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A problem to solve by friday - slightly OT....

Old 07-31-2006, 07:04 AM
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A problem to solve by friday - slightly OT....

Can I ask that you don't shoot me down or use this as an invite to vent frustrations at me as a poster? I'm going to do my best to be honest and that scares me because it's information I don't regularly share, it has a history of making me strongly disliked.

I don't trust teachers - I learned not to trust them from the first moment they fed me dumbed down information. I like opinions and reasoning and listen closely to it but I hate spoon fed information, purile misrepresentations. I hated my teachers asking me if I had tummy ache - it's the stomach, I'd seen them, it's below a shorter tube and above a long one, it's the holding bay where something happens turning food into poo. There's something circular about air going round then out, but food goes down then out - I knew that because I would disect the rats killed by my cat. The stomach is not a tummy - it has nothing to do with my belly button, it's not the skin of the front of my torso, you can take it out and hold it.

When I wanted to learn about nature I started with what I could see, the animal tracks (not footprints but the small paths they make) on the railway tracks and the rubbish dump where I learned yellow and black caterpillars only live on ragwort. I watched where the paths went, I made guesses why they were where they were, I waited for a long time before I began to look at footprints and noticed animals follow each other's tracks. I could find anyone's lost cat or dog after a year or two.

I didn't know where to start learning about horses - bizzarely I began my quest with tissue types, epithelial, nervous, muscular, connective, then the skeleton, then muscles, evolution, wild behaviour and finally the riding position. All of that was before I had sat on a horse.

I was so excited about having physics as a subject taught in school, and so disappointed when I got a detention for asking what time was and protesting I didn't mean 'what time was it'!! Even when I was actually sitting in class (read run out of methods to not be there at all) I thought my own thoughts and certainly wasn't attending. I hated it, I found it repulsive. When I got asked why I skived, I asked in return what crime I'd done to be imprisoned in the first place?

When I wanted to learn at uni I just read - I kept reading and let myself be flooded in confusion, I didn't pull out saliant points, I just let it be until I'd start to grasp my subject, until I found I could guess the discussion at the end of the article, guess the results from the title, guess what we be in there next. That was how I approached learning about alcohol addiction too.

I KNEW I wouldn't drown in information, unlike water I knew I would survive while I learned to swim, all I had to do was what I always did - keep learning until I could feel it click and then cherish the rewards.

At work I research - I read constantly, reading here (SR) or there doesn't matter much because once I'm set to learn something I'm still doing it while I read or write something else. I read legislation raw, not the comments handed on for easy reading, I read the research reports that support the handbooks, I read psychology, education, organisational structure, strategy implementation and how to determine the top ranking objective. I read.

But there's a problem....

I hate the watered down versions so while others summarise with ease I struggle immensly to try and distill information rather than water it down. My presentation stinks, I've been told it's overwhelming, that it's over complicated, and that it's threatening.

I have by Friday to learn where I'm going wrong in a way I can be at peace with because I really care about what I have to present. After Friday I enter a process of reviews which will have profound effects.

I have by Friday and I will have changed by then. I've asked a friend - our corporate head of education to help me and she will, she's an ex head teacher. I see her Weds morning.

Because I learned about alcohol addiction the same way as above, and because I try to share that info here - you folk are on the other end of my problem. Can you help give me HELPFUL criticism?

BTW - I'm not an arrogant tosser, I read so much because I don't know, I read because I don't think 'I' have all the answers. Sorry if that's defensive - just old war wounds....
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Old 07-31-2006, 07:33 AM
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Hey Eq - it does not take long to realise you like a long post.

I prefer a short post on the internet - and the long stuff for when I am at home chilling. So if you have written something I am interested in, I normally print it off and read it while on the sofa/bus/train/bed - just because I hate staring to long at a single bit of screen.

I would prefer, in this format, shorter posts so I can read them without printing them off. But that does not deflect from the content of your post which are always enjoyable to read...
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Old 07-31-2006, 07:37 AM
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Maybe ask yourself why you over present at work. Just keep finding those root beliefs and rules that underlie stuff.
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Old 07-31-2006, 07:40 AM
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Originally Posted by Five
Maybe ask yourself why you over present at work. Just keep finding those root beliefs and rules that underlie stuff.
Easy question - nice start!! Thanks!

I do it to avoid misrepresenting evidence, reasoning or conclusions. In the process of shortening something at the back of my mind is always 'there's a reason it took me so damn long to learn this'.

Howzat for short?
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Old 07-31-2006, 07:43 AM
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Originally Posted by equus
But there's a problem....

I hate the watered down versions so while others summarise with ease I struggle immensly to try and distill information rather than water it down. My presentation stinks, I've been told it's overwhelming, that it's over complicated, and that it's threatening.

I have by Friday to learn where I'm going wrong in a way I can be at peace with because I really care about what I have to present. After Friday I enter a process of reviews which will have profound effects.

First of all - I don't find any of this offensive. I'm not sure why I would.

I'm really not sure I know what your question is -- but from what I've figured out. Here's my answer.

You have to know WHO you are presenting your material to. Some people need "dumbed down" version of certain topics. You are very, very smart equus. Not all of us are like you. Most of us don't read as much as you. It's a wonderful thing to read and understand things the way you do. I would be too overwhelmed.

I think the key is to present the material to your audience, you have to know who they are. Are they a room full a Doctors or are they a room full of Patience? It makes a big difference on how you decide to speak to them.

I hope this helps.
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Old 07-31-2006, 07:45 AM
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That short. Do you have suffer from perfectionisim? I do sometimes, but its a piece of p1ss to deal with with CB T

There I go again, CBT this, CBT that.
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Old 07-31-2006, 07:52 AM
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Thanks PD! I was defensive because I've been called names for it in the past. I don't mind something like the comments that led to this - I like that because I'll learn from it. But being called arrogant stinks, being called cold or unfeeling stinks, especially as I wouldn't read unless I knew I don't know AND cared enough to try and learn.

In personal relationships it's a small problem - at work it's a bigger problem as mostly I present to meetings attended by those two or three tiers above me in post!!

Sometimes I get angry but I'm working on that - I get angry that they haven't read because I can't understand that. If someone says the law says X - check it, especially if your job means you need to know!! I get frustrated because I'm not blessed with any special talent, I just try hard (I mean at work). Getting frustrated or angry doesn't work though - so it's time for plan B!!

Friends pretty much accept me as I am - occasionally there are little glitches but nothing major.

Still ok on the length front??
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Old 07-31-2006, 08:04 AM
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On perfectionism, sometimes being accurate comes under the heading of 'harm no-one'. It's very much a reason why I end up longwinded on SR and at work.

I have no clue how to reason myself out of it - I see results from sloppiness or carelessness that impact on lives. Something said on a forum as scientific fact which causes fear and hopelessness but which was never fact. A policy created in response to badly read legislation which de-humanises kids to prevent prosecution which has never taken place, which exists only as a fearful prospect in the mind of the careless reader.

I know I will make mistakes, but I have no idea how to stop striving for accuracy.
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Old 07-31-2006, 08:35 AM
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I've had to make a lot of presentations and the difficulty you have is very familiar to me. Can I ask if you are using a presentation aid like **********? One of the good things about using aids like that is that it forces us to summarise what people are looking at, even though our own notes might be as comprehensive as ever. So the discipline of writing the presentation helps us to think in terms of those "accurate" summaries which don't dilute our overall message. Also, I find a timed run through of my presentation helps me to sift what needs to be said from what might be said in response to a particular question. I have used a book in the past which I just got down called "Agreed! How to make your management communictaion persuasive". It says the five objectives of communication like this are all to do with your audience - getting them to Hear, Understand, Agree, Take Action and Feedback. And in case you feel that that's a bit too "commercial", I work across all three sectors. Management tools are just tools.

Hope this helps.
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Old 07-31-2006, 08:41 AM
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Originally Posted by equus
Thanks PD! I was defensive because I've been called names for it in the past. I don't mind something like the comments that led to this - I like that because I'll learn from it. But being called arrogant stinks, being called cold or unfeeling stinks, especially as I wouldn't read unless I knew I don't know AND cared enough to try and learn.

In personal relationships it's a small problem - at work it's a bigger problem as mostly I present to meetings attended by those two or three tiers above me in post!!

Sometimes I get angry but I'm working on that - I get angry that they haven't read because I can't understand that. If someone says the law says X - check it, especially if your job means you need to know!! I get frustrated because I'm not blessed with any special talent, I just try hard (I mean at work). Getting frustrated or angry doesn't work though - so it's time for plan B!!

Friends pretty much accept me as I am - occasionally there are little glitches but nothing major.

Still ok on the length front??
I would assume people call you arrogant because they are jealous of you. No one like to not understand something. It makes you (well me anyway) feel inferior. You are so much smarter than me......mostly because you love to learn knew things. Well, actually, I do too but I think I'm lazy about the reading things. I like things summarized for me.

I don't know what type of job you have but I would say - assume nothing - assume they don't know what you're talking about. May be you could write you presentation - long winded as it may be - then from that info write a summary that will actually be your presentation. Make yourself an outline and note the important points or the learning objectives. Summarize them at the beginning and at the end. It's a bit redundant but it helps the listener know what is expected of them and people like bulleted lists. It's easy to take notes from and easy to read.

I get frustrated because I'm not blessed with any special talent
This is NOT true. You have lots of talents. One of them being that you don't take things for granted......you questions things, you learn, you experience, you share......some people cannot do this. It is a great talent! I love reading your posts. You're an excellent writer and I can tell when I read your posts that you know what you're talking about. You've done your research.

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Old 07-31-2006, 08:49 AM
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I deffinately don't take offence to anything you said, and I can relate to alot of it, so please don't take any offence to this,

Your post seems to be filled with anger and ego and pride. These are all bad things that hurt you more than you'd think. I know b/c I have some of the very same issues. I am an intelligent person and I want people to know that, I can get into the habit of over explainging stuff, using unessecary vocabulary, making obscure references to drive home the fact to the people around me "hey, I'm smarter than you". I don't think I intentionally mean to be a jack ass like that, but it's hard wired into me. Since I was young, I was allways told how smart I was and it made me feel good. It felt good to be put into the accelerated gifeted and talented program, it felt good that my teachers allowed me to sleep in class since I made A's on all the tests anyway, it felt good to be able to spout off facts about most subjects that would help my peers and save them time in their work, it felt good that they took my word for fact if I said something was true. It felt good to feel needed.

I still have these habits, I am notorious for my debating prowess and most people I know just drop a discussion rather than debate me, I have to allways be right. I get angry with people when they can't learn as fast as me, or ask what I consider to be "stupid questions"....these are all defects of my character that I don't particularly care for. I am happy that I am intelligent, I just wish I wasn't so self-arrogant about it sometimes. What has helped me is to just bite my tongue sometimes. I can't control the thoughts that come to me, but I can control what comes out of my mouth. Sometimes I let people just run with ideas that are wrong if it would serve no purpose in correcting them other than inflating my ego....I'm still working on that.

Part of putting together a good presentation is to make it what the audience is looking for. If the audience says that your presentations are too complicated, then it's your job to make them more concise and paletable. It take great skill to put together a complex presentation going over every thing in great detail, it takes even more intelligence to be able to take that presentation and get the same info accross without in a simple format that is easily digestible by the audience. Sometimes people see drawn out stuff as a weakness "why did she have to tell us all that, she could grasp it enough to make it simpler?"

SOmetimes it's better to say water rather than dihydrogen monoxide, ya know?

(disclaimer: this post is solely in response to the first post, I haven't read anything else on this thread, as suggested before)
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Old 07-31-2006, 08:54 AM
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Originally Posted by Blake
Sometimes people see drawn out stuff as a weakness "why did she have to tell us all that, she could grasp it enough to make it simpler?"
Yup Yup.......you can never please EVERYONE.

Originally Posted by Blake
SOmetimes it's better to say water rather than dihydrogen monoxide, ya know?
Just to take the bait -- what's dihydrogen monoxide (water?) and how do you pronounce that?


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Old 07-31-2006, 09:12 AM
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Originally Posted by PaperDolls
Just to take the bait -- what's dihydrogen monoxide (water?) and how do you pronounce that?
yes it's water H2O two hydrogens and one oxygen di (pronounced die) means 2 and mono (or mon inthis case since oxide starts with an O) means one
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Old 07-31-2006, 09:17 AM
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Originally Posted by Blake
Part of putting together a good presentation is to make it what the audience is looking for.
Originally Posted by paperdolls
You have to know WHO you are presenting your material to.
Precisely these two points. To effectively communicate an idea so it is understood, understanding your audience is primary. You don't have to dumb anything down, rather, arrange it in a fashion that it can be readily processed. When something isn't being understood it's the responsibility of the teacher to explain it in a way that can be comprehended.

Keep in mind, it's those things that irritate us most about others that are likely the very things that most annoy us about ourselves. That perspective teaches tolerence, patience, and understanding.
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Old 07-31-2006, 09:35 AM
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I work with research analysts... they are the only folks I know who "edit" a document by ADDING words. More, more, MORE clarification... background...proof. I think they are unique as individuals... but very similar taken as a group. You sound as though you would fit in well where I work.

My coworkers seldom present their findings to other analysts... they present their findings to policy makers - whose strengths are in almost any field EXCEPT analysis.

I think you have it pegged that the answer lies within YOU. You cannot force your audience to be like you... you have to stretch yourself to be more like your audience.

To TRULY understand the struggle they have with learning complext and detailed information. It is already obvious that they do not learn as you do. Take that information as a place to begin.

Presentations are NOT the place for proof, deep background or details. It is an overview. Those interested will read the report. The job of the presentation is to get them interested.

Do you know your time frame? Split that in half - the first half for your presentation, the second for questions and answers (to clarify).

Do you have chapter headings in the report? Those make good bullet points.

Figure out one sentence in addition to each bullet point to clarify (background), but leave out much of the "proof" - that comes in the report. Include page numbers at the bottom of each slide to indicate where in the report they can find additional information.

If, when practicing, you wrap it up in less time than allowed - add an additional sentence in the critical spots.

Practice at least TWICE in front of your peers.... and be prepared to say "THANK YOU" for the criticizm without judging the one who critiques. It is your call whether or not to incorporate his or her ideas into your presentation.

Our analsyts do 2 dry runs amongst themselves... and they are brutal, yet kind. Our staff have the best reputation in OUR legislature for presenting complex data in a concise and clear manner.

You obviously know your stuff, and that is a big first hurdle for many folks. Your audience has a desire to see you succeed - they WANT to know what you have for them. I think you will do fine.

(((Equus))))
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Old 07-31-2006, 09:59 AM
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Your post seems to be filled with anger and ego and pride. These are all bad things that hurt you more than you'd think. I know b/c I have some of the very same issues. I am an intelligent person and I want people to know that, I can get into the habit of over explainging stuff, using unessecary vocabulary, making obscure references to drive home the fact to the people around me "hey, I'm smarter than you". I don't think I intentionally mean to be a jack ass like that, but it's hard wired into me. Since I was young, I was allways told how smart I was and it made me feel good. It felt good to be put into the accelerated gifeted and talented program, it felt good that my teachers allowed me to sleep in class since I made A's on all the tests anyway, it felt good to be able to spout off facts about most subjects that would help my peers and save them time in their work, it felt good that they took my word for fact if I said something was true. It felt good to feel needed.
I think you can safely say we don't share much of a past. I was never in a gifted class, skived off all the schooling I could and spent most of my time trying to hide anything I'd learned - why? Because for some derranged reason learning and enjoying it got equated with pride blah blah blah..... Admittedly less so if I simply respouted what I heard.

I can't control whether you believe me or not but I try carefully not to make references bizarre - in fact I try to actually give links etc so that folk can read for themselves in case I have misunderstood. Sorry but that part of your reply is just about judging my motives and you're wrong.

I don't doubt I have pride which could use dumping but that isn't expressed by careful reading or in frustration at myself for not being flexible enough to reach my own goals. My goal is by Friday to significantly improve at something which is getting in my way. Apart from reading which I've already begun I'm asking for help and I've tried to be as honest as I can in seeing patterns in myself.

If the audience says that your presentations are too complicated, then it's your job to make them more concise and paletable. It take great skill to put together a complex presentation going over every thing in great detail, it takes even more intelligence to be able to take that presentation and get the same info accross without in a simple format that is easily digestible by the audience.
This I agree with and it's a skill I'm crap at but trying to improve. I don't actually know what they want and perhaps that's half the problem. I get stuck in the information because I think it matters, it matters to me because I believe in my job - I think my job deserves someone with more skills than I have which is actually in the bloody report!!

Big sis - THANK YOU! You've given me a lot to work with on the first presentation. It has subheadings, numbered paragraphs and 3 sections so it fits well with your approach.

I've found an excellent site (power point presentation) relating clear writing to thinking and learning from the university of Georgia.

There's some history - I've been in an uphill struggle for the last 4 years at work, there's genuine agreement my job boardered on the impossible at outset and this is the process of trying to clean it up, probably to pass on. I work alone, the job is mainly passing on the views of vulnerable and very disatisfied kids to managers that outrank me. In all honesty I've taken a beating but I still believe in the job and today I have the opportunity to do my own best, so I want to.
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Old 07-31-2006, 11:26 AM
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You and I are very similiar. I do everything you mentioned in the first post, I learned the same way you did as well. I still love buy back day at college because there are some books they don't buy back that kids throw to the side and I take them home to read on break. I currently have a book on statistics and rhetoric next to me. Yes, these are for 'fun'. I love to learn.

What I did was learn in my public speaking class was twofold, to DUMB DOWN and KEEP DUMB. There is no other way to say it. People are not coming in with a lot of knowledge, nor do they want to leave overwhelmed. You are there to give them a basic intro.

I start out by assuming the person knows NOTHING about the topic. Then I write my presentation. I keep reminding myself that the people who hear this will NOT want to hear it (because this is generally true...most of us don't like sitting in a room listening to someone talk) so I want to keep the ideas short and to the point.

Now that you have written your outline, is there anything that the audience will already know? I simply cross it off my outline.

People like you and me want to learn, we need to remember others don't and they need breaks to take in what we are teaching them. Build in little breaks in your presentation. It can be a joke or just a little extra time on a power point slide before it will"move" on, but we all need to input the info we are learning. This is especially true when people need the information but are not likely (as you and I are) to learn more on it by choice after the presentation.

Break it up into a short intro-- perhaps a lame joke or memorable antidote, followed by what you will be presenting a middlle -- the three or four main points, and the end -- a recap of intro and middle. This style worked well for me in public speech class.

If you wish to share the subject or have any questions, let me know. I am more than willing to help you on this.

I am just glad to see I'm not the only one to learn this way.

BTW, for me it was a grasshopper I first took apart.

ETA because the curse meeter took out the word "power point" -- for once I agree with it!
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Old 07-31-2006, 08:04 PM
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A lot of good comments, people

Equus, you started a very fascinating thread here.
Initially, I thought I could relate to you to a large degree. I am no longer certain about my accuracey. Your responses to Mr. Blake's comments leave me wondering. However, I must say, when I read his initial reply, I agreed with him fully. The impression that your initial post gave, was well described by Blake.
Both of you are most likely smarter than I'll ever be, nevertheless, I too have found myself experiencing similar feelings that each of you described. I certainly was never an over achiever like Mr. Blake. the last grade I ever completed was the sixth grade. I did recently start college (after getting a GED) and discovered I am a decent student. Anyway, regardless of anyones individual history, there does seem to be an ego factor. (By the way Blake, what you described about yourself was extremely impressive. It was very honest.)
I guess I should make some attempt at making a point. My point is going to simply be a suggestion. Of course this is based on my interpretation which derives from my experiences. Equus, could it be that you do not trust your audience? Is it possible? Maybe, somewhere in the recesses of your mind you have concluded that it is necessary to provide all of the mind boggeling information that you provide.
I may be way out of line, way off topic, but if I may suggest that you take an approach that will simply provoke an interest by your audience. try to stick to the fundamental rules of informing and allow your audience to take it from there. If they want more, they will come for it. This last spring, my composition instructor reminded me that "less is more." I always over-explained myself because I had the notion that it was necessary in order to be understood. I never wanted to be misunderstood. I also found myself resenting those who didn't agree.
Equus, let it go. Let it go and allow your audience the opportunity to decide for themselves what to do with whatever it is you provide. From what I read about you, you are unique. Try not to get upset at others for not being as interested as you are.
I apologize if any of my comments are not appropriate to the point. I wrote this quickly so it may seem shoved. I just, well, I don't know, I just thought what I thought and well, now you know what I thought. (that was intelligent)

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Old 07-31-2006, 09:37 PM
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Very interesting. I think I am your exact opposite in preferred learning style. I graduated college without ever opening a book. The last two years I never even bought my books. Everything I learned was from listening to my professors and drawing conclusions from my own observations. When it comes right down to it, a book is written by a person (often a teacher) so it is just a teacher in another form.

I would hazard to say that you are a more visual person. Things are factual to you only when they are written down. Anything communicated verbally is merely anecdotal. Seems to me a possible indication of mistrust of verbal sources, and that is why you are so careful to set everything out in such an analytical manner.

What others have said is right on the money. Play to your audience. Ask yourself how much they really need to know. Higher level management types tend to have little time available to worry themselves with details. They are also often not technically competent/confident. They want the big picture so that they can run with it to their next meeting - they want enough information that they can present a proposal to the guy above them without looking like an idiot. So you give them enough information to get their job done. It is up to you to filter out what they need to know based on your understanding of what they need to do with that information.
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Old 08-01-2006, 12:53 AM
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Originally Posted by BigSis

Presentations are NOT the place for proof, deep background or details. It is an overview. Those interested will read the report. The job of the presentation is to get them interested.
A large part of my job is to take complex information, tailor it to the audience and present it. Big sis is right, the presentation is not for proof or the gubbins of the subject, it's an opportunity to give your interpretation in an accessible way.

Maybe you should have a bit more confidence in that interpretation. None of us are perfect, and although the stakes in your job are higher than most, remember there is a reason they chose you for the task.



Knock em dead!

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