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Saturday, September 22, 2007

More on Technical Presenting

This is a follow-on to a previous post.

If you're doing a Technical Presentation, here are the most important things that you can establish or give to your audience.

  • Education: the audience is there to be taught about your subject
  • Communication: interactivity is the key to moving beyond the brochure into the "I can use this" moment
  • Understanding: How can your audience actually make use of your subject matter?

There is a maxim that I use, "You can't tell anyone anything." By way of definition, think about attempting to "tell" your kids what to do, e.g.: don't play in that mud. What will the child do?

Reminds me of the Bill Cosby Children are Brain Damaged skit, but that's a discussion for another day.

So, to communicate, it is necessary to remain factual, and when you want to convey subjective points, you need to be more subtle. Consider the story of Eve and the serpent:

Gen 3:1 (KJV) Now the serpent was more subtil(emphasis mine) than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?

Now of course, we know that the serpent was trying to deceive, but let's separate that from the fact that he was being subtle. Subtle is asking questions.

By asking questions, you can establish the baseline from which you are working-- where is your audience at?

By asking questions, you can lead the audience to understanding.

By asking questions, you can establish value.

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