Portrait Photograph of Steven Zwickel

Steven Zwickel


College of Engineering | Technical Communication Program

Hometown: Brooklyn, NY

Steven Zwickel taught Technical Communications (technical writing, speaking, and document design) at UW-Madison from 1992 to 2020. He is a graduate of Binghamton University, where he majored in political science. He has a law degree (Brooklyn Law School), a M.S. in Social Work (UW–Madison), and a Diploma in Graphic Arts/Printing from Madison Area Technical College. Mr. Zwickel is author of two books on anger and workplace stress, of a text on technical presentations and professional speaking, and of a series of articles on agencies that helped American immigrants. Recent presentation topics include Communication-based Leadership, Persuasive Speaking, Researching Family History, Asylum Seekers at the Border, Finding the Chinese Jews, and Basics of Typography and Page Design.


  • Leadership is defined as the ability to get people to participate in a journey from the way things are to the way they could and ought to be. Essential elements are:
    1 Understanding of system
    2 Vision of possibilities
    3 Planning
    4 Desire
    5 Ability to communicate vision so want to reach goals
    6 Flexibility
  • 1 What is persuasive? Theories of persuasion from Aristotle to Click-bait
    2 Common Persuasion Techniques
    3 Secrets of Really Persuasive People
    4 Ethics and persuasion—protect your reputation!
    5 How Persuasion can work — A Five-Phase Process for Handling Objections and making your point
  • In 2020, I was a volunteer in El Paso working to help asylum seekers and children at the US–Mexico border. In this talk, I explain why I went and what was going on at the border. I will explain:
    • Why are so many people coming here?
    • How dangerous is the US–Mexico border?
    • What is the current path to living legally in the USA? (and what is changing)
    I describe what I did in Texas, what I was not able to do, and what I learned from this experience.
  • Working with Teams: How to Build Trust
  • Basic Presentation Skills
  • Use PowerPoint Like a Pro
  • Face-to-Face: Effective Professional Communication Skills
  • Presenting Professional Opinions
  • Time Management
  • The Art of Lecturing: Reaching Across Generations
  • Effective Listening Skills
  • How to Turn a Classroom into a Torture Chamber: Ineffective Teaching
  • Teaching Across Generations: Millennials in the Classroom
  • Persuasive Speaking in the Workplace
  • Creating a Demonstration Presentation
  • Using Numbers in Presentations