Presentation Zen

Most of you probably do presentations occasionally or at least did them at some point in your life. Some are good at it, some are bad at it, some aren’t great but want to improve, some are great but want to get better. If you belong to either of the last two groups, I’ll recommend one of my favourite weblogs to you today.

I was terrible at presentations. Terrible. Throughout secondary school I had blackouts when standing up in front of the crowd and nothing came out. I hated presenting. Hated it.

When I got to university this somewhat improved. At least I didn’t have blackouts anymore. I didn’t enjoy doing them at all still, but at least I didn’t freeze up. It was good I wasn’t wearing thin shirts though, because I was still sweating like crazy. I also did two presentations in English back in Holland, they went reasonably well because I prepared them well. I’m no expert in this area at all, but if you’re a non-native speaker of English and don’t feel comfortable doing presentation in that language: prepare. Everybody will always tell you this, but it really works. Perform the presentation alone in your room out loud, it’s not enough to think what you’ll say in your head. Actually say it. Out loud. Do it a couple of times and you’ll feel a lot more confident.

Only since I came here to Ireland I started to enjoy doing presentation a bit. It’s not like I’m really looking forward to it, but I actually doing enjoy them if there’s something interesting to tell. It was a great kick for me when during one class we had 20 minutes to read a section of a paper, knock up a few slides and present it in front of the group for 5 minutes. It was in the first or second week of my studies here and it went well. This was an incredible feeling. I could do it! I’m not terrible, and it was in English too that people could understand. It was very good for my self confidence.

A while ago I discovered a site called Presentation Zen. It’s a site that gives great tips on doing presentations and comments on presentations (mainly IT related) of well-known presenters, for example Bill Gates and Steve Jobs. It’s mostly about slide design, but also other aspects are covered. I really enjoy reading it.

And to be quite frank with you. It’s even great if you don’t want to improve your presentations at all, but just want to see why Steve Jobs kicks Bill Gates’ buttocks when it comes to presenting.

And be honest, who doesn’t?