A couple of weeks ago I presented on voiceover techniques to an audience of about 35 people at PodcampSLC. I should have researched my audience a little more before the presentation because, from what I could tell, most people were there to learn how to start a podcast rather than learn voiceover techniques for professional screencasts. Hence, I received no questions at all (okay, one person asked one question). It was still a good warm-up practice for the voiceover presentation I'm giving at the STC Summit next month.
Inexperienced presenters worry about their presentations. Experienced presenters worry about their audience.
Sound advice, indeed. One technique I've seen some presenters do is start by asking the audience what questions they have or what they want to learn. Then for the bulk of the presentation, you just answer those questions. Usually all the questions are covered in the presentation you prepared previously, but it still gives the audience a more direct impression of addressing their unique needs and concerns.
I would have gladly abandoned my presentation on voiceover techniques if I knew the audience was full of people curious about how to break into podcasting, or people curious about social media tactics to market their podcasts. But alas, once I dived into the presentation, I heard nothing but silence in terms of feedback. Perhaps by then it was too late. No one wanted to ask a question so off topic. That or they were all hungry for lunch.
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I'm a technical writer based in the California San Francisco Bay area. Topics I write about on this blog include technical writing, authoring and publishing tools, API documentation, tech comm trends, visual communication, technical writing career advice, information architecture and findability, developer documentation, and more. If you're a professional or aspiring technical writer, be sure to subscribe to email updates using the form above. You can learn more about me here.