BarCamp was lekker... mingling with geniuses tends to inspire a flood of ideas... So many in fact that I've hardly been able to choose which to write about. Hence no blog post until today.

Opensource, search engine optimization, trust networks, micro-formats and other edgy topics were discussed... All of which have had a profound impact on my motivation levels (so much opportunity, so little time!!). But this isn't really a tech blog, so I'm going to share some of what I learned about giving a kickass presentation at an (un)conference.

Few presenters at BarCamp were professional speakers, but the ones that spoke with their own voice were far more engaging and interesting to listen to than those who just read their presentation off powepoint slides and notes.

We can get any information that we want in the world - ideas aren't rare anymore, but what is rare is your unique human expression of them at that time and place, in your own words. Flashiness counts for almost nothing. What counts is sincerity.
It's easier said than done, but some of us need to loosen up onstage and be real. Taddy Blecher, founder of Cida City Campus, would concur: "I used to be sick for three weeks in anticipation of a speech," But then he made a sudden realisation. "I was trying to be like somebody else, but then I decided to just be myself, for better or for worse." To hear Blecher speak these days is dangerous - it could change your life.

If you aren't enjoying yourself on-stage, then you won't really connect with your audience.
I was very lucky to present with Graham Knox, owner of Stormhoek. His part of the talk was excellent: It was like he was having a conversation with a bunch of friends. His example helped me chillout and deliver the body of my presentation in a way that was more me - laughing, joking, and not being scared to screw up publicly. I think this was crucial to getting my point across.

A good presentation has a particular outcome, and the presenter keeps that outcome foremost. Whether the outcome is to get people to start a business blog, to evangelize your product, or just to laugh... Stick to the objective.
I just realised I could probably write a whole essay on what I learned about speaking this weekend, so I'll just put one more point:

Never lose sight of the fact that the presentation is not actually about you - it is about what value you can add to the audience - whether it be a laugh, a feeling, or an idea.

More on BarCamp from Mark Forrester (superbly journaled), DeWet (detailed summary), Max (writing = art), Rafiq (insightful) & Tania (cool pic).
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AuthorDave Duarte
CategoriesPresentation