Every presentation has three parts:
- The topic you want to cover
- The material you write to cover the topic
- The way you deliver the material
After picking your topic, that’s where writer’s block comes in. You stare at the blank presentation deck going, “How on earth should I tell this story?”
Start here: ProBlogger’s 52 Types of Blog Posts. Along with the usual styles of howto, tutorial, and definitions, they include ideas like:
- Case studies – which could be real work you’ve done, or an imaginary company facing that issue, and how you’d propose solving it
- What others are saying – gather up a roundup of the best advice you’ve seen out on the topic, giving a tl;dr of each author’s point of view, with links back to their material
- Interviews – a great example of how to present on a topic you don’t know well. Just put together a list of questions for a community expert, send it to them via email, and turn their answers into a slide deck (with their approval, of course.)
- Cheat sheets – like Andy Mallon’s SSMS Shortcuts presentation and cheat sheet
- Starting a debate – these work great for passionate topics like code formatting or where to put your business logic. Pose the question onscreen, and let the audience members talk it out.
I find that when I’m unhappy with part #3 – my presentation delivery – the real solution isn’t rehearsing the presentation or coming up with better demos. The real solution is throwing out the material altogether, going back to ProBlogger’s list of post types, and coming up with a new way of telling the story altogether.
You can – and should – mix up your presentation types. Your presentations are going to accumulate like a snowball rolling down a mountain, and before you know it, you’ll have a collection of several good presentations that you can build into an all-day training class or pre-con. If all your presentations are exactly the same delivery style, the audience will get bored. Mix it up!