Re[2]: Presentations (long post -- but no Mom or PC)

Subject: Re[2]: Presentations (long post -- but no Mom or PC)
From: doug montalbano <doug_montalbano -at- CC -dot- CHIRON -dot- COM>
Date: Tue, 22 Nov 1994 17:12:59 PST

Rose Wilcox posted, on 11/21/94, in reply to Nancy S. Burns:

<snip> It is fun doing this presentation because everyone loves
Windows help here. It also increases the visibility of the
technical writing team (which in my experience is rare!)
I hope to find more ways in future contracts to present the
technical writing team's work to the above groups. <end quote>

I work for a biopharmaceutical company. We are regulated by the
Food and Drug Administration; one of the FDA requirements is that
written procedures exist and that they be followed as written.

In the past 2 years the company has grown enormously and has
several plants and offices throughout the U.S. and the world. For
company-wide procedures, it becomes critical (from a compliance
standpoint) that all groups be able to understand and follow the
procedures as written. (And they must be written, because we need

All this background is by way of introducing the opportunity. As a
writer in the main document control group, I actively participated
in an ongoing set of meetings to work out the issues of
communications (procedures, revisions of procedures, feedback),
publication (review before validating, availability), and
coordinating document changes.

I did a brief (and I worked to make it as brief as possible)
presentation on the minimal requirements of this type of
communication, based on what I thought the FDA might require.
I used two overheads, which I spend hours organizing and
reorganizing in order to convey a lot of information quickly.
I made copies of the overheads so that everyone present could carry
away the data and, more importantly, the data STRUCTURE. (The
handouts also had my name, dept. and phone number on them.)

Several people, including the head of the MIS dept., praised the
presentation (although they may have been mostly relieved at its
brevity). As Rose points out, it gives your department visibility;
people know that you exist, that you care about this stuff, that
you work at it, and how to reach you.

As for how to give presentations. ... I'm a shy guy. I grew up
hard of hearing (and I'm still extremely so), this means socially I
was a fish out of water. I mention this only as a way of
presenting credentials, I guess, when I say just about anyone can
do it. What helped me was practice.

I taught sign language to adults for a couple of years, and you
can't communicate in sign without looking at other people in the
eye, and having them do the same to you (it's rude, in fact, to
look away). So my task was to teach adults --self-conscious,
not-wanting-to-look-foolish, not-wanting-to-look-inept,
not-wanting-to-look-stupid adults -- how to loosen up and enjoy
communicating under the gaze of others. My approach was to stop
being a shy guy and make a bigger fool of myself -- on purpose --
than they could ever make of themselves. They saw that I was doing
this for them, and they opened up accordingly. Almost every one of
my students could comfortably sign in front of others, and talk in
a relaxed manner.

Trust yourself. Trust others. If you can do that while giving a
presentation, you will stay calm and people will pay attention to
you. You might also consider taking a class in American Sign
Language ... ;->

I aplogize for the length. I hope it has been germane.

doug_montalbano -at- cc -dot- chiron -dot- com

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