Graduation performance with a bang!
The time is approaching HECs, where a mass of graduates will present their work. Often the defense is to present a presentation. Even more often, one cannot look at these presentations without tears. The fact is that no one teaches how to present - present their work. Since I was tired of stubbornly correcting the presentation of my graduates each time, I decided to reflect my view of how the presentation should look and what common mistakes exist in this difficult but fascinating field.
When a student sits down to make a presentation, he first of all looks at the material that he has: simulation results, program architecture, statistics, UI, etc. And everything that he has at hand, one way or another, falls into the presentation. That is, having valuable results, a person seeks to answer the question - “What information should I include in the presentation?”, Which is fundamentally wrong. More precisely, the question is certainly correct, but asked at the wrong time.
We know that a correctly posed question is half the answer. In our case, at the beginning of the work, the right questions are:
- Who is the presentation for?
- What is the purpose of the presentation?
Answering the first question, we will certainly be disappointed. The fact is that the presentation is made for the certification committee and our task is not to make a fascinating show (which in itself is already sad) - our task is to make a rigorous report on the work done. Moreover, we must disclose a number of precisely defined provisions of our work and meet the strictly allotted time, usually no more than ten minutes. As for the mandatory issues that need to be disclosed in your presentation, their list varies, but always includes the following:
- Work theme;
- the purpose of the work and the tasks necessary to achieve the goal;
- domain description;
- basic concepts and terms;
- key points of work;
- results and conclusions.
The format of the speech must adhere to traditions accepted in the environment, deviations are possible, but without fanaticism. It is likely that joking with the commission or asking it rhetorical questions will not be the most successful thought.
Before proceeding to the formation of the presentation, the second question should be answered. What do you want to achieve with your performance? Endorsements? Recognition of the results? At a technical university, the main task is to demonstrate the adaptability of your solution! A beautiful and thoughtful solution, even if it is redundant, will have a much greater effect on the commission than a high-quality UI design (although it will be tight without it) or market-like tricks that sellers love so much. You do not sell the product, you demonstrate what you have learned in five years!
So you have decided for whom and for what purpose you are making a presentation. You already focus on the appropriate audience and, perhaps, even saw the speeches of last year's graduates. And then you ask yourself a trump question - “How many slides to do?” This is a question that any speaker asks himself. Often you can find a wonderful answer in the form of 10/20/30 - this is a fairly well-known principle. Its essence is very simple: for 10 slides you will spend 20 minutes of the speech and the text should be typed in 30m font.
I must say that this principle is not very applicable to the presentation of the thesis. Judge for yourselves: if your presentation should be within 10 minutes, then there should be only 5 slads, which is much less than even those issues that must be addressed.
My point of view on this issue is as follows: the number of slides should not exceed twenty, while some slides you should just show that they are, but not stop on them. For example, the introduction of certain concepts in the form of individual slads is mandatory, but spending time explaining them is completely unnecessary luxury.
You should pay attention to which slides will be key in your presentation. I attribute these to: goal, problem, description of business processes, solution architecture, results. Each of these slides needs to be given a lot of time in your presentation and these should be very high-quality slides. One of the slides must be dedicated to the chip of your work, i.e. something that makes it significant and, in a sense, unique.
If possible, devote a small amount of time to alternative solutions. Be sure to make a slide with the merits of your work in relation to competing products.
I have always believed and will be of the opinion that one picture can replace a hundred other words. In your presentation, the number of image slides should be at least half of the total number of slides. But do not insert pictures thoughtlessly, each of your pictures should drive carnations into the commission. In general, try to write as little text as possible. Properly selected graphic material is at least half of your success. All your images should be vector or, at worst, bitmap, but in high resolution. Use well-known notations: ER, IDEF, UML, BPMN, but remember: the commission should not have the feeling that this demonstrates: "I stole the product for many kilobases and I do not hide it."
Many formulas are bad! As one famous writer said, each formula reduces the number of readers of your book by at least two. If you really have to embed mathematical formulas, then use LaTeX to get the work done, rather than embed screenshots in your presentation.
If we talk about the whole presentation, then it should be said about how to properly arrange it.
When I look at a presentation where the slides are decorated in a different style - it makes me nervous. Strict and the same design style for all slides, even with a relatively poor design of the template itself, creates a feeling of harmony.
Avoid colorful and loppy design, use two, maximum three colors in the design. Regarding the color scheme, you may come across the following statement: a light font on a dark background reads better! Indeed, this is true, but it should be noted that the effect is achieved in a specially prepared room (with dimming and competent lighting) on good presentation equipment. Almost in no room in Russia where I managed to visit, these conditions were not observed.
My recommendation for colors: dark text on a light background. In addition, in this case, it will be much easier to prepare a razdatka. Remember that for each member of the commission it is necessary to prepare a set of handouts, at least elementary print presentation slides.
By itself, printing slides as a handout seems like a good idea, but it has several drawbacks: slides will not be provided with your explanations. It is advisable to prepare such materials so that they do not go to the ballot box immediately after your protection.
Try to avoid many ridiculous effects. I have absolutely no idea who came up with the idea of adding such a number of idiotic jumpers to the presentation builders, which probably allows them to sell the product to housewives. If you decide to use effects, then let them be fast, hateful and minimally noticeable.
Use one or two fonts, but no more. Personally, I prefer to use chopped headsets, although many people think that serif fonts are best for text. I have to agree that for large text serif headsets are ideal. But God forbid you, make a slide on which you place a lot of unreadable text.
The previously mentioned 30th font size is a minimum. In my presentations, I prefer to use 36 as the minimum, and the 46th as a working skittle. A large readable font is a guarantee that your text will be seen, and we understand that respected people with great experience are sitting on the commission.
Using reflection of volume or shadows significantly impairs the readability of the text, although these techniques can be used and sometimes it is beautiful.
Aligning the text in width or using hyphens looks idiotic on the slides, as in one joke: “well, not really!” And no layout in two columns!
Each of your slides should carry some information load, avoid empty slides. Empty both in terms of meaning and in terms of filling. On the other hand, do not overload your slides with information. A wonderful rule: 7 plus or minus 2 and a large font size are excellent constraints. I recommend not submitting more than 3-5 abstracts and phrases on slides and avoiding tedious enumerations.
Try to simplify diagrams and diagrams wherever possible. Graphs and lines on the diagrams should be done in bold lines with a contrasting color. It is advisable to highlight different graphics with different types of lines (so they will be different when printing in black and white).
One of the attributes of a good presentation is the "indicator of the end", made in the form of: headings, time lines or trivial pagination. The lack of numbering complicates the process of asking questions.
In drawings, graphs, charts and text - that is, everywhere in the presentation, avoid English terms or use them with extreme caution. Exclude slang from your speech, although I understand the attractiveness of its use, but the commission will clearly not like it.
When you have a presentation on hand, you should not relax at all, because she will not report herself. When you have a great presentation, but the report is dull and confusing, this spoils the whole idea of work for us. That and a look will begin to creep in on the suspicion of the speaker’s uncleanliness, saying that he reduced the presentation of his colleagues - I just want to put an insecure speaker against the wall.
At the presentation, the people were going to listen to you, and not look at how you read the report from the leaflet. It is necessary to write a report on a piece of paper, first of all, in order to rehearse. Rehearse your report several times and make sure that you fit in time, I recommend making the report a little shorter - you will be nervous, force majeure is possible and reserve time will not hurt you.
For my graduates, I obligatorily arrange the so-called runs - performances in a small but friendly environment. Runs allow me to reduce the stress from speaking to the commission and working out the speech itself in real conditions. We can say that this is a means of additional control or an air defense system, which allows you to pre-remove the shortcomings of the speech, such as the words parasites: that means, etc.
Also, considerable attention should be paid to the sequence of presentation of the material: during the runs, your performance will be checked for strength, and this indicator too.
Try not to forget that the human brain quickly gets tired. As practice shows, you have no more than 3 minutes to interest the public. After time X, the commission begins to be distracted, inattentively listen, at this moment their brain will make a context switch. I witnessed many cases when after this moment quite successful performances failed - to keep the audience focused on themselves is a whole art. Since the graduate does not have such experience, I recommend that at this moment let go of the audience and insert the most uninteresting, but obligatory part in the narrative. Skip some of the specially inserted slides, which you can always return to by answering questions and save time on this.
Immediately after tediousness, your presentation should go up from both an emotional and information point of view, and end on the rise. The commission will be involved in your speech, which will leave a good impression about you if you do not fail to answer questions. When answering commission questions, remember there are three types of questions:
- The first type of questions is caused by a genuine interest in your work, such “like” questions give you extra time to talk about your work. Questions of the first category are similar to a ball game, which should never be missed.
- The second type of questions is questions for self-affirmation, where the author of the question, “as if” makes it clear that he knows more than you, do not disappoint him. There is no need to be afraid of such questions; answer simply, if possible in monosyllables: yes, no.
- Here is the third type of questions of considerable interest - these are questions with which they want to fill up or pin you up (they practically never happen).
General recommendation when answering questions:
- Always listen to the whole question, even if you understand what they want to ask you about (basic respect).
- If the question seems complicated to you or you don’t know the answer, do not shy away: ask a clarifying question or ask to rephrase the question - this will give you extra time to think.
- Never attack a commission. Do not provoke scandals. Do not be categorical and try to back up slippery answers with references to the opinion of authoritative people in this subject area.
- Never, under any circumstances, say “I don’t know!” Even if you really don’t know.
I am always amazed at how young and beautiful girls come to exams: a bare back, a skirt above the knee, a neckline of such a size that panties can be seen. So: all this must be left for exactly one day. A strict suit, tie, white shirt and no sneakers for young people. White closed blouse, skirt below the knee, small-heeled boats for the perfect half. Guys need a haircut a week and a shave 12 hours before the show (in the evening). Three days not to drink, get enough sleep, it is advisable to turn off the Internet.
During the performance, you should not keep your hands in your pockets, you will play pocket billiards at home. Do not run around the stage, only minor movements are desirable. Take one hand with a slide switcher and the other with cards with important definitions, the format of the cards is no more than half of A4, so as not to attract attention.
Do not look at the floor - this creates an uncertain image. It is advisable to select one of two members of the commission located to you and move your eyes from one to the other, as if speaking only for them (exclude your manager from the list if he is on the commission). Such behavior creates an additional favorable attitude from these members of the commission to you.
First of all, remember that the presentation is you and your story, and slides are only additional demonstration material. The degree of verbal trust in you depends on how confident you will be. The commission should have a feeling - "A man said - a man did." Cut phrases and nail nails into the audience, but don't overdo it.