Wednesday, August 17, 2011

ACM: Technical Presentation

Cover of the "Technical Presentation" advanced manual
Presenting technical information in a way that doesn't bore the audience is challenging. Learn how to prepare technical briefings, design and present a proposal, talk about a technical subject to a nontechnical audience, present a technical paper and enhance a technical talk with the internet.

Project #1: The Technical Briefing
Executive Summary:
Briefings are speeches to inform. To make your briefing effective: Match your use of technical material to the knowledge level of your audience. What do you want your audience to know or be able to do after your briefing? Focus your presentation by stating its purpose in a single sentence. Select supporting material to match your objective, main message and the audience’s needs.

  • Using a systematic approach, organize technical material into a concise presentation.
  • Tailor the presentation to the audience’s needs, interests and knowledge levels.
  • TIME : 8 to10 minutes
Note to the Evaluator:
In this presentation, the speaker is asked to deliver an informative briefing containing technical material. This material should be tailored to the needs, interests and knowledge levels of the audience, and should be presented clearly and logically. All aspects of the speech should support a single main message. It is suggested you read the entire project before the speech.

Project #2: The Proposal
Executive Summary:
Your proposal must stimulate action or acceptance of an idea. Follow four steps; Determine your purpose, analyze your audience to determine its needs, state your main message and support it, and finally urge the audience to take action. Translate features into audience benefits. Use the inverted pyramid format. Be sure your visual aids support your objective and main message. Plan to deal with audience questions effectively.

  • To prepare a technical presentation advocating a product, service, idea or course of action.
  • To present your viewpoint logically and convincingly, using an inverted-pyramid approach.
  • To effectively use a Microsoft PowerPoint with a laptop computer to illustrate your message.
  • To effectively handle a question-and-answer period.
  • TIME : 8 to 10 minutes for speech; 3 to 5 minutes for question period.
Note to the Evaluator:
This project calls for a technical presentation that advocates a product, service, idea or course of action. The speaker has been asked to use an “inverted-pyramid” approach, putting his/her viewpoint at the beginning, then supporting it logically and convincingly. The speaker was also expected to conduct a question-and answer period at the conclusion of the proposal. Visual aids (of the speaker’s choice) are recommended. It is suggested you read the entire project before hearing the speech

Project #3: The Nontechnical Audience
Executive Summary:
To interpret the world of high technology for an audience that lacks technical training, you must first capture their interest and prove that the material is significant to them. Build their understanding by making your tech talk simple and clear. Develop rapport, credibility and trust to gain their acceptance. Make it memorable and stimulate the audience to action.

  • Understand the principles of communicating complex information to nontechnical listeners.
  • Build and deliver an interesting talk based on these principles.
  • Answer audience questions that arise during the presentation.
  • Use a Microsoft PowerPoint slideshow to illustrate your message
  • TIME : 10 to12 minutes
Note to the Evaluator:
For this project the speaker is asked to deliver an interesting speech, in which complex information is conveyed to a non-technical audience. The speaker should entertain audience questions as they arise during the presentation, and use overhead transparencies as visual aids. It is suggested you read the entire project before hearing the speech.

Project #4: Presenting a Technical Paper
Executive Summary:
You have been invited to present a technical paper to colleagues at an association conference. Role play an author’s presentation with a borrowed technical report or a paper you have written. Give your verbal report, sharing ideas, experiences and findings in a format used by leading technical associations. Make your presentation interesting, well-organized and informative. Do not read your paper aloud. Keep your tech talk clear, logical and objective.

  • Deliver an interesting speech based on a technical paper or article.
  • Effectively use a Microsoft PowerPoint slideshow to illustrate your theme.
  • Provide additional information, such as answers to questions, using a flipchart.
  • TIME : 10 to12 minutes
Note to the Evaluator:
For this project, the speaker was asked to present a technical paper or article. This tech talk should be presented as though the speaker were the author or a member of the research team. The opening should contain a clear description of the problem or process being discussed. It should also humanize the data, though use of an anecdote or some historical information regarding the research. The body should highlight only a few major points from the paper, possibly describing any real-world impact of the accumulated data. The conclusion should contain a short summary of the paper’s conclusion, recommendations, and perhaps draw the listeners back to the anecdote of the original problem discussed in the opening. The speaker should use a conversational speaking style and has been asked to illustrate his/her message using a PowerPoint slideshow and possibly a flipchart. It is suggested you read this entire project before hearing the speech.

Project #5: Enhancing a Technical Talk with the Internet
Executive Summary:
Add the computer and Internet to your teaching toolkit by supplementing you tech talk with electronic communications before and after the meeting. Make maximum use of high-tech teaching so your audience can achieve maximum learning. Use e-mail, blogging, blogging, Web sites and other high-tech marvels to bring your tech talk into the 21st century.

  • Understand the nature and process of a technical presentation supported with professional-level visual aids*
  • Arrange pre-meeting communications via e-mail.
  • Find or create a post-meeting Web site for further dissemination of information support or enhancing your verbal presentation. You may create a Web page and add it to your club’s Web site, making use of podcasting, webcasting or a basic Internet template.
  • Use a desktop computer, Microsoft Word, a Web browser, a simple graphics program for photos and other images, Microsoft PowerPoint as well as the venerable flip-chart to support your presentation
  • Time: 12 to 15 minutes
* Arrangements for this presentation should be made with your club’s vice president education well in advance, taking into consideration the requirements for high-tech visual aids. Also, you should arrange to have printouts of your pre- and post- communications for your evaluator to see at the lecture. Time mentioned does not include these other forms of sharing information.

Note to the Evaluator:
In this project, the speaker expands on his presentation using modern resources to communicate before and after the actual speech. Prior to the talk, the speaker should contact all planned attendees with an e-mail that includes some pertinent information such as an agenda for the speech. During the speech, the speaker should follow the agenda sent out previously or else explain any deviation from the original plan. The speaker should also refer to the attendees to Web sites which will offer further information and explanation of the topic. The speaker may follow-up with the audience after the talk via e-mail or a group blog. All forms of communication should be smoothly planned and executed. It is suggested you read the entire project, including samples of the pre- and (planned) post –communications, before the presentation.

For more information:
Item 226H

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