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Master of Arts in Professional and Technical Writing

Presenting the Portfolio

Presentation is the reason d’etre of the PWP. The PWP’s purpose is to be presented to someone else. In that sense, presenting the PWP is much like giving an oral presentation. The PWP presentation should be equally well-planned. Though the PWP may be dazzling, the presentation of it also communicates something about the writer. You should prepare a script or outline of what is to be said and in what order. What you decide to focus on will determine the length of the presentation. However, as with any presentation, it is better if you are as brief as possible, as long as you cover what needs to be said and shown. Make it a point to discuss what is most critical/unique about each piece and why that piece has been included in the PWP. Demonstrate the underlying logic of the PWP structure and content.

Note: When presenting the PWP, keep the focus on the PWP not on the presenter (you). The PWP demonstrates your abilities and your work. The presentation should maintain that focus.

Also, you will benefit tremendously by rehearsing the presentation in front of peers, colleagues, or mentors. The more confident you appear during the PWP presentation, the better.

Frequently, PWP presentations start in monologue and conclude in dialogue. It is to your advantage to engage the audience in the presentation if possible. This can ensure that the audience is being provided with the information it really wants. At the conclusion of the presentation, it is important that the audience be left with time to peruse the PWP and ask questions. Some employers may ask to retain the PWP for a short period of time. This is, of course, up to your discretion. Many professional writers are reluctant to leave the PWP behind, as materials may be removed and accidentally lost or damaged. At the same time, employers are often frustrated that they are only allowed to view PWPs during the interview, where little time is available to really review the work. A possible compromise is to suggest sending (or dropping off!) a copy of relevant works within the next day or so (this is where those extra copies of work come in handy). Consider attaching a thank you letter or some form of courtesy correspondence. In addition, any time the PWP is to be examined without the writer present, an explanation of the works included is helpful, even if it is a recap of the original presentation. Remember, in your absence, the PWP will probably be shown to individuals who did not attend the original presentation.

Updated 11.8.2008