Re: Technically Speaking

Subject: Re: Technically Speaking
From: "Susan W. Gallagher" <sgallagher5 -at- cox -dot- net>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 15 Aug 2002 09:32:36 -0700

At 02:04 AM 8/15/02 +0000, John Fleming wrote:

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?

I regularly make presentations at conferences and STC
dinner meetings. I'm kind of mono-focused on subject
matter, tho, so I'm the wrong one to ask about areas
of interest. In general, the more pertinent the subject
seems to be, the more interested the audience seems to
be. ;-)

While tech writers should have the basic "Speech 101"
knowledge -- the communication process including noise,
how to structure a persuasive argument, etc., most of
them (I've found) either don't have the background or
have forgotten all about it.

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?

At work (when there is work), some presentations about doc
plans, process,... on special occasions, but not regularly.

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

My old plastic slides are curling at the edges and I
was feeling self-conscious about being the only one at
the conference using an old-fashioned overhead projector,
so now I've got a laptop w/ powerpoint loaded. <g>

If you've seen other technical writers do presentations, are there areas that stand out in your mind as being particular weaknesses?
The two major shortcomings I've seen at conference presentations
are lack of confidence and lack of preparation/knowledge about the
subject matter. In one particularly bad example, I sat through a
presentation on document design once where one of the presenters
could not remember the difference between serif and sans-serif
fonts. It was sad.

-Sue Gallagher

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Technically Speaking: From: John Fleming

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