Two hours of Tufte style presentation

Jun 3, 2004 01:10 · 306 words · 2 minute read

Today, I gave a training session at work that lasted a little more than two hours. The session covered a Swing GUI framework that we’ve been building. (Yes, this framework is genuinely different from the others I’ve seen out there, and it’s even different in a good way :). I prepared for the presentation completely outside of the normal workday, because our project is due at the end of July and we’re busy pairing all day long on the code. I didn’t want to get in the way of that.

The presentation wasn’t bad, given the amount of time that I put into it. It certainly could have been better. I didn’t use a whiteboard during the talk, and I should have. Parts of it were not as well rehearsed as I would’ve liked.

After attending a session with Edward Tufte in April, I adopted his “no PowerPoint” style. I handed out an 8-page (2 11×17″ sheets) booklet that covered all of the examples I was using and gave some helpful reference information. One of my colleagues had the good suggestion of including a class diagram, which I will do if this comes up again. Instead of PowerPoint, I had Eclipse running during the session so that I could demo some running examples. With more time, I would have made more runnable examples. My handout had many snippets that were not in a runnable context.

And, a big kudos to our impressive Xerox Document Centre printer/copier. This thing actually took my eight separate 8.5×11″ sheets and turned them into a properly arranged 11×17″ booklet. That would have been very painful to assemble previously.

Presentation skills are important in nearly any job. It’s good to review the good and bad. I’m going to solicit feedback from the attendees to see how the training could have been better.