6 + 1 Writing Traits: Presentation

PresentationIt’s almost the new year and we have arrived at the seventh trait: Presentation. You’ve done all that work. Now you think you’re ready to share it with your audience—maybe with the world. Careful! Not so fast…

Presentation combines both visual and verbal elements—it is the way we ‘exhibit’ our message on paper. Even if our ideas, words, and sentences are vivid, precise, and well constructed, our paper will not be inviting to read unless the guidelines of presentation are observed. Think about examples of text and presentation in your environment. Which signs and billboards attract your attention? Why do you reach for one CD over another? All great writers are aware of the necessity of presentation; particularly technical writers who must include graphs, maps, and visual instructions with their text.
—Source: random piece of paper @ 2004 from a graduate course that I recently retrieved from the floor of my home-office

They say “the clothes make the man,” and so it is with Presentation. Writers are at a bit of a disadvantage here. We’ve done all this work, but the whole thing will completely fall apart without a good presentation. In my world, it all comes down to graphic design. I can do “the small stuff” like ensure that conventions are followed, but in the end, how my work is received depends greatly on the alignment/combination of text with graphic design. If it looks good, people will pay attention to it, and if it doesn’t, they won’t.

This concludes this series on the 6 + 1 Analytical Model for Assessing Writing. Thanks for reading!

Soon, I will posting a longer series on rhetoric. Up until I attended the university, I had a very narrow view of what rhetoric was. But I soon came to learn that the field of rhetoric is vast, complex, and interesting. Do these “old-fashioned” word puzzles have real power we can apply today?


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