The 10 commandments of presenting

15 Nov
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Moses used the earliest version of PowerPoint to present his (or in actual fact His) commandments. Despite not having the endless online resources (no WiFi on the mountaintop) to help him with his presentation and his skills, he managed to make his message clear and concise. If only all presentations were like this. He did however use bullet points….naughty Moses! The good people behind SMACC have just launched their plans for a Pecha Kucha SMACC-talk competition.

Reading about PK talks for the 1st time got me thinking about the Presentation Commandments that should be followed whether your presentation is of the PK variety or not.

Check out these for some more info before we get started.

A video on Pecha Kucha concept




Most of what follows are pretty intuitive but  please let me know what the 10thcommandment should be – in fact I’m sure there are many tips that I have left out so in the spirit of FOAM leave a comment below.

  1. The audience have come to see you not your slides
  2. Tell a story – we all like stories
  3. Don’t insult your audience by reading out slides that they can read themselves. Don’t stick a load of information on your slide and wing it by reading it out
  4. Face your audience
  5. If there is a podium, get out from behind it (just be sure your flies aren’t undone)
  6. Some people hate PowerPoint and that is understandable given its omnipresence at conferences/lectures/teaching sessions, and given the poor quality of so many PowerPoint presentations. I don’t advise to ditch PowerPoint completely but think carefully about what you do and do not put on your slides
  7.  But don’t ALWAYS use PowerPoint. If you have a Mac, try Keynote.
    • or Prezi
    • or Powtoon
    • or go old school and use a flipboard and black marker
    • or try to give a talk sometime without any of these props
    • Using these different modalities will challenge you as a speaker and make you think about how you convey your message
  8. Even the most experienced speaker needs to practice and rehearse beforehand. In fact the most experienced speakers will always practice and rehearse beforehand
  9. Respect your audience
    • be aware of who they are and what their background(s) is(are)
    • if you don’t know for sure take a few minutes at the start to find out
    • explain why the subject matter or what you are about to tell them is important (for them)
    • think about what message you want them to go away with and make sure you give it to them clearly

2 Replies to “The 10 commandments of presenting

  1. Great Tips on presentation. I’ve been doing a lot of presenting and teaching this year during my BSc in medical education on a variety of topics from sepsis, ABGs to neuro exams. I’ve been using these commandments. I think adding the idea of VAK to presenting/teaching is good. Visual, Audio and Kinaesthetic helps people stay engaged and involved. Give the audience something to look at, make sure they continue to listen to you and give them something physically to think about really works a treat for me. Great commandments!

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