A directory of resources inthe field of technical communication.


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Anxiety and Public Speaking: What You Ought to Know

You think that you sound terrible but people who don’t know you don’t know that that’s not your normal voice. People who know you well may be able to perceive a slight difference. This is not to say that an audience doesn’t perceive anxiety at all – just that what they perceive is at a much lesser scale than you. The best way to convince yourself of this is to video yourself and then watch yourself.

Mitchell, Olivia. Speaking About Presenting (2010). Articles>Presentations>Rhetoric


Assessing Visualizations in Public Science Presentations   (PDF)

Natural resource agencies and other technical and scientific organizations face an immense challenge of when communicating complex technical information to diverse publics. The laptop computer, presentation software, and projection unit have emerged as one of the primary presentation tools in many technical and scientific fields. Advances in software functions enable presenters to capitalize on a wide range of multimedia functions thought to make presentations more appealing, interesting, and effective. Our presentation reports on a specific research project and then provides guidance for enhancing their presentations.

Zimmerman, Donald E., Carol A. Akerelrea, Jane Kapler Smith and Garrett O'Keefe. STC Proceedings (2003). Articles>Presentations>Visual Rhetoric


Beetle Bailey and Presentation Skills

An audience, whether it is one person or many, wants speakers to provide maximum relevant information, delivered in minimum time and in the clearest possible terms, centered on the needs and concerns of the audience.

Tracy, Larry. Klariti (2005). Articles>Presentations>Rhetoric


Cultural Differences in the Appreciation of Introductions of Presentations   (peer-reviewed)   (members only)

On the basis of both established theories of the differences between cultures and recommendations in advice literature from different cultures, we believe that it is likely that cultures will differ in what they consider to be an effective introduction to a presentation. In this article, we report on an exploratory experimental study with 300 respondents in the Netherlands, France, and Senegal regarding their appreciation of and response to three introductions to a presentation about a mobile phone. The results show that the cultures differ with respect to the introduction they prefer. The Dutch respondents appreciated the overview most, while the French respondents preferred the ethical appeal, and research participants from Senegal preferred the anecdote. It is likely that the introduction that gains greatest attention and that best increases the ability to listen in a culture will be most appreciated in that culture.

Gerritsen, Marinel and Evelyn Wannet. Technical Communication Online (2005). Articles>Presentations>Cultural Theory>Rhetoric


Do You Sound Like a CEO Behind a Microphone?

"You have two options when you walk into a room," says public speaking expert Richard Levick about the art of giving speeches. Most entrepreneurs find speech making to be either terrifying or a waste of time. Too many CEOs see dealing with the media or making presentations as an interruption, but it's as essential to doing business as customers. If you can't deliver energetic and commanding speeches, or polished and articulate interviews, then you're short-circuiting your company's future. It's time to do something about it.

Krotz, Joanna L. Communication World Bulletin (2003). Articles>Presentations>Management>Rhetoric


Effective Presentations

An essential aspect of any research project is dissemination of the findings arising from the study. The most common ways to make others aware of your work is by publishing the results in a journal article, or by giving an oral or poster presentation (often at a regional or national meeting). While efforts are made to teach the elements of writing a journal article in many graduate school curricula, much less attention is paid to teaching those skills necessary to develop a good oral or poster presentation - even though these arguably are the most common and most rapid ways to disseminate new findings. In addition, the skills needed to prepare an oral presentation can be used in a variety of other settings - such as preparing a seminar in graduate school, organizing a dissertaton defense, conducting a job interview seminar, or even addressing potential philanthropic sources!

Radel, Jeff. University of Kansas. Articles>Presentations>Rhetoric>Scientific Communication


Eight Key Points for Perfect Presentation Practice

Knowing a subject doesn’t guarantee success. The ability to articulate the message and connect with audience members is what counts – and perfect practice can make this happen.

Brody, Marjorie. Six Minutes (2010). Articles>Presentations>Rhetoric


Eleven Ways to Use Images Poorly in Slides

As digital cameras have become ubiquitous, and cheap (or free) photo websites plentiful, more people than ever are using images in presentations. Images are not appropriate for every kind of talk, but even when images are appropriate (such as keynote/ballroom style presentations), people are still making the same common mistakes. So here are some things to keep in mind if you use images in your next talk.

Reynolds, Garr. Presentation Zen (2009). Articles>Presentations>Graphic Design>Visual Rhetoric


Ethos, Pathos, Logos: 3 Pillars of Public Speaking

In this article, you’ll learn what ethos, pathos, and logos are (the secret!), and what every speaker needs to understand about these three pillars of public speaking.

Dlugan, Andrew. Six Minutes (2010). Articles>Presentations>Rhetoric


Exploiting Verbal-Visual Synergy in Presentation Slides   (peer-reviewed)   (members only)

Describes the most challenging aspect of creating slides for an oral presentation. Presents two principles for creating informative and persuasive graphics. Explains how to use drawing tools to communicate the schema of the slide and to emphasize important portions of the images.

Markel, Mike. Technical Communication Online (2009). Articles>Presentations>Writing>Rhetoric


Five Tips for First-Time or Nervous Presenters

When you’re giving a presentation, the last thing you want is to convey a sense of anxiousness or nervousness. It’s no secret that speakers who don’t appear calm, cool, and collected don’t gain the complete confidence of their audience. As a result, they lose much-needed credibility and authority with their attendees. But, keeping it together isn’t always so easy – particularly for first-time presenters, or people who are just nervous by nature. What are some of the best ways to keep your anxiety in check – or at the very least, to hide it from your audience?

SlideRocket (2010). Articles>Presentations>Advice>Rhetoric


For A More Powerful Performance, Say It Short And Well

Centuries ago great orators often spoke for several hours at a time. But today, when sound bites on television news are the status quo and complex sociological problems are solved in an hour on a television drama, audiences are most interested in speakers who get their points across in a short period of time. Today, great speakers are noted for their brevity.

Boyd, Stephen D. Presentations (2003). Articles>Presentations>Rhetoric


Give Participants Something to Flip Over

Let me start off by saying that I do NOT like toys or other distractions in training. I’m NOT one to provide little widgets to keep participants’ hands occupied or provide cutesy pens or such trinkets. I’ve always viewed them as distractions that shouldn’t be necessary if your training is engaging and relevant.

Traut, Terence R. Presenters University. Articles>Presentations>Rhetoric>Microsoft PowerPoint


Good Design in PowerPoint

Effective PowerPoint design can be an invaluable tool for delivering your team’s message. When teams know their design options and adhere to a few simple guidelines, they can capitalize on the possibilities for communicating complex ideas in a clear, accessible, and memorable format.

conneXions (2008). Articles>Presentations>Usability>Visual Rhetoric


A Good Speech is Like a Good Relationship: 20 Tips for Presentation Success!

Contrary to what many people think, a speech is not a performance. Rather, it's a relationship -- ideally a meaningful one -- that you create with a group of people. Like any good relationship, a speech requires caring, trust, openness, accessibility, and two-way communication.

Burton Nelson, Mariah. Expert Magazine (2002). Articles>Presentations>Rhetoric


How PowerPoint is Killing Critical Thought

Bored students is the least of it – the bullet point-ization of information is making us stupid and irresponsible.

Smith, Andrew. Guardian, The (2015). Articles>Presentations>Rhetoric>Microsoft PowerPoint


How to Break Your Public Speaking PowerPoint Addiction

Each time I sign up a CIO speaker, I hopefully suggest the option of going slide-free. From the reaction I get, you'd think I suggested walking on stage pants-free.

Johnson, Maryfran. CIO Magazine (2009). Articles>Presentations>Rhetoric


How to Make your Point with Sound Bites And Quotable Statements

Whether you are making a business presentation or communicating with the media, your most important objective should be to make your point clear and memorable. The following are three simple and effective techniques to make your point clear and create sound bites and quotable statements.

Whatley, Randall P. Cypress Media Group (2007). Articles>Presentations>Rhetoric


How to Recover from a Presentation Disaster

Getting no feedback from your audience is hard. There are two parts to recovering from an experience like this. The first is to examine your thinking around the ‘disaster’. The second is to take active steps to recover from it.

Mitchell, Olivia. Speaking About Presenting (2010). Articles>Presentations>Rhetoric


Learning to Love PowerPoint

I began to see PowerPoint as a metaprogram, one that organizes and presents stuff created in other applications. Initially, I made presentations about presentations; they were almost completely without content. The content, I learned, was in the medium itself. I discovered that I could attach my photographs, short videos, scanned images, and music. What's more, the application can be made to run by itself -no one even needs to be at the podium. How fantastic!

Byrne, David. Wired (2003). Articles>Presentations>Rhetoric>Microsoft PowerPoint


Making Logical Technical Arguments

This PowerPoint file of 25 slides presents a thorough overview of the essentials of technical argument.

conneXions (2008). Articles>Presentations>Rhetoric>Technical Writing


New Research Shows That Speaking Can Enhance Your Career

People perceive someone who speaks up as a competent leader - regardless of whether they actually are competent. That’s the finding of a fascinating research study that has just been reported online at Time.

Mitchell, Olivia. Speaking About Presenting (2009). Articles>Presentations>Rhetoric


Picture Perfect: Selecting Graphics for Instruction   (PDF)

Discusses some principles for choosing appropriate graphics for instructional materials.

Lyons, Chopeta C. Intercom (1995). Articles>Education>Presentations>Visual Rhetoric


Picture Power vs. Word Power: A Crash Course in Presentation Visuals   (PDF)

One of the biggest complaints about presentations that has been voiced far too frequently is 'The visuals were terrible.' This demonstration will show presenters that if they have visuals at all then they should be good visuals. It is as easy to make good visuals as it is to make poor ones.

Rhodes-Marriott, A. STC Proceedings (1995). Articles>Presentations>Visual Rhetoric


PowerPoint Presentations: A Speaker's Guide   (PDF)

Vinton Cerf, one of the founders of the Internet, reportedly parodied the well-known quote about the cost of attaining power, observing that if power corrupts, 'PowerPointcorrupts absolutely.' Pointed though Cerf’s statement is, it places far too much blame on the software. After all, speakers must take some responsibility for their presentations. As in any other form of communication, you must decide what you’re going to say and how you plan to say it. But once that’s done, you need to use all the skills at your disposal to make the chosen medium work for you.

Hart, Geoffrey J.S. Intercom (2004). Articles>Presentations>Rhetoric>Microsoft PowerPoint



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