Slide Rules–the book

Slide Rules: Design, Build, and Archive Presentations in the Engineering and Technical FieldsThe paperback version of our book Slide Rules: Design, Build, and Archive Presentations in the Engineering and Technical Fields is now available for purchase.  

Slide Rules is meant for engineers, technical specialists, and scientists–whether they are working for businesses, universities, research units, military sectors, or other areas. Professionals and students alike will benefit from this book because it provides specific avenues for improving and honing presentations in these specialized fields. Technical presentations are creatures of a different kind, and the specific needs for that work are duly addressed.

ISBN: 978-1-118-79612-2
240 pages
February 2014, Wiley-IEEE Press

Here is our Table of Contents:

  • A Note from the Series Editor, xi
  • Acknowledgments, xiii
  • Foreword (by Michael Alley),  xv
  • Introduction, 1
  • Understand our path to these techniques, 1
  • Witness the change, 2
  • Feel confident about these techniques, 3

 Chapter 1: Heed the Pleas for Better Presentations, 5

  • Know the enemy, 6
  • Be an agent of change, 8
  • Call a meeting instead of summoning a slide deck, 8
  • Destroy the decks of drudgery, 8
  • Learn communication lessons from past tragedies, 9
  • Confront conventional poor practices, 10
  • Consider slides as a two-part deliverable, 11
  • Implement your own continuous improvement, 12
  • References, 12

Slide Rule #1:  Revisit Presentation Assumptions

Chapter 2:  Apply Cognitive Science and Tell a Story, 17

  • Change presentation practices using grounded research, 17
  • Stay open to change, 18
  • Revisit how a slide works, 19
  • Design slides for audience’s cognitive load, 20
  • Lessen cognitive load with storytelling, 24
  • Apply science and storytelling, 27
  • References, 27

Chapter 3:  Understand Audience Needs, 29

  • Scope content toward identified purpose, 29
  • Learn about your audience first, 30
  • Determine the presentation’s purpose, 32
  • Examine the goals for a talk, 33
  • Elevate the moment, 33
  • Assess the audience, 34
  • Prepare for a familiar audience, 34
  • Prepare for an unfamiliar audience, 35
  • Coping when your talk gets hijacked, 37
  • Ditch the “dumb it down” attitude, 38
  • Think of audience needs, not yours, 42
  • Think about logistics, 45
  • References, 48

 Chapter 4:  Challenge Your Organization’s Culture of Text-Heavy Slides, 49

  • Understand the patterns’ origin, 50
  • Stop assuming they want to read, 50
  • Work toward fewer bullets, less text, 51
  • Avoid using slides as teleprompters, 53
  • Build information deliberately, 54
  • Move beyond “How many slides should I use?”, 54
  • Encourage better presentation practices, 56
  • Create, compile, organize, and stabilize team presentations, 58
  • Work towards a change, 60
  • References, 60

Slide Rule #2:  Write Sentence Headers

Chapter 5:  Clarify Topics with Full-Sentence Headers, 65

  • Write full sentences for headers, avoiding fragments, 65
  • Consider the case against fragmented headers, 66
  • Deploy best practices for sentence headers, 70
  • Expect immediate results, 71
  • Write targeted headers, 73
  • State a fact or explain a concept, 74
  • Showcase an analysis, 80
  • Transition to new information, 84
  • Influence outcomes with headers, 88
  • Frequently asked questions about sentence headers, 88
  • References, 91

 Slide Rule #3:  Use Targeted Visuals

 Chapter 6:  Build Information Incrementally, 95

  • Build something better than bullets, 95
  • Devise methods that build information, 97
  • Design with words to make bullet lovers happy, 98
  • Solidify complex topics with refrains, 99
  • Use refrain slides for meeting agendas, 100
  • Create visuals for directed comprehension, 103
  • Build out to drill down, 107

Chapter 7:  Generate Quality Graphs, 109

  • Portray complexity simply, 110
  • Determine the right visual, 111
  • Design reasonable pie charts, 112
  • Design impactful bar charts and histograms, 117
  • Design scatter XY charts and scatter plots, 121
  • Craft line charts, 127
  • Map out area graphs, 128
  • Think through flow or process charts, 130
  • Address assorted other visual outputs, 132
  • Graph ethically, 133
  • Create accessible graphics, 136
  • Frequently asked questions about graphs, 138
  • References, 139
  • Further reading, 140

Chapter 8: Picture the Possibilities, 141

  • Center yourself, 143
  • Manage image interpretation, 143
  • Model accurately, 143
  • Be ethical with visuals, 149
  • Frequently asked questions about using pictures, 150
  • References, 151

Chapter 9: Temper the Templates, 153

  • See the possibilities in a template, branded or otherwise, 153
  • Discover and assess a branded template, 154
  • Work with company templates, 156
  • Devise solutions for problematic templates, 156
  • Fix the template, 162
  • Provide template guidance, 164
  • Refine quad slides, 165
  • Establish brand when there is no template, 166

Slide Rule #4:  Archive Details for Future Use

Chapter 10:  Make Slide Decks with Archival and Legacy Value, 175

  • Understand that slides have two lives, 175
  • Start new best practices, 177
  • Document ideas efficiently, 178
  • Use the Notes or Presenter Notes feature, 179
  • Get others to see your notes, 180
  • Use hidden slides, 181
  • Keep hidden slides ready, 183
  • Make retrieval easy for everyone else, 184
  • Embrace full documentation as part of workflow, 187
  • References, 188

 Chapter 11:  Include More Than One Language, 189

  • Know when English is not enough, 189
  • Start with audience analysis, 192
  • Anticipate formatting for translations, 192
  • Deploy plain language, 192
  • Write in one language and talk in another, 195
  • Design split slides, 195
  • Capture translation in notes, 197
  • Translate toward clarity, 197
  • Find resources, 198
  • References, 198

 Slide Rule #5:  Keep Looking Forward

Chapter 12: Enact Organizational Change, 203

  • Listen to the studies, 203
  • Anticipate the stages of acceptance, 204
  • Tally the results, 207
  • Look for the opportunities, 208
  • References, 208

Chapter 13: Thinking Through the Next Big Thing, 209

  • See ahead, 209
  • Play with Prezi, 210
  • Use caution, 211
  • Amaze with Autodesk, 211
  • Apply apps, 213
  • Remain diligent in your best practices, 214
  • Index 215

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