Security Awareness Blog

Top Security Awareness Presenting Tips - Mistakes Made and Lessons Learned

If you are involved in security awareness sooner or later you will have to present. It can be anything from teaching fellow employees about security awareness, to briefing management on the impact of your awareness program. The problem is many of us in security are not good communicators. There is nothing more dissapointing than attending a security conference to hear your favorite security researcher present on their latest finding or newest tool, only to fall asleep five minutes into the talk because they are terrible communicators. Over the past fifteen years I've done alot of presenting and teaching, and in that time I've made a tremendous number of mistakes. My personal top ten take aways for successful presenting are listed below. If you have any suggestions or lessons learned, feel free to share in comments or email me at lspitzner@sans.org.

 

  1. Introduce Yourself
  2. Start At The Beginning
  3. Talk Slowly
  4. Key Points on Screen
  5. Eliminating Physical Barriers
  6. Use Images or Minimal Text
  7. Eye Contact
  8. War Stories
  9. Repeat The Question
  10. Ask Them Questions
  11. Presenting Tips For Webinars
  12. Presenting Tips For Simulcasts
#1 Introduce Yourself
Whenever you start a presentation, first introduce yourself. Far too often folks jump right into their presentation with no introduction or background. Who are you, where do you come from, why should I listent to you? Introducing yourself makes you human, it can help establish a bond with the audience. They want to know you, they actually want to see you succeed. The second is your experience can help establish your credibility. It helps answer the question why people should listen to you. Finally, if this is part of an internal awareness program it helps promote your security team. "Hi, my name is Lance Spitzner, I'm the security awareness officer for our security team". Many employees may not realize there is a security awareness officer, some may not even know your organization has a security team. By introducing yourself you help make them aware of these resources, and put a human face to it. When I used to first present I made this mistake all the time. You know you messed up when after your talk people have to ask who you are, what you do or what organization you come from.

3 Comments

Posted December 21, 2011 at 4:35 PM | Permalink | Reply

PJ

I'm in the initial stages of preparing an awareness training program. These tips are invaluable. Thanks!

Posted December 21, 2011 at 4:39 PM | Permalink | Reply

lspitzner

Glad to help! Be sure to check out all the free resources at http://www.securingthehuman.org/resources. There are a variety of materials to help you plan and execute your awareness program. If there is a resource missing that you need, let me know.
Thanks!
lance

Posted January 4, 2012 at 12:59 PM | Permalink | Reply

Dmytro

A really nice read. I always enjoy reading through others' lessons learnt. Thank for sharing!