RE: Technically Speaking

Subject: RE: Technically Speaking
From: jgarison -at- ide -dot- com
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 15 Aug 2002 11:42:01 -0400


I've taught technical writing for over 10 years, and have presented at many
TW conferences ... See below for answers to your questions.

>>-----Original Message-----
>>From: John Fleming [mailto:johntwrl -at- hotmail -dot- com]
>>Sent: Wednesday, August 14, 2002 10:04 PM
>>Subject: Technically Speaking

>>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?

MANY tech writers (and people in general) find the very thought of standing
up in front of a group of people heart-stoppingly terrifying. Most of the
information that I give to people on doing stand-up presentations is to know
your material, talk normally, don't read a script or slides. Being a writer
generally means you know how to organize your information (a biggie!). But
it also means people tend to script everything and then just read the script
(a bad idea).

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

All of the above, and then some. I present all sorts of stuff to company
executives, fellow workers, fellow tech writers. Who ever needs it and will
sit still through it all!

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

Whatever is appropriate. PowerPoint slides primarily, with screen shots,
etc. as needed.

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

They don't violate more of the good speaking guidelines than the general
public do ... Things to remember:

Speak loudly enough
Don't trail off at the end of sentences
Speak slowly
Maintain eye contact
Animate your voice
Be enthusiastic
Have fun!


John Garison
Documentation Manager
IDe, Concord, MA
jgarison -at- ide -dot- com

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