The Facts Don’t Speak for Themselves How to Give a Persuasive Technical Presentation
Technical experts — engineers, scientists, researchers, programmers, analysts, and the like — provide much of the intellectual capital that drives thriving organizations these days.
And yet all too frequently they are unable to communicate what they know in a way that other people can understand and use.
Technical experts often act as if their presentations have to contain as much information and detail as possible, delivered in the flattest, just-the-facts-ma’am sort of way, using PowerPoint slides that make people’s eyes glaze over. Then they are often frustrated by the lack of response they get from their audiences. (Their audiences are even more frustrated.)
It doesn’t have to be that way. With a new understanding of the nature of a technical presentation and a new set of practical strategies, technical experts can speak in a way that wins other people’s interest, understanding, and cooperation.
This speech is designed for technical experts who want to present themselves and their ideas in a way that wins an audience’s understanding and cooperation.
A successful technical presentation is…
If you confuse an audience, they will never accept your ideas, adopt your proposal, or support you initiative. The first requirement of any presentation is to make sure that you audience understand what you’re talking about.
Audiences have to understand right from the start how your material affects them. If they don’t know how it will help them solve a problem, achieve a goal, or satisfy a need that’s important to them, they’ll stop listening.
Audiences are already overwhelmed with too much information. What they need is a way of putting it to use. They are always asking what am I going to do with this?
Successful technical presenters know how to…
- Use PowerPoint to their advantage
PowerPoint is a tool, an aid, and nothing more. It is not the presentation, not the script, not the most important element of a presentation.
- Create a strategy for every presentation.
Answer this question: what do you want the audience to do with your material? Then ask what they need to know and feel in order to do it. Finally (and most importantly), ask why would they want to do what you want them to do.
- Invest themselves in their presentations.
Technical experts have been taught to write in an impersonal way, using the passive voice and avoiding any personal investment. Which is exactly the way not to speak. A presentation is about some disembodied information that anyone could give. A presentation begins with a person — you — talking about something that matters to you.
“Thanks to Chris, I’m able to deliver professional briefings — to three- and four-star generals, Members of Congress, and leaders of foreign armed forces — in a manner that not only gets my message across but also keeps the listener’s attention.”
Fr. Lewis Mission Support Training Facility
- Facts don’t speak for themselves.
Facts don’t do anything by themselves. You have to gather or generate the facts, assess them, interpret them, and present them in a clear and meaningful way. You speak for the facts.
- Knowledge isn’t power.
What you know doesn’t do anyone any good until you share it. Knowledge isn’t power — the ability to communicate it in a way that other people can understand and use is power.
- The best ideas don’t always win out.
Just because your idea (proposal, product, process, approach, service, etc.) is the best one being considered doesn’t mean it will win approval. (Bad ideas often beat out good one.) The best ideas only win out if they are presented persuasively.
- Keynote Speech (45 Minutes to 1 Hour) covers these topics, giving illustrations and how-tos.
- Workshop (Half to Full Day) goes into each topic in more depth and coaches participants through exercises designed to increase their “influence factor.”
For more information about how this presentation might benefit your organization, please call us (toll free) at 866-268-3084 or email us.