By Mary Burns
Orlando Central Florida Chapter STC
If you missed last meeting….
George Jessel said, “The human brain starts working the moment you are born and never stops until you stand up to speak in public.”
Rhyne Armstrong’s presentation “Does Your Audience Hate You?” not only entertained the 34 attendees of this year’s joint FTC/STC meeting at UCF. It also gave them strategies for avoiding both brain freeze and boorishness in a form of communication that is often neglected by technical communicators.
Just a few of the many takeaways in this presentation:
- It’s not how well you speak. It’s the preparation and passion behind your presentation. Limit yourself to a few main ideas. Tell a story with your presentation, or begin with one. Get inspiration from someone whose style you like. Practice, practice again, and test your props.
- Be essential to your talk. Don’t design PowerPoint slides as handouts or speaker notes that you read from—text says “I’m teaching you something” rather than seeding ideas. Rather, choose fonts, colors, and pictures that enhance your words. (Rhyne illustrated the point “Stay calm” with a photo of a manic dachshund.) For a software demo, the software is the visual. Talk about it as you walk through a task.
- Use your “tricks” to connect with and further engage your audience. Rhyne demonstrated this point by complimenting UCF on its successful football season and handing out giveaways to people who participated in the Q&A session.
In addition, Rhyne covered nuts-and-bolts topics such as researching graphic usage rights.
This informative presentation showed that with practice and preparation, an activity that many people dread can be an effective tool for the technical communicator and a pleasure for both presenter and audience.