Presentation Guidelines

The most positively received presentations at the ITSM have been those with clear goals for the presentation and a narrow focus on the topic. It is in that spirit that we offer these presentation guidelines.

Know why you're there

If your boss asked you to present, ask her/him what you should talk about, and what kind of feedback you should try to get.  If, at any time, you feel more information is required representatives of the Tech Forum Committee are happy to help.

Communicate your needs

The Tech Forum Committee member who invited you will do what they can to help make sure your presentation goes as smoothly as possible. If you have specific technical requirements for your presentation convey these needs to the committee member and they will work with you in advance to make sure they can be accommodated.

Give the audience the information they need to make a decision

Assume that the audience has never heard of your project/product/initiative/topic before, but that they're a bunch of smart, dedicated technologists who can help you with resources, insight, feedback, constructive criticism, and offers of support.  What you do with that is up to you.

Know your audience

The UCSF IT Services meeting is attended (and watched by streaming video) by IT service providers from across the university, including representatives from central IT groups, departmental IT groups, research computing support, and power users.  Clearly identify your audience when developing your presentation, and let that audience know who they are at the beginning of the presentation.

Engage the audience

Design your presentation to elicit questions from the audience. The IT Services meetings are an invaluable opportunity to solicit feedback and gain acceptance for projects and programs in the UCSF IT community, so use your time wisely.  Presenting the right information and asking the right questions will help elicit questions and comments.

Participate in the discussion

Pay attention to the listserv ([email protected]): a lot of the context of the IT Services meetings can be found in that discussion and the archives. Join the IT-FORUM list and take part in the IT conversation at UCSF.

Keep it short and focused

Keep slides lean, use large readable fonts, leave plenty of white space, plan on inviting audience participation and question.  Decide on the 1-3 things you want the audience to take away from your presentation, and concentrate on making those points. Always remember the audience can read, spend your time filling in content around the bullets on your slides, providing valuable history and context or taking questions about the content.

Practice your presentation

Presenters that have a comfort with their slides and confirmed the accuracy of their content get the most attention focused on their topic. If possible, practice your presentation. If you don't have time, send the slides to someone to review. If all else fails, show up to the meeting early enough to get feedback or advice from a member of the Tech Forum Committee.

Demonstrate competence

When giving a demonstration it is a very good idea to have one person do the demo and another person describe it.  Demonstrations given by two people allow the presenter to maintain audience engagement while the second individual manipulates the application.

Prepare for beyond your comfort zone

If you are presenting an enterprise-wide solution, be prepared to address alternate platform experiences.  Be prepared to be supportive of alternative solutions that audience members may have found and bring the conversation back to the merits of your own solution while avoiding judgment of theirs.

No sales pitches, please

If your topic is sufficiently compelling then it will sell itself.  Keep it technical.