Public speaking for technical communicators
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Public Speaking for Technical Communicators. Matthew Stern Principal Technical Writer Best Software, Inc. What will be covered. Overcoming nervousness Preparing your talk Developing a good stage presence Table topics: Your chance to practice Resources for further development .

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Public Speaking for Technical Communicators

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Public Speaking for Technical Communicators

Matthew SternPrincipal Technical WriterBest Software, Inc.


What will be covered

  • Overcoming nervousness

  • Preparing your talk

  • Developing a good stage presence

  • Table topics: Your chance to practice

  • Resources for further development


Tips for overcoming nervousness

  • Know it’s natural – It’s a sign that you want to do well

  • Practice

  • Know that the audience is on your side

  • Bring moral support, like a friend or coworker

  • Picking out audience members and speaking to them one on one


Preparing your talk

  • Know your audience

  • Organize your talk

  • Use humor correctly

  • Select the correct visual aids and use them correctly


Know your audience

  • Do your homework

  • Watch the audience’s reaction during your presentation

  • Learn from Trent Lott


How to organize a speech

  • Opening: Introduce the theme of the talk and the points you are covering

  • Body: Present your points and provide supporting subpoints

  • Closing: Recap your points and end with the main thing you want the audience to remember


Use humor correctly

  • Only use humor when it fits your speech

  • Choose humor that is appropriate to your audience

  • Use humor to make your point

  • Draw upon personal experience

  • Deliver humor with confidence

  • Find your own humor


Select the correct visual aids and use them correctly

  • When to use them

    • As a roadmap for long presentations

    • To capture ideas the audience gives in a talk

    • For handouts and audience notetaking

    • For demonstrations

  • Considerations

    • Consider room and audience size

    • Design for visibility

    • Have backup aids ready


Using computer presentations

  • Always have backup equipment and software

  • Turn off screen savers and automatic timeouts

  • Download necessary Web pages to your local drive

  • Lower screen resolution (1024 x 768 or 800 x 600)

  • Develop scripts and practice

  • Check for spelling and grammatical errors


Using PowerPoint

  • Design for readability

    • High-contrast colors

    • Simple, non-distracting backgrounds

    • Large fonts

    • Ample white space

  • Highlight points as you present them

  • Avoid distracting noises and screen animations

  • Watch out for typos!


Developing a good stage presence

  • Eye contact

  • Appearance

  • Body language

  • Vocal clarity, projection, and variety

  • Pauses

  • Ahs, ums, and filler words


Table topics

  • Pick a number 1—12 to get your question

  • Answer the question directly

  • Organize your talk with an opening, body, and closing

  • Stay within time (at least one minute, no more than two and a half)

  • Have fun!


Recap

  • It’s OK to be nervous.

  • Know your audience

  • Organize your talk so that it is easy for you to deliver and the audience to follow

  • Use humor and visual aids only when they support your talk

  • Polish your delivery, but focus on giving quality content


Resources for further development

  • Toastmasters International: For a meeting near you: www.toastmasters.org

  • Nightingale Conant: For audio and video programs on public speaking: www.nightingaleconant.com

  • My Web page: For tips on public speaking, speeches, books, and links:www.matthewarnoldstern.com


Questions?


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