10 Essential Ideas for Engineers Delivering Technical Presentations

  1. Technical Presentations are persuasive events.  Their purpose is to persuade others to read a piece of technical writing.
  2. Technical writers shouldn’t worry about boring their readers. Minimize reading by keeping the work as short as possible, as clear as possible, and as detailed as appropriate.  Presenting technical ideas doesn’t follow these rules directly, but this doesn’t mean your Technical Presentation should be a “show-stopper.”
  3. The standard of technical presentations is so low that you can raise yourself above the majority even with a bit of effort.
  4. Slides are essential but not as important as you.  Use them to support yourself.  Never speak to your slides; well, not all of them.
  5. Accents are acceptable so long as people can understand you.  Have friends point out words you mispronounce and fix them.
  6. Don’t mimic anyone else’s style.  There’s only one correct style: yours.
  7. Never try to be funny unless it’s natural.
  8. Tell them what’s to come.  Tell it.  Then tell them what they heard.
  9. You have three friends to make your presentation work: your authority, the logical way you order the ideas, the way you feel about making the presentation.  If you don’t feel enthusiastic, don’t present.
  10. A technical presentation should generate an action by the listener – to read, ask a question, to change something.