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Archive for June, 2011|Monthly archive page

5 Myths About Technical Talks

In Business Networking Groups, Business Presentations, Delivery, PowerPoint, Public Speaking on June 12, 2011 at 9:59 AM

Summarized from an article by Fredrick Gilbert. Originally published in Technical Communication in May 1992

The tone of the technical presentation is impersonal, objective. The content is often data, statistics, and facts. The tricky part is that this objective information has to be presented to subjective human beings. To hold their attention and get their agreement, the technical presenter also must draw on general principles of human communication. The first is to make the content easy to understand.

HP Labs Survey

Last year we conducted a survey at Hewlett-Packard Labs in Palo Alto, California, to determine what technical presenters wanted to hear from other presenters. We found that rather than wanting more technical detail, they wanted more concise organization, more effective style, and better visual aids (usually overhead transparencies). As one project manager put it, “Don’t tell me the details of how you got the data, just tell me what the data means.”

Contrary to conventional wisdom that says the technical audience is eager for a “data dump,” our survey results reflect people’s concern that talks be well organized and easy to follow. Technical speakers who try to show how much they know by making their presentation complex would be more successful if they focused instead on simplifying the message. It’s a classic example of “less is more.” Simplifying and repeating the “core message” results in increased agreement and retention.

Summary

Technical presentations are similar to, and different from, non-technical presentations. They are different in that they focus on physical events or data rather than people. The technical audience already has specialized knowledge about the topic. Like people in any audience, though, their time is valuable, and they don’t want to be bored.

To make your next technical presentation successful, remember these guidelines.

  • Deliver the talk with enough style and audience involvement to keep them interested.
  • Keep the content clear and the organization easy to follow.
  • Reduce the number of visual aids and keep them big, bold, and colorful.

 

MYTHS ABOUT TECHNICAL TALKS

  • Content is everything. Style is unimportant.
  • Technical people are very bright, so it’s okay to do a data dump.
  • The overhead projector is more important than the speaker.
  • Enthusiasm is offensive. Analytical people expect boring presentations.
  • Technical talks are simply informational; they’re not meant to be persuasive.

This is a summary of an article origianally printed in 1992. For a copy of the full article, send an an email to ethan@speakeasy.net.

iSpeakEASY offers offers workshops for scientists and other technical professionals. Contact us for more information on how you can improve your technical presenations

Frederick Gilbert is president of Frederick Gilbert Associates, Inc., a presentation skills training firm in Redwood City, CA. 1-800-828-1909. http://www.allbusiness.com/technology/306693-1.html

 

© 2007 – This speaking tip is one in a series provided to you by iSpeakEASY. We help people speak effectively and with confidence.

“How To Speak So Your Audience Will Listen” – A free presentation

In Business Networking Groups, Business Presentations, PowerPoint, Public Speaking on June 2, 2011 at 9:28 PM

Imagine how much easier it would be to design your next talk if you knew exactly what the audience wanted to hear. Imagine how much more confident you will feel and how credible you will appear to the audience. That is exactly what you will learn in this interactive presentation on public speaking.

 “How To Speak So Your Audience Will Listen” helps speakers improve their presentation skills whether they are making a formal presentation to large group or an informal presentation to a smaller group.

The talk identifies:

  • Three highly desired attributes of a good presentation
  • Five fatal flaw most speakers make
  • The process for designing an effective talk
  • Four tools effective speakers use

We all speak every day. This presentation will help you present information in an effective manner that inspires others to take new action or change a behavior. This presentation is a MUST for those interested in improving sales, closing more deals, or simply gaining support for their ideas.

Call iSpeakEASY today at (415) 342-7106 to book this dynamic and informative presentation for your conference, trade association, networking group or service club.

Ethan Rotman has been making presentations for more than 30 years and training others in how to improve their speaking for more than 25 years.

Here is what others say about this presentation:                                           

“I want to thank for an excellent presentation on public speaking. Good programs are important for the club to keep members interested and attendance up!  We all appreciated the well-prepared and informative presentation.”

John Gardner, Rotary of Walnut Creek

“I had the pleasure of seeing Ethan do a presentation on public speaking and was VERY impressed not only by his knowledge of the subject, but by the fact that he is a great public speaker. I can’t think of a faster and more efficient way to improve communications in a business than to attend Ethan’s trainings.”

Anastasia Shuster, Access Speakers

“The session was exciting, well organized, and engaging. The materials were easy to understand we were given the tools to improve our speaking skills.”

San Francisco Estuary Institute

“You have been, in effect, a years worth of Toastmasters encapsulated into a couple of sessions.”

Clyde L. Schultz, DDS