IEEE-USA InFocus

IEEE-USA E-Book Series Helps Engineers Create Effective Technical Presentations

By Sharon Richardson

Technical Presentations –  Book 1: Strategy –  Preparation & Planning, is the first in a four-part series that will help readers to prepare, write and effectively deliver technical presentations. Nita K. Patel, author of Technical Presentations, is a practicing systems/software engineer, an active IEEE volunteer member, and a Distinguished Toastmaster.

In Book 1, Patel shares her expertise in delivering technical presentations. The book is loaded with strategizing, preparing and planning examples to follow.

Patel writes that “a technical expert must know and understand technical facts, but to ensure that others interpret that complex data in the same way, the facts must be presented through clear, concise and correct speech”¦ If your audience does not understand, they will not accept your idea.”

The technique to preparing the technical presentation involves what Patel calls the 3Ws and an H:  Who, When, Where, What, Why and How. For instance, you must know your audience — are they technical, non-technical, executives, or high-school students? How many are there? Why are they there? What do they expect to learn from you? What kind of presentation is it — a briefing, training, keynote address, or a tribute? All of these topics, and more, are addressed in this thirty-one page e-book. It also includes a sample audience analysis questionnaire that professional speakers use.

The second e-book in the series, Structure – Anatomy of a Successful Presentation, helps the presenter to write informative, educational and persuasive presentations.  From the opening to the conclusion, Patel helps presenters to organize their presentations. Some of the topics included in Book 2 are: personal introductions ” set the stage for success; captivating openings; interesting bodies; and compelling conclusions. Patel has also included a personal introductions do’s and don’ts list, basic grammar checklist, and other materials that will be helpful in structuring a presentation.

Style – Dynamic Delivery Techniques, Book 3 in the series, takes the presenter to the stage. Patel quotes Albert Mehrabain’s, (Professor Emeritus of Psychology and researcher of verbal and non-verbal communication), “7-38-56 Rule,” stating that any face-to-face communication contains three elements: words, tone of voice and nonverbal behavior (e.g. gestures and facial expressions).

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“It is critical to match your words with supporting tone of voice and body language, because these elements comprise as much as 93 percent in conveying your message,” Patel writes.

Topics in this e-book include: anxiety; vocal variety; pause, eye contact, body language; intangibles; Q&Amp;A; and practice.

And last but not least: Once you have planned and prepared the presentation; structured an informative, educational or persuasive presentation; and delivered the presentation in a clear, concise and engaging manner, the conclusion is Book 4: Supplement – Effective Visual Aides.

Patel quotes John Medina, a developmental molecular biologist and author of Brain Rule, who wrote that we receive 83 percent of our information through sight, 11 percent from sound, and less than six percent through our other senses. Therefore, to keep your presentation on target, you must use visual aids.

Topics included in Book 4 are: value of visual aids; types of visual aids; PowerPoint slides; use of visual aids; and pros/cons of visual aids.

The Technical Presentations Series: Books 1 – 4 can be downloaded at https://ieeeusa.org/shop/ for the IEEE Member price: $9.95 per book. Non-member price is $19.95 per book.

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Ideas for New E-Books

IEEE-USA E-Books invites IEEE members and volunteers to submit queries for e-books they may want to write. If you’ve got an idea for an e-book that will educate other IEEE members on career guidance and development topics for engineers, e-mail your ideas to IEEE-USA Publishing Manager Georgia Stelluto at g.stelluto@ieee.org.


Sharon C. Richardson is IEEE-USA’s Communications Coordinator and Editorial Assistant for IEEE-USA in ACTION.

Guest Contributor

IEEE-USA is an organizational unit of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Inc. (IEEE), created in 1973 to support the career and public policy interests of IEEE’s U.S. members. IEEE-USA is primarily supported by an annual assessment paid by U.S. IEEE Members.

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