Monday, April 18, 2011

Public Speaking - Characteristics of a Good Technical Program

An effective technical program will meet the following criteria:

* It will provide information that is generally useful. People resent being in a session that squanders their valuable time by presenting information which is superficial, unnecessary, or can be easily obtained elsewhere. The resulting unfavorable word-of-mouth publicity will make it difficult for the program or the presenter to survive.

* It will provide specific, "how-to" information, rather than theoretical concepts. Training should be designed to effect measurable change that will improve a participant's productivity, ability, or practical skills, with a minimum expenditure of resources. It is not intended to replace or compete with a broad education generally provided by the regular curricula of colleges and universities in our society.

* It will enable participants to get all necessary information in the shortest possible time. Technical seminars and workshops appeal to those who want a thorough understanding of a subject in a short period of intensive learning.

* It will provide support materials to supplement the program. Materials should be designed to help a participant organize new information during the presentation, as well as access and review it easily afterward.

* It will provide an avenue for further learning. A good program will pave the way for future studies either through a participant's own research, using the starting points provided by you, or through the resources provided in your materials including any further information and bibliographic citations that you can provide.

* It will entertain as well as inform. Humor, judiciously used in the context of the topic being discussed, contributes to a lively and interesting presentation, and enhances the learning process.

* It will provide a "status report" to participants on a regular basis. Periodic summaries of topics covered will help people organize their new knowledge. Giving quick previews of upcoming subjects and using question-and-answer sessions will actively engage the participants in the learning process, instead of allowing them to slip into a "passive recipient" mode.

* It will provide an opportunity for the practice of learned skills. If a program is designed to teach participants new abilities, opportunities should be built into the agenda for them to practically apply those skills.

* It will provide for participant comfort. Regularly scheduled breaks will go a long way to alleviate restlessness or boredom in your audience. Changes in training technique like moving from lecture to exercise to audio-visual presentation to discussion sessions, etc., will serve to keep participants interested and assist them in learning, due to the fact that different people are more receptive to different modes of learning.

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