The skill set for explaining, XAI, and why they both matter.

Present everything better! As co-organizer of the meetups Papers We Love – Denver and Domain-Driven Design – Denver, I was delighted to co-host PitchLab for a talk on presentation skills. Jay Mays and Keefer Caid-Loos did an excellent job explaining how to connect with your audience.

Participants were engaged, and appreciated PitchLab’s approachable, ask-me-anything attitude. The interactive exercise was particularly powerful: First, several people read something to the audience. Jay and Keefer then gave their presentation. Afterward, participants read their statements a second time, only now incorporating the techniques they’d just heard about. Learning = reinforcement: Well done.

I walked away with practical, new ideas for my next DDD conference presentation.
-Director of software development

Key takeaways:

The wrong way to open your talk. Don’t open by talking about yourself – it’s about what matters to the audience. This is especially true when pitching customers or investors. Along those lines, if you can arrange for someone to introduce you, they can talk about your awesomeness, so you won’t have to. Save your name for last, as in “Coming up next is the founder of rapid-growth startup ABC, alum of VC-backed XYZ Corp. Heeeeeeeeeeeere’s Johnny!!”

Keep a file of anecdotes. Write a draft email, use EverNote, create a Google doc – whatever is easily accessible so you can jot down story ideas or anecdotes as you think of them.

Long pause: It’s the hardest thing to do, but highly effective. Include a long pause to emphasize a key point.

Bring the funny – when it feels right. If you’re giving a talk about cancer research, avoid telling jokes. Jay says “The biggest comedians in the world can barely touch cancer.” But keeping things light is always helpful, and a self-deprecating anecdote shows humility and humor.

Thank you, PitchLab. And thank you, @CodeTalent for the meetup space.

Posted by Tracy Allison Altman on 13-Sept-2018.

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