The great websledge

aka the art of the 3 minute presentation

The websledge presentation is on slideshare, it has had a couple of minor additions (ie what I should of added earlier). But it really needs an audio track, because the words are far more important than the slides, plus you miss the cheer from the staff of one web design company when they find the have not been left out. I will let you know if the video goes online.

Creating a 3 minute presentation for WebJam is harder than creating a 30 minute presentation for another event. Your presentation can not any fat, it has to be tight, slick and without any extraneous material or slides. Mine was far from perfect, but compared to the others on the night, I think it was one of the best in terms of presentation, content well that was another matter.

Ignoring the fact that stunning content should win, and Scouta definitely deserved too, I expected Myles to do better with CTR because that really interested me. I want to discuss a few ways of improving your presentation for the next WebJam. And yes you need to present at the next WebJam:

  • It is a great learning experience.
  • Once you presented to 100 of your beer drinking peers, any other presentation is a piece of cake.
  • Even if you managed to stuff up, it is only a maximum of 3 minutes of disaster.
  • You learn the art of stripping down your presentation to the bare minimum.
  • If you thought the atmosphere was electric in the crowd, it was intoxicating on stage.
  • Trust me you just need to do it for the buzz.

Pick your topic well in advance, be it a cool project, something you are passionate about or some crazy hair brained scheme. Research it well, collect screen shots, look at different ways to present the same material.

Look at ways at injecting a little humour or a little crowd interaction into the presentation. Because that what works, well at least in gathering votes. I am sure Scouta would of won by a bigger margin, if Richard said that dot represents my (or somebody in the crowd) recommendations and make a fun comment. Then picked another dot and explained it was a podcast or video that people knew, explained how popular it is and why it was or was not linked to a particular person, in a humorous way.

Visuals, as a presenter you are stuck behind a desk you need something to keep their eyes occupied, so unless you are dancing the best way is with a demo, slides or video. You don’t want complex slides, with a lot of text. Keep the simple, keep the relevant. My slides had way too much text, one was irrelevant (the opera mini settings slide). But overall, I was happy with my number of slides. Yes I had three slides on one menu system, but that effectively demonstrated my point that the menu was so big.

I think Megyn’s Website Planner presentation would of had more impact if she borrowed some elements from the Wedding Planner movie. Like making use of the movie poster, opening credits or intro music. Adding additional humour and some visuals that where missing, from an interesting presentation.

You also need to rehearse as many times as possible. I thought I had a good 3 minute presentation, it was close to 5 minutes for the first couple of attempts. I cut it down to 3 minutes, rehearsed it a couple more times, only to find it disjointed. Changed it again and found ran more smoothly and ran 2 minutes 45 seconds. I also found myself not sticking to the script which was good, because

Be prepared for any possible problem, I almost won by default because Scouta’s presentation relied on using their laptop which had major problems connecting to the only projector. I had the presentation on my laptop, on a USB key in keynote, powerpoint and PDF format as well as a copy on Slideshare on the web.

Be ready to start as soon as you step on stage, make sure the browser or file is open, the URL is ready. I cringed every time a presenter got up on stage and wasted some of their precious 3 minutes, starting an application or browser, typing in a URL etc.

Most of all have fun.

So start getting ready, the next WebJam in Perth is rumoured to be happening in December possibly in conjunction with ByteMe.

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