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Technically Speaking:

A Guide for Communicating Complex Information


Would you like to manage your fears and anxieties? Increase confidence? Improve audience attention and retention, even for complex technical and scientific subjects? Would you like to know how to integrate more humor and stories? Technically Speaking contains dozens of suggestions and tips that will help you design and deliver more effective presentations. Discover techniques for streamlining your preparation process, exercises to develop an expressive voice, and a chapter with tips from the best communicators in science, technology, and engineering.


Clients report they return again and again to this valuable resource for suggestions on criteria for audiovisual materials, a discussion of electronic presentations, considerations when communicating to international audiences, and detailed guidelines for analyzing audiences.


To Purchase:

Technically Speaking:

A Guide for
Communicating Complex Information




$15.00 plus $5.00 shipping + ($2.64 WA tax)


Please send shipping instructions along with
your check or money order to:

Jan D'Arcy & Associates
330 2nd Ave South #12
Kirkland, WA 98033


Email: jan@jdarcy.com for immediate shipping.


 



Chapter 2 - Communicating Complex Information


The information explosion does not necessarily mean there has been a knowledge explosion. We are data rich and understanding poor. Your audience needs to understand your ideas before they can accept them. This chapter encourages you to look at the complex data you are presenting and find ways to tame, tailor, and illuminate that information so you are transmitting useful knowledge that will be accepted by your audience.


The mind is only capable of absorbing so much information before it shuts down. Audiences also become anesthetized when verbally and visually overloaded. A confused mind will say, "No!" The presenter who extracts only the essential information from the vast amounts of available complex data and communicates this in an understandable and useful way will elicit applause as well as sighs of relief from the audience.


The most difficult presentations to prepare are those to audiences who have varying levels of knowledge. Begin your presentation by covering some basic information and terms for the people in your audience who have little knowledge of your subject. Periodically mention in-depth points that will keep the interest of the more knowledgeable members of the audience. Always give definitions of technical terms and explain acronyms. If it is necessary to describe a complex concept, give examples that include reference points familiar to everyone. Reiterate your main points in simple terms as you go along. End your speech by summarizing your message in general terms so that your entire audience can reach the same conclusion that you do.


Choose images that are familiar to your audience. A scientist from Dupont said, "Spider silk is the toughest material known. It is also very elastic. On an equal weight basis, it is stronger than steel. It has been suggested that a single strand of spider silk, thick as a pencil, could stop a 747 in flight." Illustrate the application of a theory or demonstrate your conclusion with words that engage the senses of touch, sight, smell, or taste.


Avoid "fat" words or abstract words. Quality, change, and productivity are fat words. For example, if you say CADD (computer-aided drafting and design) is a high-quality software program, are you saying that it is faster (how fast?), is more interactive, or has more pixels per inch? An audience that doesn't understand the data you are presenting will remember little. Nor will they be persuaded to buy your product, fund your research, accept your bid, or be influenced by your ideas. Use distinctive language that does not obscure meaning. Understanding is a prerequisite to acceptance. Take responsibility for the audience's ability to understand your topic.



 

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"Technical types have two choices: Read this book or lose your audience. Yes, this is an intelligence test."

Guy Kawasaki, CEO Garage.com



"If any book can help you become a better presenter, Technically Speaking probably will. What distinguishes D'Arcy's book from others, mainly, is its readability. She models the behaviors she suggests by organizing her material well, by speaking from her own experience in an informative but non-patronizing way, and by including many illustrative anecdotes."

Charles P. Campbell, PhD
New Mexico Institute of Mining & Technology



"For anyone puzzling about how to communicate complex or technical information, this book is an extraordinarily useful tool."

William D. Ruckleshaus CEO,
Madrona Venture Group



"If any book can help you become a better presenter, Technically Speaking probably will. What distinguishes D'Arcy's book from others, mainly, is its readability. She models the behaviors she suggests by organizing her material well, by speaking from her own experience in an informative but non-patronizing way, and by including many illustrative anecdotes."

Charles P. Campbell, PhD
New Mexico Institute of Mining & Technology



"Jan D'Arcy's approach is results-oriented. We used presentation techniques outlined in this book to help us win a multi-million dollar contract."

Vivianne Larkin,
VP Environmental Services
URS Greiner



"Jan has worked 26 years as a communications specialist and professional actress, a synergistic mind-meld that is a constant winner. Read this book. Try out a few gems and be surprised by the reaction. It's a solid investment in your future."

Frank Ogden,
Dr. Tomorrow



"The text of Technically Speaking is a practical and basic guide in assisting technical professionals to communicate effectively. This text covers most, if not all, the issues faced by presenters and shows how to overcome the common barriers to effective presentation. This text has been used at 3M for teaching a course on effective technical presentations."

William E. Coyne, PhD Sr. VP
3M Research and Development



"Chapter Eleven is pure gold."

Patrick D. Moneymaker,
Rear Admiral, US Navy



"Jan D'Arcy's Technically Speaking gives scientists and engineers a clear, structured framework for designing and delivering successful presentations. Readers will especially welcome the author's discussion of fear and how to make it work for you: her no-nonsense tone and practical tips will go a long way toward dissipating the speaker's anxiety that plagues so many of us."

Judith Ramey, PhD, Chair,
Dept of Technical Communication
College of Engineering,
Univ. of Washington

Copyright © 2013 Jan D'Arcy and Associates. All Rights Reserved.

Jan D'Arcy & Associates
330 2nd Ave South #12 Kirkland, WA 98033     |    (206)-683-2982
   |   jan@jdarcy.com