Posted by tac_admin, October 30, 2013

Presentations: Best Practices and Ways to Improve Yours

Everybody’s favorite! Presentations!

We all have to do them at some point, and we all know we can improve ours. Try these tips before your next stand-up in front of an audience.

Do you need to do a full-out presentation?
Sometimes an email or a phone call is enough, but other times, you need to communicate the same information to many people. In that case, a presentation is your most effective means of communication. You tell everyone what he or she needs to know in an effective, efficient manner, and everyone knows what’s going on.

So how do you decide? The BABOK® Guide gives a few examples:

  • To ensure that internal project quality standards have been adhered to
  • To ensure cross-functional fit with other business process areas within the same project
  • To obtain business acceptance and sign-off
  • To obtain delivery team sign-off
  • To obtain testing team sign-off
  • As a precursor to delivery
  • To prioritize a set of requirements before proceeding to next project stage
  • To make decisions regarding solution scope

Decide how you want to present.
Which type of presentation do you need to do? Your objective in doing the presentation will determine the format and formality. Can you do a simple overview that lasts 5 minutes, or do you need a more in-depth presentation?

Again, BABOK® comes to the rescue! And we quote…

“Formal presentations typically disseminate information in a well-organized, structured format. Audience participation and questions may be encouraged.

Informal presentations may be used as an informal status check of requirements. They can also be used to communicate requirements to the delivery team or testing team to ensure there is no ambiguity. Informal presentations also communicate requirements to other project teams as a facilitation exercise to enhance requirement clarity.”

But do not, I repeat… DO NOT be boring.

Know what you want to accomplish.
Once you’ve decided what and how you’re going to present to an audience, it’s time to figure out the why. What do you hope to achieve with this presentation? Write it down. Don’t go into the meeting without a clear idea of what you want to say and how you want to say it.

Practice, practice, practice.
Use your kids or spouse as your guinea pigs. Present to the dog, or talk to the wall. The important thing is to be comfortable, know your stuff, and keep your sense of humor. Those are the three keys to a presentation everyone will remember and you’ll never forget.

What’s your favorite presentation tip?


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