Showing posts with label Public Speaking. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Public Speaking. Show all posts

Sunday, January 5, 2014

4 Presentation Tips for Hackathoners

Today marks the completion day for the Hackathon. Presenters will have 90 seconds to win the prize. Or not. TheHackerCIO likes to see crisp, excellent presentations. So, despite the fact that he's a judge, he sees no conflict of interest in helping as many people as he can to do their best on their presentations.

I've told everyone the following:

1. First and foremost. Don't "Uh".  It's OK to think without making noise.  Every "Uh" you add cloys the auditory palate of your audience and detracts from your presentation. Practice your 90 seconds of fame with a colleague or friend. Have him bitch-slap you every time you say "Uh," or "Um." Or whatever other verbal detritus you have picked up. Eliminate it. Do it now.

2. Speak up. You have a microphone.  Find the sweet spot between these two extremes:

  • nasty screeeeeeeeeeeeching feedback
  • mumble, mumble, blah, and mumble
You want to fill the room with your voice, so that no one must struggle to hear your presentation. They might do it for a moment, but they will soon tune out. And that's not good.

3. If your presenter has a thick accent, consider employing a better communicator. Why let the non-important issue of accent screw with your winning a prize? At the last Hackathon where I was a GrandMaster (I wasn't just a Sensei .... I'm beyond that level!), one of the teams brought an actress to present the concept. The idea-generator (who had a thick accent) coached the actress to make the best possible presentation. I thought this a very smart move.

4. Pick the most interesting attention step you can. Grab your audience by the mental throat; arrest their attention and then transition immediately to the main point of what problem you solve or value you offer. You don't want your audience to keep looking at that cute waitress bringing out drinks ....

This will get you started toward making the best possible presentation you can.

Now let's break this down and see how it applies to winning a Hackathon. I've seen two first place prizes go to an actress who never coded a line of code (until this last year), but who nevertheless brought home the bacon repeatedly. Two years in a row. First place both times. Why?

Because the Hackathon is judged on 4 categories:

  1. 25% weight - Ability to clearly articulate what your app does
  2. 25% weight - Originality of idea
  3. 25% weight - Difficulty of technical implementation
  4. 25% weight - Use of AT&T APIs

Actress scored 100% of 25% on point 1. Perfect articulation of what the app does. She was absolutely the best at the Hackathon. This was true at her pitch, so she attracted the best developer. That was an advantage for point #3, which we'll see later.

Actress scored some percentage of point 2. Not super innovative. But interesting. 

Actress scored 100% of 3. Not so much difficulty, but the amount of functionality produced was clearly the best at the Hackathon. And that was because Actress got the best developer and the best designers and other helpers to work on her project.  And that was all because of her good presentation of a clearly articulated idea.

Actess scored a good showing, at least a 90% of point 4. Again, because she attracted the best developers, they in turn did an excellent job of using the APIs.

I think this example underscores the importance of good presentation skills. 

I hope this blog posting helps you to produce the best presentation you can, and win the Hackathon for your awesome innovation.

P.S. See also: here

I Remain, Helpfully,