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A Guide to Writing as an Engineer, 4th Edition by David A. McMurrey, David F. Beer

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9

ENGINEERING YOUR SPEAKING

The podium or lectern can be a lonely and intimidating place. … Despite the fact that they can help make or break a person's career, oral presentations often turn out to be boring, confusing, unconvincing, or too long. Many are delivered ineptly, with the presenter losing her or his place, fumbling through notes, apologizing for forgetting something, or generally seeming disorganized and unprofessional.

John Lannon and Laura Gurak, Technical Communication, 12th ed. (New York: Pearson Longman, 2010).

I was gratified to be able to answer promptly, and I did. I said I didn't know.

Mark Twain, 1835–1910.

Engineers are often called on to speak formally, and many engineers find they have to speak a lot. Whether you give an impromptu 5-minute briefing or a professional 1-hour presentation at a technical seminar (or something in between), you should see your talk as a great opportunity to share information and to show that you know how to communicate. Few of us are naturally gifted with such capabilities, and some of us are almost petrified at the thought of talking before a group, but the skills possessed by good speakers can be learned. The principles discussed in this chapter will enable you to become a confident speaker people will listen to, because you transfer information efficiently and effectively—that is, with a minimum of noise.

PREPARING THE PRESENTATION

Portable sign-language translator

A group of engineering-technology and industrial-design students ...

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