Guide to Presenting at Tech Field Day

Presenting at Tech Field Day

A successful presentation starts with you

It is important to remember first that there are no universal rules to what makes a successful Field Day presentation. In fact, many of the best presentations we have had took another path! In the end, these are best practices, but not requirements or a recipe for guaranteed success.

The Presenter Matters the Most

Perhaps the most valuable lesson we’ve learned since starting Tech Field Day back in 2009 is that the presenter matters more than the presentation or the technology. Time and again, companies have been worried about their slide deck, demo, or features, only to find that they “hit the ball out of the park” thanks to a knowledgeable and likeable presenter.

The ideal Field Day presenter is quite a bit like the delegates themselves: Knowledgeable, personable, technical, and interested in serious discussion. Most companies have many people fitting this description, but they might not always be the people called on to present at tradeshows and customer events. Before setting your agenda, look at the people you have to present and bring them into the process.

Remember that Field Day presentations are different from the sales-oriented presentations often given by executives. Presenters should be warned ahead of time to treat the delegates as technical analysts, not customers, and to avoid “sales pitch” phrasing.

Presentation Logistics

While the presenter is the most important piece of your presentation, there are several conventions that will make your presentation run smoothly.

First, please make sure to arrive early to ensure enough time for setup. If you will be coming to our presentation facility, we recommend arriving at least a half hour prior to your scheduled time. This ensures that everything is ready and your presentation time will not be wasted.

We strongly recommend using a single computer for all presentation slides and demos used. Switching laptops between presentation segments can lead to several minutes of downtime and can disrupt the flow of the presentation. This can easily be avoided by loading one laptop with all materials before the presentation.

Another thing to consider is that demos do not always work as intended. In this case, it is a very good idea to have a backup video of your demo to use if something is not working as intended. The delegates and audience will understand that demos do not always work perfectly and it is always better to have a backup.

Cameras and Microphones

Our camera setup includes three pan/tilt/zoom cameras plus a direct line-in for the presentation screen. We have 4 wireless microphones for the presenters plus 12 wired microphones for the delegate panel. All of this is mixed, real-time, to create the video for the livestream and recorded for later posting. Note that we do not usually use any in-room amplification or PA systems.

Our video mix includes the following camera angles:

  1. A closeup shot of the presenter from the back of the room
  2. A wide shot of the entire room from the back, also used for whiteboards
  3. A shot from the front of the delegate panel
  4. A feed of the slides or demo from the presentation laptop through our video splitter

Our presentation video splitter can handle HDMI and VGA signals in 16:9 or 4:3 up to 1080p resolution. This is what is commonly used by projectors and TV screens, but some laptops may need an adapter. Our splitter box sits between the laptop and projector or TV.

The Field Day video crew uses wireless microphones for presenters. Because of this, it is best to wear shirt with buttons and a collar to attach the microphone. Also, please note that presenters should not mute or turn off their microphone when not speaking. Our video crew will actively control and mute microphones as needed.

Remote presenters are not recommended. We have found that this does not work well with the Field Day audience, whether they are connecting via telephone or video conferencing link.

Finally, please remind all of your presenters to introduce themselves briefly prior to their presentation. This introduction should include their full name and title and can include a Twitter handle if they have one. This will allow delegates to refer to who was speaking in their articles as well as assist our video editing team in labeling and titling videos.

The Presentation Agenda

Multiple Presentation Segments

We recommend that Field Day presentations be separated into several stand-alone segments. This not only keeps the presentation focused, but also holds the attention of the delegates and online audience better. It also creates more digestible segments, improving post-event video viewership.

We recommend that the presentation start with a short introduction of the company followed by an overview of the product, then other sections for demos, technical discussions, etc. It is a good idea to have multiple presenters, each taking a different section. Most presenters have 3-5 presenters and 4-6 sections in their 2-hour presentation slot. Each section should be designed to be viewed separately, since this is how most of our video is consumed on YouTube.

Although we do recommend separating your presentation into segments, we do not recommend including breaks. Delegates understand that you have asked for their time and will pay full attention for the duration of your presentation. We also do not recommend you reserve time in your presentation for Q&A. Delegates will ask questions during your presentation as they see fit. Note that they will interrupt to ask questions for clarification or further information.

Each of these presentation segments will be posted as a separate video on YouTube and Vimeo. This increases viewership, since each video is short, topical, and approachable for viewers. Many delegates will also use one or two videos in their blog posts to illustrate a point they are making.

Below, please find an “ideal” Field Day agenda, When putting your agenda together, remember to keep the titles and descriptions meaningfully brief. Give the delegates enough information on each section to inform them what to expect, and to reference later for their writing. We will also use your titles and descriptions for our video and social media posts.

The Classic Field Day Agenda

Here is the classic Field Day agenda, followed by most presenters over the years.

  1. Begin with a 15 to 20 minute overview of the company, the products, and the market. But don’t spend time talking about “the problem” you solve, your venture capitalists or financials, a “NASCAR slide” of customers, or the opinions of industry analysts! A marketing executive, founder, or VP is the ideal presenter for this session.
  2. Divide the rest of your presentation slot into 2-4 standalone segments, each 20-30 minutes long. These segments can include any or all of the following:
    • A guided discussion on a specific technological challenge that your product addresses particularly well led by a product marketing expert or solutions engineer
    • A “chalk talk” or presentation diving into a unique technology or capability that separates you from the rest led by a CTO or knowledgeable techie
    • An interactive demo showing the product in action led by a solutions engineer or even a customer
      A real-world customer discussion led by a solutions engineer or end user
    • Optionally, the livestream can conclude and you can finish with an off-camera segment covering future direction or delegate feedback. These can be recorded or not and can be held for the future under embargo.

Please provide a printed paper agenda for each delegate and staff member. The agenda format on the following page is best, and we recommend using this as your guide.

Sample Agenda

Tech Field Day at Company Name

Wi-Fi Access Info:

<SSID> <Password> – Include any other instructions needed to connect

Session Description Presenter
Company Introduction Presenter introduces company. It was started X years ago, with an initial focus on Something. We are the leading provider of Example. Roughly 25-50 words. Presenter’s Name,
Full Title
Product Overview Product began as an internal method of dealing with Example. Here are some specifics without a ton of technical detail, to serve as a preview of what comes in the next sections. Roughly 50-100 words. Presenter’s Name,
Full Title
Product Demo Be sure to layout the specifics of any demo, as well as any use cases it’s meant to exemplify in this section. Companies sometimes include URLs for supporting materials or demos. 50-100 words. Presenter’s Name,
Full Title
Product Roadmap For any subsequent sections, try to keep under 100 words, and provide a concise, but descriptive, summary of what will be presented. Presenter’s Name,
Full Title
Off Camera Session Make sure to clearly mark anything that will be off-camera Presenter’s Name,
Full Title


Questions? Reach out to us on Twitter at @YourName or email us at <email address>

  • Note: There is no need to put the estimated times of the sections on the agenda. This may be useful internally, but with the questions from the delegates, will almost certainly change during the presentation.
  • These sections are merely sample. Please do not feel the need to change your presentation to fit the sessions used in this example.

Tech Field Day Sample Agenda 2017

Room Setup for Hosting Companies

If you are hosting a Field Day presentation at your location, please make sure your room includes all of the following elements.

The Field Day operation takes up more space than most organizers realize. Although there are only a dozen delegates in the room, we also bring along a two-person video crew and two Field Day staff. Plus, of course, the presenters and staff from the presenting company need chairs, tables and power!

Minimum Room Requirements

  • Room size: 800 square feet
  • A single U-shaped or rectangular table with no more than 15 chairs
  • Clear the tables of mats, candies, pens, and paper
  • Power strips with 24 empty outlets distributed around the tables
  • Guest Wi-Fi access for the delegates and staff
  • One hard-wired Ethernet drop with at least 5 Mbps upload speed for the video crew
  • Coffee, water, with light snacks encouraged but placed at the back of the room

Any table or space used should have enough room to fit 20 people comfortably. The room must have the space and power to accommodate laptops and and the two cameras used by our video team. Presenters and guests usually sit along the side of the room so they can join the conversation as needed.

This U-Shaped table has proven the best layout for Field Day presentations in the past as it is conducive to discussion and looks best on video.

Checklist for Hosting Companies

Please use this checklist if you will be presenting at your own location.

Also please note that we will schedule a pre-event site visit the week of the event. This will usually occur on the Monday or Tuesday before an event and will last about 30 minutes. Please try to arrange for us to see the room that will be used for the presentation and ask technical support and presenters to join us for this visit.

  • One laptop with all presentation materials
  • 1024×768 resolution or 1080p widescreen slides and demos
  • Projector or TV monitor with HDMI or VGA
  • Wired internet connection for video crew
  • Wireless internet access for delegates
  • Power on the table for delegates
  • 12-14 person U-shape table (preferably)
  • Table for video crew in back of room
  • Whiteboard (if needed for presentation)
  • Coffee, water, sodas, light snacks
  • Badges/Name tags for building access (if needed)
  • 15x completed printed paper agendas
  • “Like” the Tech Field Day Facebook page and follow on Twitter

Please contact us with any questions!

Checklist for Shared-Location Presentations

Please use this checklist if you will be presenting at a meeting room arranged by our staff.

  • One laptop with all presentation materials
  • 1024×768 resolution or 1080p widescreen slides and demos
  • Let us know if you will need a whiteboard
  • Optional pop-up banner or sign to personalize the room
  • Arrive at least 30 minutes prior to your presentation time
  • 15x completed printed paper agendas
  • “Like” the Tech Field Day Facebook page and follow on Twitter

Please contact us with any questions!