really care about the details. Many times, just the high-level facts will be enough.
I don’t know how many technical presentations I’ve seen where the PowerPoint slides being used are nothing more than glorified speaker notes. I wrote about my experience with this in the post titled “Information vs. Presentation Decks”.
We use acronyms constantly in our speech. Texting today can be done almost exclusively in TLAs (Three Letter Acronyms) or FLAs (Four Letter Acronyms). Depending on the audience sometimes the use of acronyms is appropriate but many times there are those in the audience who are unsure of what they mean. I remember attending an internal conference the first week I joined one high tech company. In the first 15 minutes of the first speaker on the first day, I had written down 17 acronyms that I did not know! Fortunately, an employee sitting next to me saw the problem and helped translate for me.
If you are asked to make a technical presentation, and you avoid these 3 common mistakes your presentation will shine in the darkness that sometimes is a VERY technical presentation.