Technical Communication Skills by q3f0yOUB

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									Technical Communication Skills
  1. Book Reviews

  2. Meetings and How to Survive Them

          Blay Whitby 2005
         blayw@sussex.ac.uk
        Book Reviews
   A Basic Technical Communication Skill
       Fairly Common in Academia
       Quite Common in Industry




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  Book Reviews

     Familiar Principles apply:
            You are helping someone else
            Know your Target Audience
            Samples?




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        Book Reviews
   Approach with questions already prepared:
       Is it worth buying?
       Do we need a copy in the library?
       Is it better/as good/worse than other books in
        the area?




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  Book Reviews
     Questions already prepared:
            Who needs to buy this book?
            Who needs to read this book?
            Who will be able to understand this book?
            If you are given guidelines – use them




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        Book Reviews
   These, in turn, lead to more specific questions:
       Does it cover enough subject matter?
       Does it cover the subject matter in sufficient depth?
       How deep?; how dense?
       Is the style suitable for likely readers?
       If so, who are they?




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        Book Reviews
   specific questions:
       Does the index work adequately?
       How useful are contents, page layout etc?
       What is the market?
       Will the publisher make money?
       Be honest.



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  Meetings
     Meetings, ....! Meetings
     Meetings can and do waste an awful lot
      of time
     So why do we bother with them?




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  Meetings
     Functions of Meetings. Meetings can:
            Define the group
            Revise or increase group knowledge
            Let individuals know group aims
            Create a commitment to group aims
            Allow a leader to lead a team
            Provide a status arena


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  Meetings
     There are many types of meetings:
     By Size:
            Public lecture - 1:100 approx.
            Council meeting - 1:40 approx.
            Committee - 1:10 approx.
            Review – 1:1 approx



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  Meetings
     Types of meetings:
     By frequency:
            Daily
            Weekly
            Annual
            Ad hoc



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  Meetings
     By motivation:
            Shared – e.g., football team
            Confrontational – e.g., court
            Mixed - management




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  Meetings
     As with reading, writing, etc., the time
      spent in meetings may be much
      reduced by being clear in advance
      about objectives and processes.




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  Meetings
     So:
            What is the meeting intended to achieve?
            What would happen if we did not hold it?
            How will I judge whether this has been a
             success or a failure?




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  Meetings
     Answers tend to fall under 1+ of 4
      headings:
            Informative/digestive – could it be done in
             some other way?
            Constructive/originative – brainstorming
            Executive – shall we do it?
            Legislative – what are the rules?


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  Meetings
     Preparation saves time:
            People – many meetings are overloaded,
             4 –7 ideal,10 tolerable.
            Chairperson – essential
            Agenda – vital – few can use one
             properly. Needs to be circulated in
             advance. Items: for information/for
             decision

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  Meetings
     Timing
            Early part of the meeting is lively
            People waste time on trivia
            People are tired after 2 hours
            It is essential to have a fixed end time




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  Meetings
     How to Chair Meetings
     There are as many ways as
      chairpersons but only one rule:
            You are there for the benefit of the
             meeting and not vica versa




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  Meetings
     Bad chairpersons:
            Use the meeting to fuel their egos
            Impose their will at all times
            Never impose their will
            Steer the meeting even when it isn’t going
             anywhere



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  Meetings
     Structure (yet again). If everyone
      knows the structure then responses are
      quick and efficient:
            What seems to be the trouble?
            How long has this been going on?
            Would you please lie down on the couch
            You seem to have slipped a disk
            Take this prescription to the chemist….

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  Meetings
     Some of the important jobs
     1. The Subject:
            Studies have shown that meetings usually
             have 2 leaders: a team leader and a task
             leader




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  Meetings
     Present the subject – options and
      actions
     Keep to the subject
     Focus on practical decisions (ultra vires)
     Close quickly after a decision
     Ensure the decision is recorded – at the
      end of each item give a summary of the
      decisions.

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  Meetings
     Some of the important jobs
     2. The People
            Facilitation – getting maximum
             performance from the people present




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  Meetings
     Control the garrulous
     Draw out the silent
     Protect the weak
     Encourage a clash of ideas
     Watch out for suggestion-squashing reflex
     Come to the most senior people last
     Close on a note of achievement


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