Parsing Troy Hunt’s Presentation Recommendations


If you’re in Information Security and you’ve not heard of Troy Hunt, you need to get on the Internet more. Troy started as a developer, got some fame as a Microsoft MVP helping people out in forums, and then stumbled upon security.

He started helping people out with securing their Microsoft websites, and suddenly realized there was a serious lack of people who could both understand and explain these issues to people. So he started doing it more and more, and now he makes videos, gives talks, etc. And he’s really good at presenting. So, following the style that has helped him get to where he’s at, he then started writing about how to get good at presenting.

So because his posts are long and quite detailed, I’m going to capture his key points in a simple list, and point out my favorites.

Things to avoid

  1. Don’t just read your slide notes

  2. Don’t make your text too small to read

  3. Don’t hide behind the podium for the whole talk

  4. Don’t apologize when things go wrong

  5. Don’t focus on being funny without giving something of value

  6. Don’t kill them with bullets

  7. Don’t let time mismanagement kill your talk

  8. Don’t look at your watch or clock constantly

  9. Don’t be monotone

  10. Make sure you don’t have notifications popping during the talk

Things to do

  1. Have something for people to see/hear while they arrive

  2. Have a strong opening (funny / amusing is often good)

  3. Skip the personal intro

  4. Give something out at the end

  5. Consider using auto-tweets during the talk to encourage engagement

  6. Use live demos, even if you have demo videos

  7. Keep the momentum, especially during multi-step demos

  8. Alternate between humor and seriousness

  9. Engage the audience with questions

  10. Use hooks and story to sell people on the point

  11. Have some go-to ideas that you can use to fill time if necessary

  12. Give people takeaway actions and lessons

  13. Use zoom tools to focus on key parts of a demo

  14. Use embedded videos, but still have a live demo as well

  15. Know your audience before using profanity

  16. Have a story and use demos/humor to hide boring bits

  17. Be fluid when you mess up, and don’t apologize

  18. Use things like Norse to show points rather than tell

  19. Use audience interaction towards the middle of a talk

  20. Talk to the audience after the talk

  21. Make sure you reinforce your key lesson multiple times

My favorites

Here are the ones I thought were particularly good:

  • Don’t apologize when things go wrong. Just drive on

  • Avoid the monotone! You must vary your energy!

  • Have something playing when people are coming in

  • Try to have a handout

  • Live-tweet during your talk (automated)

  • Illustrate or show examples of points, instead of stating them

  • Give them actionable lessons and takeaways, i.e. something they can do tomorrow that will make their lives easier

  • Use videos in your preso, but don’t substitute them for a live demo

  • Don’t be afraid to use eye-candy like Norse to illustrate a point

  • Put audience interaction at the beginning and middle of a talk

Great stuff here from Troy. Definitely check out his blog if you aren’t already following it.

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