CAD Manager's Newsletter (#360)

8 Mar, 2016 By: Robert Green

To Become a Better CAD Manager, Hone Your Presentation Skills

You can improve your user trainings, budget negotiations, and customer interactions — all by becoming a better public speaker.

I can already hear the comments: "Why should a CAD manager worry about presentation skills?" and "I'm too busy solving technical problems to worry about being a better presenter." But before you dismiss the concept entirely, ask yourself how better presentation skills could help you conduct training, talk to customers, speak up in meetings, or make a pitch to your boss for new budget items. When you look at it that way, you'll soon see that presentation and speaking skills are crucial for getting your job done.

In this edition of the CAD Manager's Newsletter, I'll provide you with a checklist I use to prepare for every presentation I do, along with some tips that have helped me. Ask yourself the following questions, and they'll help you prepare as well. Here goes.

Who's the Audience?

Whether you're speaking to two people or two hundred, it pays to know your audience. As much as possible, learn their names, titles, job functions, branch office locations, etc. as part of your preparation for the presentation. By knowing more about your audience, you can connect with them more personally and speak to their needs from a more informed point of reference. When an audience senses that you understand them, they'll like you better, which will make you more relaxed and natural when giving your presentation. Simply put: Win the audience over by knowing them before you ever start.

What are the Expectations?

Don't call your presentation "BIM," "3D," or "Best Tips." Titles like that are so vague that your audience has no way to know precisely what you'll talk about — raising the chance that their expectations won't be met. Do give your presentation a clear and specific title, such as "3D Building Modeling Basics for AutoCAD Users" — it defines that you'll talk about (modeling buildings), how advanced the discussion will be (basic), and what prerequisite skills the user needs (AutoCAD) to have a positive experience in the class.

When you begin your presentation, set audience expectations before you do anything else. When your audience knows what you'll discuss, your worst-case outcome is that someone may excuse themselves at the beginning of your presentation. That's much better than that same person walking out halfway through, or staying till the end and never receiving what they expected. State what you'll talk about in the presentation title, then reiterate those expectations first thing when you speak, and you'll never misrepresent the class to your audience.

How Do I Sound?

Now that you know your audience and have settled on your presentation title, it's time to create your materials. I find the best preparation is to imagine myself giving the presentation and recording my verbal ramblings using my iPhone's voice memo feature, or by using a full-blown recording tool (such as Camtasia) on my computer. I then play back my imaginary presentation and decide which parts to keep, finalize topic order, and establish a timeline. Using this methodology, I program my brain to speak through the presentation as I develop it, which is the most effective means of rehearsal. Read more »

:: Resources

Archway Systems Offers Two Free Bentley Software Webinars
CAD reseller and training provider Archway Systems is offering a webinar on March 15 at 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. PT that will explore models produced with ContextCapture, which converts digital photographs into 3D computer models. "MicroStation Tips and Tricks" — intended for MicroStation users and CAD managers — will be held on March 30 at 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. PT.

:: What's New at

Who Needs a Mobile Workstation?
With today's portable powerhouses, everyone can take their CAD show on the road. But just because you can make that investment, doesn't necessarily mean you should. Read more »

Herrera on Hardware: New Computing Solutions for CAD Take Fuller Advantage of the Cloud
New tools are needed for efficient CAD collaboration, and the cloud — from workspaces to hosted workstations — is looking like the best place to find them. Read more »

District Court Awards Judgment to ITC in Case Against Suzhou Gstarsoft
The IntelliCAD Technology Consortium (ITC) reported today that it has been awarded a judgment against former ITC member Suzhou Gstarsoft, the developer of GstarCAD, in a dispute over the use of ITC source code. Read more »

IMAGINiT Tricks Tutorial: Automatic Wire Sequencing in AutoCAD Electrical
Manually creating a report to designate the exact sequence for connecting wires and pins takes extra time, which is always in short supply. Fortunately, AutoCAD Electrical software can perform these tasks automatically. Read more »

About the Author: Robert Green

Robert Green

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