Tag Archives: communication

I recently attended a fascinating event held at a marketing company, specializing in PR and marketing for startup companies in the cleantech space. Now I recognize the necessity of marketing (as separate from sales), and I understand how much of it (nearly all of it?) is done online these days. But my goodness, I could spend my entire working time on the computer doing marketing, if I followed all the “best practices” as outlined! Hmm, I guess that’s why even small companies find value in a dedicated marketing person… ūüôā One of the audience asked a very thoughtful question: “Many times startup companies are operating in ‘stealth’ mode, to avoid showing their hand before their product is ready. But how then to build a marketing buzz or excitement, or establish yourself in the market, while dealing with that kind of restriction?” The answer I found quite relevant – it has…

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UPDATE: The podcast showcased here (sorry to discourage the surprise) is now available at The Engineering Commons Podcast site. Normally, we discourage cross-posting here at Engineer Blogs. We find that it’s best if our writers can write here and at their own sites on different topics (or at least have different articles in both places); hopefully our readers here notice the difference and visit the sites of writers they like. But since I helped start the site, I thought I’d adhere to the Golden Rule: He (or she) who has the gold makes the rules. And since there’s no gold anywhere to be found at Engineer Blogs, there obviously must not be any rules! So anyway, as alluded to above, I have mentioned this news on my own site in the past few days. Normally this means I wouldn’t write about it on EB, but I thought that our engineering…

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If you read my personal blog, you know that I’m on travel for a conference this week. ¬†This conference has been much different than the ones I’ve attended before. ¬†It was a lot smaller and easier to get to talk to people. ¬†I really enjoyed that aspect. ¬†Also, I saw a lot of work on areas closely related to fields where I’m working rather than having everything from here to the moon (and, for some conferences, beyond that). Another area where things were different was the poster session. ¬†I mentioned on my own blog that the posters were very visual without much text. ¬†I typically ‘narrate’ my posters with text, but they’re typically more visual than others I’ve seen at big conferences. ¬†However, this time, I was far more wordy than I should have been. ¬†I could’ve easily stripped most of the text and left the pictures, making the poster…

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Most of us can relate to meeting someone new and having them ask what we do. ¬†If we’re lucky, the person has a technical background and can understand some or maybe all of what we do. ¬†If we’re not lucky, we have to think of ways to explain things that someone without a technical background can understand…and even that doesn’t work well, sometimes. In the past week, I’ve had the opportunity to talk to a lot of people about some of my research. ¬†While I consider this a good thing, I had two realizations. ¬†First, while I am good at explaining things, I realized that, as a teacher, I often have time to develop explanations before I go to class. ¬†It’s much harder when I’m faced with a misunderstanding and only have a short time to figure out how to rectify it. ¬†Second, it’s really surprising how much people’s perceptions…

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It’s the off season for hiring interns but it’s probably the right season to start thinking about your future internship for this summer or the next if you are an engineering student. Dressing appropriately is only part of the battle (and I love the tie from Sandra Lara via creative commons). Many of the suggestions might apply to many other industries as well. So I apologize if they’re a bit generic but as I’ve worked with a couple crops of interns so far I thought I’d offer some ideas from my perspective. Treat everyone with respect. Some interns save their kissing up for the bosses and senior folks only. But that’s real obvious to the other employees. And yes it can seem kind of insincere to be kissing up to everyone all at once. But really people will expect it from you and not hold it against you as long…

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There’s a phrase: jack of all trades master of none.¬†I was thinking of one’s progression as an engineer. When you graduate college you are in many ways like a Swiss army knife (drawing from rowland jones). You have a wide variety of basic tools but are probably not particularly good at any one thing. In many ways college teaches one the ability to learn engineering. And then you spend the rest of your career learning engineering. But at some point you have to start narrowing it down. Especially if you are, like me, a mechanical engineer or as one of my classmates put it a mercenary engineer. My degree qualified me to work in any number of disciplines: mechanical systems, fluids and heat transfer, structural analysis, flight and aerospace technologies, and manufacturing. The first job you take can often lead you down the path of a particular discipline within your…

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It’s 20 minutes until when you’d normally leave your office and your boss rushes in. There’s something wrong in manufacturing. Or maybe there’s some particular analysis that needs to be done for the customer or some report that he needs for his boss. Of course, you’re the only one that can help. Does this sound familiar to you? If so you’re probably trying to figure out what to do about it. Allison Green over at Ask a Manager recently answered a question from a reader that covered this very topic. In fact, they are an electrical engineer. They wonder what you do when you’ve become the go to person and are maybe¬†under appreciated¬†as well. Click the link to go over to the Ask a Manager blog, read Allison’s response, and check out the readers’ discussion. ¬†Here’s a snippet of what the original writer is talking about: I feel under-appreciated for…

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We all know there are plenty of issues with meetings in the workplace. And Allison Green over at Ask a Manager even did a piece on making sure your meetings are productive. But lately I’ve been thinking about another kind of work meeting: the training seminar. Whenever a procedure’s being changed ever poor engineer, planner, and specialist often has to sit through an hour of training to learn what the new process is. One of my major beefs is that often training is not customized. Sometimes you end up in the same room with individuals who use the software for hours every day to its full capabilities and others who are not familiar with it at all. The way a designer looks at software can be very different from the way someone in configuration or manufacturing might use that same software. One might be overly familiarized with a certain side…

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I performed some testing over a year ago. I know I have a digital copy of the test results somewhere. But of course I can’t find them. I remember presenting them, having them up on a projector and discussing them. But now search as I might they’re nowhere. I dig into a project folder and there, thankfully, my original chicken scratch handwriting on the original test record. Keeping around that piece of paper just saved my bacon. But what’s that have to do with a successful design? While hunting around for this elusive information I happened upon a handout that another engineer had given me. It might be written towards students or it might be written towards entry level engineering I’m not sure. It sort of reminds me of those little fact sheets and checklists that before we might have sent around the office via fax. Somehow they never made…

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Few have escaped the news that there is a new shinny social media network launch underway – Google+ is here but what are we the engineering community making of it? Over the last few years I have become a convert when it comes to social media. If you had told me that facebook and twitter were good engineering tools then I would have laughed at you. However just over a year ago when I joined DesignSpark as a blogger for ebmpapst I started the slippy slope into online networking. So Google+ is here in Beta phase at the time of writing this and I got an invite from a fellow engineer about a week ago. The community is still growing all under the control of Google but is slowly starting to show how it can be used. So early on I wanted to capture the first views of other engineers…

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