Hints on Preparing a Presentation for a Syrlug Meeting

by James R. Williams Zavada, 27 May 2003

  1. Choose a Topic
  2. Set a Presentation Goal:

    What do you want your audience to know, think or feel by the time you've finished the presentation?

  3. Decide on a Presentation Structure (more than one at a time can be used):

    problem/question and solution/answer -

    present a problem and how to resolve it, or a question and its answer

    logical progression -

    present a series of relationships, A relates to B, which relates to C, which relates to D, etc.

    chronological progression -

    present a series of sequential events

    complexity progression -

    show simple ideas, which form the building blocks for more complex ones, which form the basis for yet even more complex ideas, and so on

    cause and effect -

    show how A causes B, C causes D, etc.

    comparison/contrast -

    present a comparison/contrast of different solutions, events, alternatives or ideas

    deductive reasoning -

    show how general principles apply to specific examples

    inductive reasoning -

    show how specific examples prove some general principles

  4. Create an outline, write it down, and use it to give the presentation.
    Basic Outline: Introduction, Body, Conclusion.

    Introduction: Tell them what you are going to talk about.
    Body: Talk about it.
    Conclusion: Tell them what you talked about.

  5. Decide what visual aids you want to use, and prepare them:

    Will you write on a whiteboard? Will you use a computer and an overhead projector?

    If you are going to do a demonstration, make sure you prepare and test your demonstration at least twice (and it's a good idea to have a backup plan, in case your visual aids fail). Then, make sure you arrive at least 10 minutes before the meeting to set up your demonstration hardware and make sure it works as planned.

  6. If you allow questions during the presentation, keep them on topic and make the answers concise. Otherwise, make them wait until the end, or provide source references.
  7. Give yourself plenty of time to prepare. Don't wait until the day before.
  8. Provide follow-up information: Web links, Book lists, etc.

Some helpful links: