093: Oscar Santolalla - On Giving a Killer Technical Presentation


Oscar is a fellow in this band of presentation podcast fellows, which includes many wonderful people (see also: Lea Pica)! We support each other. So, when Oscar let me know that he’s starting a crowd-funding campaign for his book about technical presentations called “Create and Deliver a Killer Product Demo and wondered if we could talk about what that means… I thought two things: 1) what is a technical presentation? And 2) You bet! Oscar is the podcast host of Time to Shine, an interview-based podcast about public speaking, and he has been studying and is now speaking about what it means to give a killer technical presentation – the likes of Steve Jobs and Guy Kawasaki. I have to admit: these kinds of presentations aren't normally my jam. The selling - the 'reveal' - but I'm reminded in watching these and talking with Oscar how important they've been to us as a culture. Taking our ideas and turning them into realities. When done right, they are about more than the stuff - they are about changing a part of our culture.


"Part of the game is to change your mindset." @OSantolalla on @ThisMovedMe #presentationtip #publicspeaking #toastmasters


On the show, we talked about:

  • What a "technical presentation" is - and its use, importance and artistry
  • The role that Toastmasters has played in Oscar's development as a speaker
  • Who Oscar admires in the technical presentation landscape - some of the same people who have changed the game of presenting as a whole (see: Steve Jobs!)



And, some long-lost footage of when Steve Jobs first introduced the Macintosh. You guys, this is awesome: 



Thanks to friend (and podcast guest) Aly Wallberg, I have discovered the podcast "Stuff You Should Know." The very first one I listened to was about the future of renewable energy - an interview with Bill Gates. I loved the hosts AHA moments - so genuinely wowed and interested in learning! I love that. It struck me that it was a fitting moment to share because the challenge that lies ahead is really about how we can translate our ideas beyond our brains into the culture of our audience.


For Oscar it was watching a video of "Ára Bátur" by Sigur Rós. Here's a version at Abbey Road Studios, with London Sinfonietta and London Oratory Boy's choir... beautiful. A classically feel-good music moment, even if you don't know the native language.

Can I just tell you? My favorite moment is at the very end, when they just hold, quiet, and soak in what just happened.



Thanks for the reminder of how powerful these kinds of talks can be, Oscar.