When preparing presentations and trainings, it is important to use an iterative approach for the preparation: go for a minimum viable presentation / training, share with your potential audience and start adjusting it based on its feedback.

I recently had the opportunity to give a presentation about web compliance. 4 months ago I was proposed to give this training. For those that know me, you might have noticed that public speaking is not one of my strength, so accepting to give a public presentation to potentially 100 persons through a web conference in English was taking me out of my comfort zone.

What was the best thing to do for preparation?

Would I be able to be (virtually) in front of those persons and have a proper talk?

I took it as a great opportunity to improve my communication skills, I embraced the challenge and I set up a plan to succeed:

  1. Learn more about public speaking

Some months ago, as a feedback, one of my colleagues recommended me to read “Talk like TED”. It was now the perfect time to read the book. I though about why web compliance was important to me and I found that it was fully aligned with transparency and respect, which are part of my core values.

I also learnt about body language and how it can shape your confidence

  1. Prepare the minimum valuable presentation

I prepared the presentation, with few slides and words and some examples. I shared and got feedback early in the process. Firstly, I shared face to face with someone I trust and I adjusted the presentation / speech based on his inputs. I went for another round with other colleagues, this time remotely using the web camera. In total, I went through about 5 iterations. Gradually, I mastered the content and the presentation techniques.

  1. Giving the presentation

I was finally ready to the presentation! It went quite well despite all the technical challenges that remote attendees faced, the connection was very noisy.

It was great to get the feedback from one of the remote participants that it was one of the most interesting presentation of the day!

I wrote down a list of improvements ready for the next time that I will need to give this presentation.

A couple of weeks ago, I was requested to prepare an agile training and I followed the same approach: prepare the minimum valuable training material and share with the client. Once I received his feedback I adjusted the training, I removed most training slides and added some lego exercises. I rehearsed the training with a group of friends with interest in agile. They provided me with a valuable feedback on the session.

The training went very well and I collected more feedback for my next agile training.

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