What NOT To Do In Your Presentations

Recently, I presented at the Global Azure Bootcamp, in the Toronto area, hosted at the (current) Microsoft Canada headquarters.

While I don’t think/claim that my presentation was perfect, while attending a few of my other fellow presenter’s sessions, I noticed a few things that could have been improved to enhance the overall experience.

I decided to compile these into a quick list, with a few examples, so that if you are planning a presentation, you can consider these points as well.

 

Dark Mode

I get it, dark mode is “cool”, and is actually easier on your eyes when you stare at a screen for many hours of the day.

But in a presentation, or while doing demos, don’t use dark mode. It makes it far more difficult (or nearly impossible) to see the screen content, especially for those sitting the back of the room. You’re doing a disservice to your attendees if they can’t actually see what you’re presenting.

Code Editor in Dark Mode

 

Zoom In

When you’re working on your laptop, or on a high-resolution screen, it’s easy to see.

But when you’re presenting, those in the back of the room cannot see your screen as clearly. Simply put: ZOOM IN! Yes, it makes it a little more difficult for you to navigate around, but it’s worth it of your attendees are actually able to see, and get value from what you’re trying to show them.

Font Size

 

Laser Pointers

Lasers are cool to play with, but they don’t add to your presentation, they actually detract.

I recall a presentation given by Scott Hanselman once, where he emphasized not to use laser pointers, and then demonstrated why. Basically, if you’re using a laser pointer, everyone will be focused on that little red dot on the screen (and the fact that it’s shaky and bouncing all over the place), versus focusing on what you’re saying or the content itself.

And never, ever, point the laser at your audience!

Laser Pointer

 

Secondary Screens

When you’re giving a presentation, it is common to have the main screen (that the audience sees) to show the presentation itself, while your laptop screen may be set to show the presenters notes. This is fine so that you ensure you cover the points you want.

But, when you jump out of your presentation, and into a demo, do not use keep that some configuration. Instead, change your screen sharing settings to duplicate versus extend.

I’ve seen presenters use the secondary screen (the one the audience sees) to demo something in Azure. But they have to crane their necks to see where they are clicking, etc. Or worse, turn their backs to the audience!

This slows things down since you’re much more effective in demoing something by seeing it right in front of you.

Multiple Monitors

 

Repeat the Question

Just because you heard the question, doesn’t mean everyone did.

You have to remember, if someone at the front is asking a question, they are facing your direction. They are not facing a direction that would allow those in the back to hear them as well.

Do your audience a favour, and repeat the question before you answer it so that everyone can gain the benefit of the answer.

Old Fashion Hearing Aids

 

Conclusion

These are just some of the things I noticed recently from the presentations at the Global Azure Bootcamp I attended. No doubt, there are many more suggestions that could be shared.

But, I wanted to leave this post on a positive note. If you’re a presenter or preparing for a presentation, I cannot recommend enough Dux Raymond Sy’s presentation on How to be a rockstar public speaker in five steps. This is a must watch (over and over again) whenever you are preparing a presentation.

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