Communicating Technology

November 23, 2007
More than a year ago I watched this Channel 9 interview in which Don Box shares some tips on how to give a great technical presentation. I often catch myself using his advice in areas beyond tech talks. I'm not sure if these are all from that interview, but here's a list of things that I find useful.

  • The Goal: probably a universal truth, but if I'm working on something that will be heard or read by other people, it's surprising to see how quick I lose track of the initial goal of the work. Do sanity checks. Will this serve the goal?

  • The Font: code needs to be readable. I'd say the right code font is Consolas on Windows, or Monaco on the Mac. For God's sake, don't use Courier New. The font is the first thing I configure in a fresh IDE install.

  • The Size: use the smallest possible example to explain a concept. Have slides with only a few words on them. Say more with less. It's amazing how good that works.

  • The Puzzle: give the audience something to look for. A hidden joke. A mistake on the slides.

  • The Humor: nobody is that serious

  • The Story: people like stories. They don't have to be true.

Go Javapolis! :-)