Getting Ready for Presentations: Part II

Quite some time ago now I made one of my first blog posts. This blog post explored my initial thoughts about presentation preparation best practices when first joining the data school. I hope to now improve on those initial thoughts in this blog post. Where I will introduce new ways in which to prepare for presentations.

Practice

The first is to practice the presentation. A pretty simple concept I know! But aside from the obvious, here are a couple things that practicing can help improve in terms of presentation performance:

  • Can bring point out errors in your presentation, allowing you to fix them
  • Gets you used to the flow of your presentation. That way when a question may arise, you’ll know where to hop back on track
  • More practice means you can actually get better with presenting (albeit, multiple exposures to the real deal is much better)
  • You can get feedback if you practice in front of the right people (given you can get access to those people)

Practice is important, perhaps more important that anything else I have mentioned. Which Is why I have put it at the top of this list!

Get Feedback

Just recently I mentioned the importance of getting feedback. I want to dive into that a little more. Getting feedback from people, especially those who know more than you, will open your mind to more possibilities. I have often been in the situation where I have been stuck on a particular problem, and by seeking advice, have been able to move through that problem in ways I would not have known by myself.

Even if you find yourself in a situation where you aren’t getting stuck. Getting feedback on a complete product from superiors (or even those amongst your team) is a good idea. They can provide thoughts and analysis’s that you did not think of originally, or even point out faults in your product.

Prepare to Tell a Story

I find the most effective presentations are ones that tell a story. What is the problem, what is the solution, and how are you going to get to the solution. It gives your presentation a clear direction and when you have a clear direction, your viewers are more likely to pay attention, which is key!

Give an introduction when giving a presentation:

  • What is the context of your presentation?
  • What is the problem?
  • What is the potential solution you are going to employ to fix this solution?
  • How are you going to achieve the solution (this will take up the majority of the presentation)?

Once you have given the introduction, your audience will have a much greater understanding of what you are doing and why you are doing it during the presentation. Also, you’ll be able to tie it all back together again in the conclusion when you have reached the solution you mentioned in the introduction.

Prepare for potential questions

This one is a little bit more difficult than the others, as you aren’t a mind reader. However, for example, if you have a particular section of your presentation where you anticipate questions will arise, such as areas which are calculation heavy or complex, you can predict the types of questions people will ask.

For example, with the below tableau calculation. Sure you may understand it, and some of your audience will once you explain it, however some won’t. And you need to be able o answer the appropriate questions when they arise. Thus, thinking about potential questions your audience may ask will help you in the presentation.

Getting ready for presentations: Part II

Go Back To Front

Sometimes it may be helpful to beginning planning your project at the conclusion. What insights or goals do you want to achieve? Determining these can help drive what you’ll need to do right from the beginning and help alleviate some uncertainty. Some benefits of beginning at the end include:

  • Providing structure for how you will beginning your analysis
  • Can help provide direction when you are unsure on how to deal with data
  • Can reduce the time spent when you’ve produced the product when trying to derive insights

Summary

These are my new thoughts about the best practices for preparing for presentations. It has only been 10 weeks since I wrote part I, so I am sure I will have even more improvements some time in the future!