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The Business Meeting An Alternative To The Classic Design Presentation

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2000 Annual Conference


St. Louis, Missouri

Publication Date

June 18, 2000

Start Date

June 18, 2000

End Date

June 21, 2000



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Page Numbers

5.612.1 - 5.612.6

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James A. Newell

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Session 2613

The Business Meeting - An Alternative to the Classic Design Presentation

James A. Newell Department of Chemical Engineering Rowan University 201 Mullica Hill Road Glassboro, NJ 08028


There is an increasing consensus among both academics and practicing engineers that effective communication skills are an integral part of an engineering education (1-3). For engineers who had been out of school for ten years, Kranzber (4) reports that the most common answer to the question "What courses do you wish you had taken?" was English courses. However, both ABET (5) and the rest of the technical community (6) are recognizing that communications are part of a broader package of interpersonal, communication, and teamwork skills, that Seat (7) refers to as "performance skills". Many educationally focuses programs, including Rowan (8) and the University of North Dakota (9) have integrated technical communication into their core engineering curriculum. However, in many cases, oral communication exercises in engineering consist of little more than giving repeated technical power point presentations to an audience and answering a few brief questions at the end. This exercise emulates a presentation at a technical conference, but very little else in the business world. There can be no doubt that this presentation format is valuable, but it should not be the only experience that an undergraduate engineering student receives. Conducting a business meeting instead of a final presentation in senior plant design provides an alternative to ANOTHER formal oral presentation. In this model, student teams plan and conduct a formal business meeting with faculty and industrial representatives serving in formalized roles. Details of the process are provided below.

The Process Each design team is asked to conduct a business meeting with the executive committee of their company/customer. The executive committee consists of:

- The Chief Executive Officer - The Engineering Director - The Finance Director - The Marketing/Sales Director - The Safety/Environmental Director - The Proposed Plant Manager

Newell, J. A. (2000, June), The Business Meeting An Alternative To The Classic Design Presentation Paper presented at 2000 Annual Conference, St. Louis, Missouri.

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