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Communicating Outside Your Field

Posted May 11, 2011 8:36 PM

It's the season for professional conferences and budget reviews, when good public speaking about one's work can yield significant benefits. Speaking simply about one's technical work can be difficult, but it is also often necessary. Most of us have suffered through astonishingly bad talks. If you provide too much detail to an audience their eyes glaze over, but provide too little and you run the risk of "dumbing down" the topic until it is useless. Do you adjust the level of discourse to your audience? How? Do you just avoid talking about work when possible? Do technical programs even teach students these skills?

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Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Kansas, USA
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Good Answers: 51
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Re: Communicating Outside Your Field

05/13/2011 10:39 AM

Whatever is communicated has to meet the needs of the group so you definitely match the content to the audience. A speaker won't ever connect with everyone due to learning styles, personality types, varying levels of competancy in the field being talked about (details given; amount and technicality).

It is incumbent upon the speaker to provide information in a way that is the most interesting way possible, i.e. rate of speech, variance in tone/inflection, words used, illustrations, etc. It is the speakers job to relate to the audience, not vice versa. If the audiences "eyes glaze over", the speaker and his effectiveness is done. He will have to go to great lengths to recapture their attention.

The type of information and it's format will be determined by the purpose of the time of communication.

A great book for this is by Andy Stanley titled "Communicating for a Change". Reading the how-to's of public speaking is good but it is probably more important to immerse yourself in listening to great speakers in person and by audios. You'll learn by example and, who knows, you might even gain some great information in the process.

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