Part 1 - Improving Your Presentations with UCD: Preparation


By applying the User-Centered Design model when creating your presentations, you will drastically improve your presenting skills.

There are always three speeches for every one you actually gave; the one you practiced, the one you gave, and the one you wish you gave.
— Dale Carnegie

Understand the Problem

Before even scheduling a time to give your presentation, quickly walk through each of these and determine if the problem you are trying to solve can be accomplished with a 5-minute in-person chat or even an email. The more effective you are with people's time, the more grateful they are for your work.

  • What is the point of the presentation?
    • Most meetings that are seen as a waste by participants because the presenter never bothered thinking this most obvious step out.
    • We’ve all been to a sales pitch conference where we all thought “Why am I here??”
    • Two Questions that will help avoid this:
      • Ask yourself "Why am I giving this?" or play the "5 Why's" exercise
      • Ask yourself "What needs to be accomplished by the end of this meeting?"
  • What are you trying to explain?
    • This helps you understand what you need focus on and avoid going off on tangents
  • What is the actual problem?
    • Be able to define the problem and easily explain it to someone completely new to the topic
    • Example: "I'm here today to explain how you can improve your presentations by focusing on your goals, your audience, and explaining the problem"

Understand the Audience

 There are two broad differences in types of audiences -

  1. Novice vs. Expert - Do you need to explain more background information or can you jump right into the specifics of the problem?
  2. Detailed vs. High Level - Some people love seeing numbers and all of the small details, but it's rare to find that the higher up you go in an organization. Should you show three excel spreadsheets or just one simplified bar graph? The answer is whatever your audience prefers.

What do they want from this presentation?

  • Learn something new?
  • Confirm or debunk previous notions?
  • Understand the future strategy?
B Parsons