Technically Speaking

Subject: Technically Speaking
From: "John Fleming" <johntwrl -at- hotmail -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 15 Aug 2002 02:04:11 +0000

In early October, I will be leading a small group of technical writers in a discussion that focuses on communicating technical information, not in a written form, but in spoken form.

To help guide and focus the discussion, I will be drawing heavily on a book titled "Technically Speaking, A Guide for Communicating Complex Information" by Jan D'Arcy. The book is a general public speaking tome that leans towards the needs of engineers, programmers, system analysts and other technology professionals who do presentations in their field of work.

I'm at a point where I am doing initial preparation where I am painting a picture of the group so I can best focus on things that are relevant and meaningful to a group of technical communicators.

Some of the things I already know about the group include this. Several of the people either work for, or have worked for, software development companies located in the Edmonton Area. At least one will have some teaching experience. There is a wide range of experience.

Now the questions.

Has anybody here made presentations to groups of technical writers on this or related subjects? If yes, what topics did they tend to find most interesting? What areas do they find least interesting? Are there areas in speech making they already have some background in just by virtue of working as technical writers?

If you do presentations as a technical writer, in general terms, what kinds of talks do you do most often? Breifings to supervisors and managers? Presentations to customers and clients? Presentations to fellow staff?

If you use visual aids in your talks, what kinds do you use most often? PowerPoint presnetations? overheads? models?

If you've seen other technical writers do presentations, are there areas that stand out in your mind as being particular weaknesses?

Thanks in advance.

John Fleming
Technical Writer and SAS Programmer
Edmonton, Canada

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