The Institute - September 2019 - 16

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Simple, Effective
Public Speaking Tips
for Engineers
How to climb the career
ladder one talk at a time

that can help you climb
the career ladder faster than
the ability to speak well in
public. Senior management
is always seeking employees
who can clearly and effectively
communicate information,
ideas, and new concepts.
That's according to Harry
T. Roman, author of the
IEEE-USA e-book, Public
Speaking for Engineers. The
e-book costs US $4.99, but for
IEEE members it's $2.99.
Roman spent more than
30 years as a project manager for the R&D group of
Public Service Electric and
Gas Co. in Newark, N.J.
Senior management
has little time to interact directly with lowerlevel employees, he says,


SEP 2019



so when you are asked to
make a presentation to
your managers, you need
to do a good job.
Roman says he has seen
plenty of engineers' careers
get derailed because they
didn't speak well in public.
Being a good public
speaker also can raise
your visibility. Roman
says that because of his
communication skills, he
was asked to lead corporate
project teams, present his
work in front of PSE&G's
board of directors, lead VIPs
on tours of the company's
facilities, and represent the
organization at important
forums and meetings.
His book covers how
to master the basics of public speaking.


Start preparing your presentation by determining
the conclusions you want
the audience to leave with,
and then work backward.
Summarize the main points
concisely to help attendees
remember them. Roman
offers three simple rules:
Tell the audience what you
are going to speak about,
tell them the things you
came to say, and sum up by
telling them what you just
told them.

Each slide in your presentation should contain a
complete thought or concept that meshes with the
previous one. Have one or
two slides for each minute
of your allotted time. Be
sure to number the slides
to preserve the order, and
have an extra copy on hand,
just in case you encounter
technical problems.
To feel comfortable with
your talk, rehearse it several
times, Roman says. Speak
clearly with a strong voice.
Enunciate all your words.
Don't race through the
presentation, and be sure to
look at your audience, not
only at your slides or notes.
Do not read your slides to
the audience. The visuals
should act as a cue about
what you want to say.
At the end of the talk,
summarize the main points
concisely to help the audience remember them.
Encourage questions after
your talk. If you don't know
the answer, simply say so,
but then get the person's
contact information so you
can send the answer later.
"No audience wants to
see a speaker do poorly,
because they will have
wasted their time," Roman
says. "Good public speakers
are remembered, respected,
and often emulated."
This article originally appeared
online as "Simple, Effective Public
Speaking Tips for Engineers."



Make sure you do your
homework on the topic and
understand what you're
going to talk about. If it's a
subject you're already well
versed in, show the audience
that you're an expert. If the
topic is not exactly your area
of expertise, become better
informed by doing research
and talking with authorities
in the field.
Knowing your audience is
important: Are they senior
managers, representatives
from another organization,
or engineering students?
Your audience affects your
approach and how sophisticated your talk should be.
"Remember, you are there
to clearly and concisely communicate important information-not to show off and
use big words," Roman says.
"To the extent you can, draw
parallels to their interests,
professions, or experiences."

The Institute - September 2019

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