As a person working in a technical field, you most likely have to give talks or presentations to different audiences, some of whom will be non-experts or decision makers outside your sphere of expertise. In this course, you will look at your own current practices for giving talks as a technical expert and establish a set of action items for improvement. You will look closely at your old habits and establish new ways to design, build, and deliver effective in-person and virtual presentations for an array of internal and external audiences. You will also examine, reevaluate, and apply best practices for engineering, technical, and scientific presentations, and explore current and past presentation practices that do not achieve the intended goals and results. This examination will help you refine your ability to deliver an effective message.
Specifically, you will perform an assessment of presentation techniques, both personal and at your workplace. From that starting point, you can reengineer your presentations to meet specific technical communication needs. Most importantly, you will have an opportunity to discover and articulate your organization's presentation culture, identify areas for improvement in your own slide design and presentation skills, set goals for leveraging effective new presentation habits, and formulate a detailed action plan for improvement. Throughout this course, you will read various selections from Dr. Traci Nathans-Kelly's book “Slide Rules,” which contains helpful insights and examples that you can apply in your own presentations.
Furthermore, you will prepare for a specific work-related talk and define the needs of co-presenters, audience members, subject matter experts, and other stakeholders.
Key Course Takeaways
Articulate the shortcomings and strengths in your presentations
Formulate a plan for improvement
Prepare for a specific work-related talk, identifying and documenting the needs of your audience, SMEs, other stakeholders, and co-presenters when there is more than one speaker
Senior Lecturer and Co-Director, Engineering Communications Program, Cornell Engineering
Traci Nathans-Kelly currently teaches for Cornell University’s College of Engineering, with deep experience in online modalities for higher education. She has a particular interest in social justice and techquity issues. Dr. Nathans-Kelly interacts daily to help engineers and pre-professional engineers hone their technical messaging, whether it be via presentations, on paper, in meetings and teams, or through online channels.
Dr. Nathans-Kelly has worked with practicing professional engineers, technical experts, scientists, and related field experts for over 20 years, helping them to strengthen their abilities to become impactful contributors in their organizations. She is very active in IEEE, co-authoring the “English for Technical Professionals” online course, and works with the IEEE Continuing Education Committee, the Educational Activities Committee, and the IEEE Teaching Excellence Editorial Board.