Click here to Skip to main content
Click here to Skip to main content

A Developer's Guide to Presentations

By , 30 Aug 2012
Rate this:
Please Sign up or sign in to vote.

In general, developers do not like to give presentations. In fact, they dread it. This is unfortunate because presentations can be a powerful asset. Most individuals cannot survive a long career without presenting on occasion. Others may have the courage but lack the proper guidance to present effectively. Whatever the circumstance, developing good presentation skills is easier than learning a new technology. The process rarely changes. Learn it once and reap the benefits. The following sections provide a few guidelines for delivering better presentations. To avoid overload, implement only a few at a time.

Building the Presentation
  • Start with a strong storyline. Proper flow during a presentation is important.
  • Do not place too much information on a slide. It can overload users and the text may be too small for projectors.
  • Avoid excessive animations; they distract from the presentation.
  • Based on the audience, avoid words that may be too technical.
  • When finished, review the slides. Talk through them to verify the flow.
  • To reduce inattentional blindness, ask someone else to review the slides.
  • If a demo is required, build an outline with specific actions such as: search for 'Joe'. This eliminates unexpected results.

Before the Presentation
  • Arrive at least 15 minutes early to set up the presentation. This allows time for problems and dry runs.
  • If a demo is required, load the necessary applications ahead of time. This reduces wait times during the presentation.
  • When connecting to a projector, choose to extend the display instead of projecting the desktop. This provides a work area not visible to the audience.
  • Choose clothing that complements the presentation. Avoid distracting accessories.

Starting the Presentation
  • Start the meeting on time. Do not wait for attendees or reward tardiness. If the presentation is delayed, explain the reasoning to the audience.
  • If necessary, start with a simple introduction.
  • Define what the presentation will and will not cover. Keep the intro short and to the point.
  • If questions are permitted, advise the audience of the proper time and format.
  • Depending on the presentation, request that cell phones be silenced and disallow the usage of laptops/tablets.

During the Presentation
  • Do not read slides, tell a story. Stories supplement analytical thinking and further engage audiences.
  • Think before speaking and remain calm.
  • Provide an extended pause after important statements. This provides an opportunity for understanding and saturation.
  • Maintain continuous eye contact. Focus on everyone or individuals but do not focus on the slides.
  • Try to avoid "ums" and "uhs." A simple pause is better.
  • Avoid distracting movements; physiology is important.
  • Take responsibility by apologizing for any problems during the presentation.

Questions During the Presentation
  • Do not let a conversation veer too far from the main topic.
  • Identify when a question or conversation requires additional time and respectfully set it aside.
  • Do not allow multiple conversations at once.
  • Provide clear and concise answers.
  • If an answer is not available, be honest and direct. Define how and when the question will be answered.

Finishing the Presentation
  • Summarize the key points of the presentation. Leave the audience with the proper thoughts and impressions.
  • Once summarization has started, do not add new points to the conversation.
  • If questions are held until the end, stop early to provide adequate time.
  • If necessary, build a list of take-aways and define ownership.
  • Finish the presentation a few minutes early and thank the audience for their time.


This article, along with any associated source code and files, is licensed under The Code Project Open License (CPOL)

About the Author

Zac Gery

United States United States
Software Developer, Mentor, Architect and UX/UI craftsman. Also, a psychology nut that loves curling.
Follow on   Twitter   Google+

Comments and Discussions

-- There are no messages in this forum --
| Advertise | Privacy | Mobile
Web04 | 2.8.140421.2 | Last Updated 30 Aug 2012
Article Copyright 2012 by Zac Gery
Everything else Copyright © CodeProject, 1999-2014
Terms of Use
Layout: fixed | fluid