1. Choose one of the following statements on preparing written testimony for Congress [1]:

Keep in mind you are dealing with focused generalists, not narrow specialists; get to the point

in an understandable manner. Rep. Sherwood Boehlert (R-NY)

It's important that you make clear what your priorities are. Nothing weakens a presentation more than giving the sense that a particular item is the most important thing you want - except for all the other items that are also the most important things you want. Rep. Robert S. Walker (R-PA)

Since everyone in Congress is pressed for time, be direct and concise. Do not go into a meeting without having a clear idea of your purpose and the main message you want to convey.

Rep Rick Boucher (D-VA)

How does the item you selected apply to your team report? Why did you select that item?

2. In [1] two individuals with a great deal of experience in scientific/technological issues say:

`Compromise' is a dirty word to a scientist. To an engineer it means trading off conflicting requirements. In politics, it is the only way to get anything done. Sen. John Glenn (D-OH)

Too often presentations are unfocused; there is not enough information on what is the problem, what is the proposed solution, and what decision is required. Rep. George E. Brown, JR. (D-CA)

Compare these two statements with the work paths of two people with different styles, e.g., Ted Nelson (hypertext visionary) and Ted Selker (developer of TrackPoint III). [See, e.g., [2].]

3. Select either Sen. Glenn's or Rep. Brown's statement and indicate how it applies to the current draft of your team's project report. Write a few key phrases or a short paragraph to say this.

4. It would be helpful to apply the following advice to each section of your report. For practice, select a section at random and determine how it could be improved in line with the following advice from [1].

Your main message should come through early. Put the details or backup data in appendices. ... it is acceptable to provide a background summary, don't overdo it

... make sure your vision comes through clear.

5. IEEE Software author guidelines include the advice "Be brief - a well-focused short paper is better than a rambling discourse." How would you apply that or the guidelines' [3] advice to your team's draft project report?


[1] Wells, Jr., William G., Working with Congress - A Practical Guide for Scientists and Engineers, Second Edition, American Association For The Advancement Of Science

[2] Steinberg, Steve G., "Tale of Two Teds: Double Visions but Polar Opposites in Approach,"

L.A. Times, November 4, 1996.

[3] Klinger, Allen, rate.html at; also reachable from from klinger/cs190design.

[4] Items quoted in [1] from staff follow; [1] notes they reinforce Lustberg, Testifying With Impact:

Speak clearly.

... seek eye contact. ...

Be direct and assertive but not overbearing; convey an air of confidence about yourself

and what you are saying.

Be animated ... "Speak from the heart ... and don't worry about your grammar."

... convey your message with excitement, enthusiasm and liveliness.

Choose a style most suitable for the circumstances.

Tell a story, use examples and imagery, and strike a balance: don't

be too technical but don't talk down to your audience either. Avoid jargon. Be relevant.

... Liberate yourself from the printed page.

Regarding questions, [1] includes:

Anticipate questions and prepare for them.

Answer questions concisely and directly

If you don't know the answer to a question, say so.