Engineers by nature are not good presenters

Besides all of the jokes about the ineptitudes of engineers when it comes to explaining things, I’ve found that most do a reasonably good job at explaining or teaching the concepts of some topic. However, this does not mean that they are good at presenting information to the general public or “selling” a product or service. Why? They tend to go into too much technical detail regarding the inner workings of the system, oftening leaving the layman feeling bewildered and befuddled.

I’m guilty of this, probably moreso than most engineers. You see, the tendency for engineers is to gloss over the aspects that would be of interest to a potential client and instead go straight to the heart of the system, explaining all of its inner workings. (“You see, this is how widget A interfaces with module B, using sub-system C. This was done because using the direct interface caused all sorts of bad harmonics that threw the system out of control…”) This is especially true if this system was designed by the engineer in question, who inevitably spent many, many hours slaving away at minor details to get things working just right. (Or, just working at all)

This doesn’t mean that engineers can’t be good presenters; it just means that they should take extra care when planning their presentations. All of this, of course, also depends on the audience the presentation is being given to; if it’s to fellow colleagues in the same field, then perhaps intricate details will be warranted. However, far too often, they are not.

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