I’m sitting in another conference where I’ve seen several presentations that are littered with XML that is then dissected ad nauseam. Now, I’m sure that they are very valuable for the people who are presenting them and we’re all familiar with the pride with which we talk about our new ‘baby’. Unfortunately, it switches off the bulk of the audience (I’m not just talking about myself, btw – there are several people who feel the same way). So, if you’re a developer or technical manager then please resist the temptation to put XML in your presentation. Diagrams to show how your system works are good (animated ones even better). Short, concise slides that outline where your solution could be used and how it helps the user are good. Short demonstrations of your system working are good. Sharing all that lot on a site like SlideShare or on a website (which is what we do at JISC) is even better.
If you do this then you avoid the demoralising prospect of people switching off from what you are presenting altogether (and, yes, this even applies to technical people). If someone wants to see exactly what is in the XML you output or take in then you can safely rest assured that they’ll ask you about it over coffee.