The UX of a great presentation

The other night I stayed up until 1am creating a presentation for work. The next day, I practiced through my lunch hour, then delivered the presentation in the afternoon, then in the evening after a full day of programming, I wrote a draft for this article.

Sounds miserable, right?

It really wasn’t.

Despite having only 5 hours of sleep (I’m a baby and usually feel like rubbish if I get less than 8), I was energized by all of this.

Why?

I love presentations

I’m lucky enough to not have to do a ton of presentations- if I had to do one every week I probably wouldn’t feel the same way- so, I’m able to devote a lot of time to each presentation. And I make sure to do it right.

How?

#htdap: How to “do” a presentation

I learned about #hdap thanks to a beautiful bit of blog serendipity. My 2016 post on connecting Strava to Google sheets was one of my most viewed posts of the year. I was even contacted by a couple readers with some questions.

One of those readers was Ross Fisher. Ross is not only a surgeon and an avid cyclist, but he is also the creator of “p-cubed presentations”, a blog dedicated to the art of presentations.

After we got his Strava system sorted, I poked around his site and found one of his most-viewed posts: How to “do” a presentation. I encourage you poke around there as well! He puts out a TON of great posts and has even started doing some podcast-style content.

How does this relate to UX?

The #htdap technique really works. But it’s not easy. Kind of like UX. Also, many of the basic principles of good UX Design are reflected in the technique.

Low-Fidelity Prototyping

First, turn OFF your computer, get some scrap paper and a pen. Or some Post-It notes. Yes, turn off the computer.

Know your Users

Consider the audience– who are they and why they are in the auditorium for your presentation?

Storytelling

 

  • Write an elevator pitch for your whole story that will leave the audience asking, “tell me more?”
  • Construct a storyline that details this journey. It should rise and fall; the arc of a story.

Simplicity

Here’s step 11.

Start again and remove half of what you intend to say. Seriously. Less is more. You’ll just ignore this point but you’re wrong.

Iterating on your Product

[when practicing], You will also notice bits that just didn’t seem right. Move them, improve them or remove them. The presentation is not complete until you have delivered it at least FIVE times

#htdap squared

Two things that #htdap could borrow from UX is measurement of Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and testing using real “users”. So if you’re working on a very important presentation, perhaps for a conference or for a huge audience, I’d like to propose the following extension to #htdap:

  • Measure the effect of your presentation. Quantitatively you could use a quick paper survey of your audience. Qualitatively, you could note which parts of the presentation they seemed most engaged.
  • Schedule another delivery of the same presentation.
  • Practice – further refine your presentation. Try out some techniques to improve the qualitative ‘lows’ that you noticed.
  • Deliver it again and see if your ‘metric’ improved.
  • Repeat!

Get in touch!

How to do you “do” presentations? Have you tried #htdap? Tweet me and let me know!

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