My Favorite SNUG Presentation

I spoke in previous posts about Aart DeGeus’ keynote address and the VMM/OVM controversy at SNUG 2008 San Jose. In this post, I’d like to share my thoughts about my favorite presentation at SNUG, what made it so compelling, and what lessons we can take away as presenters.

Michael Keating, Synopsys Fellow and co-author of the Reuse Methodology Manual and Low Power Methodology Manual, presented a Tuesday afternoon (right after lunch!) Vision Session entitled “The Future of Low Power”. If you can access this presentation, great. Even better, Synopsys recorded the presentation and will hopefully make it generally available on their Website, much like a similar talk at the 2007 ARM Developers’ Conference.

So, what made this presentation so special compared to the others? Mike followed some of the basic rules of great presentations:

  1. Be Relevent – Design for low power and functional verification are the top issues facing designers in the next 5-10 years. There are new techniques and methodologies in play and also new science (even nanotech). This made for a topic that had a lot of interest to all ASIC designers.
  2. Know Your Stuff – It was obvious that Michael was personally very experienced in the technology of which he spoke. It would have been equally obvious had the case been otherwise.
  3. Relax – Easier said than done when addressing hundreds of your customers and peers. Michael seemed very at ease and that probably helped him to focus on the message.
  4. Talk Like a Real Person – It felt the same speaking to Mike up-front after his presentation than it did listening to him deliver his presentation. The audience was comfortable with his conversational style of presentation and that gave him a lot of credibility (compared to over-the-top marketing pitches).
  5. Use Visuals to Aid Your Message – This is the key point I wish to make. The slides were not the message and did not contain the message, as is too often common in PowerPoint presentations. How often do we see slides that have bullets that the presenter will read, hence making him superfluous? Instead, Mike delivered his message talking to the audience and the slides served to support and reinforce his message.
  6. Make Room for the Audience – Ideally, impromptu audience interaction allows the audience to be part of the discussion and to stay more connected. The constraints of the presentation … a large hall with hundreds of attendees … did not allow for that kind of interactivity during the presentation. So, Mike allowed plenty of time at the end for questions and comments and he welcomed them, even if dissenting opinions were expressed.

So…what was a great presentation that you attended, at SNUG or elsewhere? … What are your top presentation tips or presentation no-nos? … Your pet peeves?

harry the ASIC guy

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3 Responses to “My Favorite SNUG Presentation”

  1. murali says:

    Thanks for the info you put in my blog…. let me read that !

  2. Kathryn says:

    Hi Harry

    Thanks for the great feedback on Mike’s talk. I wanted you to know that his talk is being edited and will shortly be posted to for general viewing. I will let you know when it is ready!


  3. harry says:

    I’ve been informed that this presentation (PDF and video) is now available at

    Enjoy … harry

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