Toastmasters - Collected Wisdom

These are summaries of the collected wisdom of contributors to a Toastamsters newsgroup which operated between 1995 and 2008 and ToastmastersPrime, a Google group which commenced in 2008. This is not an official Toastmasters site, but is an edited collection of posts from the newsgroup and the Google group. These groups provide an unofficial means of communicating for an enthusiastic group of Toastmasters from throughout the world.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Technical Presentations - topic ideas

In October 2005 the Technical Presentations manual was a challenge for Nigel. He had considered
  • Online security, firewalls, how to protect yourself.
  • Getting from A to B, how data moves along the information superhighway
  • Effective Powerpoint Presentations.

but sought non-technical input on what people might find interesting.

To take advantage of his IT extertise, I was more specific:

  • When to upgrade - both software and hardware, or
  • How to minimize spam, or
  • How to search more effectively, or
  • How to post your own web site

John F, another technical guru who contributes regularly to

saw the challenge for a technical person with a pretty heavy duty background speaking to Toastmasters club members are generally non-technical, so need to find a way to bridge the gap between my level of understanding and their level of understanding.

He suggested looking at some of the "Theodore Von Karman Lectures" archived at the NASA Jep Propulsion Laboratory.
These are geared to a more general audience, so even if you don't use any of the topics, viewing a couple of them might give you some ideas on how to package technical and scientific material for a non-technical audience. I particularly recommend the one from November 2004, titled "To See or Not To See."

Rod cautioned:

Eight to ten minutes doesn't allow you to cover much when you are, of necessity, explaining technical material to an audience that has different levels of knowledge of the subject. Project 3 deals with this issue specifically, but having a lay audience is common to all of the projects in this manual when presented to a typical Toastmasters club as opposed to 'real world' presentations.

and added:

As for what might be interesting, even the most mundane subject can be made interesting, given the right approach. Aside from your own skills in bringing life to a subject, thorough audience analysis will provide useful guidance.

To which Tony replied:

Likewise, we should remember that even the most interesting speech can be mundane and uninteresting.
I can demonstrate the latter. Can you demonstrate the former?

Gene remembered:

Piers Anthony wrote a series of science fiction short stories about a dentist.

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