With the row of presentations I’ve given lately, I noticed something: For everyone it is easier to understand a complex concept or task when it is drawn out in front of us. Football tactics, flight plans, UML (hehe), you name it.
In a presentation, I try to give as many visual clues as possible to my audience and I don’t mean a lot of bullet points to read.
I have a short and a longer version of my CouchDB talk. The short one obviously lacks depth and includes more diagrams. The longer one is all about me telling the story of CouchDB with a few slides to follow along. I gave the second one a couple of times to groups of engineers and what I found remarkable was, despite how foreign or complex a concept I explained was for them, when I took the header of a slide and went of fifteen minutes into storytelling, they were all with me.
If you have something interesting to say, an engineer will work hard to follow what you are saying. He might even enjoy it more than a few pretty pictures because it a) shows them you really care about the topic and b) it maximises their brain capacity. And we all know that a
nerdN.A.D.D brain is easily distracted so creating a story and a little show to look at allows them to digest the content and apply it to their set of problems in parallel whereas a “simple” diagram of the same concept might just pass by as an commercial.