Gail Swanson

“Learning to Share with Powerful Work Presentations”

Session Summary

Presenting work is essential to getting things done. It’s the gateway to collaboration, getting buy-in and sharing knowledge. Building shared understanding of the abstract concepts, and complex decisions of information architecture is as important as the quality of the work. Unfortunately, these meetings frequently trigger opinionated debate and fail to move things in a productive direction.

Hear about insights gathered from years of observation and experimentation in a wide array of situations. You will learn how to create a presentation strategy, select the right level of detail, and handle difficult moments. Use work presentations as an opportunity to connect and make progress.

Session Takeaways
  1. Set the Context: Get everyone warmed up and focused by sharing how the information architecture contributes to business goals and ties to other efforts.
  2. Focus on Ideas: To create a common understanding of the information space you’ve designed begin building a mental model for stakeholders. Help everyone understand the sum of all of the parts.
  3. Guide Attention: Explain the right details, not every detail. Direct your stakeholder’s attention to areas that drive decisions and build understanding. Let them know what you need them to react to and the level of granularity they should focus on
  4. Bring it to Life: Deliverables are the artifacts, not the story. Use simplified diagrams or models to build common understanding. Avoid narrating your sitemaps and userflows, leaving your audience to interpret their meaning. 5. Engage: Presentations significantly impact projects. Set yourself up for success by using public speaking techniques to command the room. Physical cues such as standing up and confident body language give your work gravitas.

Gail Swanson – @practicallyUX

Gail Swanson is honored to be serving her country as a UX lead at 18F. She has spent over 15 years guiding teams to look deeper and learn about the people they serve to create technology that fits.

Gail’s past work spans a diverse range of industries including financial services, leisure travel, advertising, and even brewery operations. She started her career as a front end developer with an education in fine art. With experience, she formed her creative approach to UX design, molding technology into usable systems. Gail is happiest untangling complexity into simple ideas and instigating office sing-alongs.

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