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Make up your mind

What I call flip-flopping is not making your mind about two choices during presentations and or technical documentation and revert from one position to another in subsequent sentences.

Here is an example comparing APS-C to full frame cameras as an illustration

The APS-C is much cheaper, but since the sensor is smaller it also has less sensitive pixels. The full frame is more sensitive as the sensor area is larger which helps when there is not enough light. However for most cases, an APS-C camera is more than enough. Since most professionals use full frame cameras, the lenses for full frame cameras are usually better.

Notice how many times we moved from APS-C to full frame?

  • We start with good points for APS-C (cheap)
  • immediately point out that it has an issue (less sensitive)
  • we praise full frame (more sensitive)
  • now we revert back and say APS-C is (more than enough)
  • and then we change tack again and say full frame has (better lenses)

What the reader wants is a clear path to follow. Start with a point, explain its strengths, point out its weaknesses and move to the solution you suggest. Do not change your mind during the narrative. So the above could be one of the two. Notice that both make their points and move on.

The APS-C is a cheap solution which in most cases is more than enough. However since the sensor is smaller its pixels are less sensitive, and the full frame cameras with their larger sensors have a clear advantage. In addition since most professionals use full frame cameras, the lenses for full frame cameras are usually better.

Technically the full frame cameras are superior with their more sensitive sensors and large selection of high quality lenses. But these cameras are larger and much more expensive than their APS-C counterparts which for most cases will be able to make pictures just as well.

Be a guide, do not get lost in details

Your job is to explain your point, just like a guide in a city. You can take a detour, or take different paths, but do not go back and forth the same streets and run around like a headless chicken. There will always be pros and cons about technical choices, make up your mind before you write, not while you write.

These pages are some suggestions I have for technical writing and presentations. I work in academia, so please consider that my experience will have a heavier emphasis on technical writing and presentations as seen in academia. Of course, these are my opinions, your mileage may vary.