Re: Technical Presentation Skills

Subject: Re: Technical Presentation Skills
From: Lori Lathrop <76620 -dot- 456 -at- COMPUSERVE -dot- COM>
Date: Tue, 10 Jan 1995 12:04:38 EST

Bill Burns (INTERNET:WBURNS -at- VAX -dot- MICRON -dot- COM) notes:

> ... I would add that you must also know your
> audience. I often find that humor works in some situations, but in others
> dreadfully out of place. The same goes for highly technical language or,
> inversely, nonstandard usage.

Good points! Here's a good example: I have presented many indexing
workshops for technical communicators. Recently, I was asked to present
an indexing workshop to a non-technical audience -- at a conference
sponsored by the Society for Children's Book Writers and Illustrators.
The audience will consist of publishers, editors, literary agents,
authors, educators, and others interested in children's literature.
Obviously, most of the presentation materials I use in my workshops for
technical communicators would be inappropriate for this audience ...
so I'm developing some new presentation materials.

BTW, I'm looking for examples of good and not-so-good indexes in
children's books, and I'd appreciate it if you would e-mail me directly
(rather than to this list) if you have suggestions. I recently went to
the Boulder Public Library, and it didn't take long to discover that
the lack of indexes in children's books is deplorable, and I thought,
"How sad!" So many authors and publishers are missing the opportunity
to sharpen children's thinking and analytical skills. If children could
learn the purpose of an index while they're young, their ability to
conduct research later on in their educational or career pursuits would
be much easier for them. Wouldn't it be nice if we could train kids
(as well as their parents and teachers) to *expect* indexes in their
non-fiction books? Just think ... they'd grow up with an appreciation
for the conceptual map that an index provides, and they'd have much
better research skills. And maybe some of them would grow up to be good
technical communicators? What a concept, eh? Ah, well ... that's my
soapbox for today :-) Thanks in advance for any suggestions you have.

Lori Lathrop, Lathrop Media Services
P.O. Box 808, Georgetown, CO 80444
(Author of _An Indexer's Guide to the Internet_, published by the
American Society of Indexers, P.O. Box 386, Port Aransas, TX 78373)

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