All good advice, above.
My first few presentations to the crowds took some getting used to. There are few people who, on the first shot, feel totally at ease speaking to a group. If they're a well-rounded crowd, and there's no bias aim'd at specific vendors, etc, in your material, I'm sure that they should be pretty open to what you've got to say.
I'll add that, assuming you know one or more people in the audience, whom you're comfortable talking 'tech' with, make it a point to glance their way, and, to yourself, anyway, feel like you're presenting to them. If you know someone who can attend (and isn't already planning to,) ask them to come along. Just having friendly faces calms a lot of nerves.
(Unless they're the jokester types, and make funny faces at you, etc.)
Other things I've learned in my experiences:
- Short discussions (like your 15-minute one) are preferable to many crowds. Often times, an audience loses focus listening for longer presenters, and their restlessness makes it harder to speak to them. (Unless the speakers are really darned good ones, and have learned the lessons from experience at past events.)
- Visual - If you make sure you have good visual stimulii (screenshots, video demonstration, slides,) so long as it's well done, it'll complement and help drive home your points / messages, and if timed well, helps the audience in their note taking, etc, so they aren't trying to hard to keep up, and miss out on other important info, later on.
- Test any demo you plan to do a few times, both at home and at the venue, prior to the actual presentation. I had a good friend who recently spoke to a crowd. He was doing very well, and had everything in check. The crowd was really paying attention, and he grabbed their focus right from the start. Then he hit his demo. The thing worked great the day before (he'd shown it to me) in his lab, and it worked great at a second location he'd given it at, a week or two before. But, for some reason (technical obstacles at this venue, with wireless signal interference and specialized endpoint security were blocking out his equipment) he ran into some stumbling blocks, and his entire demonstration went out the window, leaving the end of his presentation dead. He saved himself nicely, and finished up strong, but it was a shame to see him get that far, doing such a great job, only to stumble, because of an unknown, onsite factor.
- Finally, and you might not have time for it, this time, if you have someone you know that can run a video camera for you (or a tripod,) tape yourself going over it a few times at home. Even though it's a little different than in front of larger crowds, it gives you comfort in how your presentation and material flow together, and you can 'test out' your timing, etc.
I think you'll do fine, and if it's more slides and general info than anything else, as you sort of eluded to it being mostly an overview, it'll probably be a walk in the park for your first go 'round. I wish you luck, and let us all know how you fare. Also, if for no other reason than knowledge share, if you tape it, whether at home or at the event, please feel free to share it out for all to see. (ie - post it, and post a link in here.) I'm sure there's good stuff in there for everyone to learn.
HTH and good luck, Andrew!
~ hayabusa ~
"All men can see these tactics whereby I conquer, but what none can see is the strategy out of which victory is evolved." - Sun Tzu, 'The Art of War'
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