The Problem

A lot of IT folks seems to have a problem with public speeches. Why? Fear of the stage, people and a lack of preparation. Many IT professionals tends to be completely confident about their technical skills. Although this is a very good thing, however it might lead to the situation where one is so sure about about the topic, that he or she skips the preparation. In my opinion this is the main reason why people have problem with public speeches in general. They omit preparation and do not dedicate as much time for the training as it is necessary to create a enjoyable show.

The Unwanted Solution

The simplest way to prepare a high quality presentation is to create a checklist that verify you haven’t forgot about any aspect of your talk. The general idea of checklist is very simple and great. Creating a list involves a little effort but gives a lot in return. The airline pilots use it on the daily basis. Why a public speaker or IT professional could refuse to create and use one? Here’s quite nice story that will give you a highlight why is so.

If it works why this is not so popular?

The U.S. scientist has made a hypothesis, that the level of medical errors during surgeries could be easily lowered by creating procedures and checklists. They claim, that the main reason of mistakes is a human factor. On top of the list was a problem with doctors who forget about some part of the procedure. The scientists says, that introduction of a checklist with several common steps of the operation may result in lowering medical mistakes ratio. There was a pilot program in one of the U.S. hospital and the outcome was very positive. However there was a one problem. Surgeons hated checklists. Why? Because they believed that their craft is an artistic work and the checklist lowers their prestige. Doctors says that checklists humiliate them and it is not necessary to be reminded about: “checking whether the leg to operate is a right one”.

The Punchline

How many lives could be saved if only their pride would allow them to have a checklist? However how it refer to the IT? We have exactly the same problem. We cannot handle the truth that we might make a mistake or even worse - a critical error. Simple checklist with a list of tasks to assert against is the easiest solution. Embrace this simple solution. Do not afraid of it.

To be continued...

In the next blogposts we will create a sample checklist for your presentation. I will guide you throughout the process of the information gathering, preparation and then presentation. Every step will be covered and explained in details. For now, remember that you should spend at least eight more time units for preparation than for final presentation. Hence if you got a one hour talk you should practice in total at least eight hours!