How to give a scientific talk - Lamont-Doherty Earth ...
Giving Research Presentations Jenna Lawrence & Joerg Schaefer Modified after Stephanie Pfirman Outline How to give a good talk technically - Structuring your story - Preparing your data/information - Present How to give a good talk performance What can go wrong Different talks different animals
10 minute conference talk 45 minute seminar talk of your project 45 minute overview talk of your field (to non-experts) 45 minute application talk (to the committee) How to Give an Effective Presentation: Structure Basic rule Say what you are going to say Say it
1-3 main points in the introduction Give the talk Then say what you said Summarize main points in the conclusion http://www.safetyoffice.uwaterloo.ca/hspm/ tools/images/scaffold_stair.png Audience Why and to whom are you giving this presentation? What do you want the audience to learn? Think about this as you construct your talk
Edit your slides -- delete what is unnecessary, distracting, confusing, off point http://battellemedia.com/images/book_open.jpg Tell a Story Prepare your material so that it tells a story logically Subject: title, authors, acknowledgements Introduction/overview Method/approach Results/information/analysis Conclusion/summary Use examples and anecdotes Create continuity so that your slides flow smoothly
Guide the audience through your story Your last point on one slide can anticipate the next slide http://www.cgd.ucar.edu/cms/agu/scientific_talk.html Examples, anectdotes, analoges Illustrate a Clim yr te c (e.g. climate change) v ge o han e la s er th t 15 0
1860 AD Glaciers and Climate Change Drawing by Julius Haast 1863 Presenting Your Methods, Data, and Results Methods, Instrumentation For most talks, only present the minimum Data Tables Tables are useful for a small amount of data Include units Indicate data source if they are not your own
But tables are often used badly Esopus Creek date discharge precipitation (cf/s) (in/day) date discharge precipitation (cf/s) (in/day) 1-Nov 2-Nov 3-Nov 4-Nov 5-Nov 6-Nov 7-Nov 8-Nov 9-Nov 10-Nov 11-Nov 12-Nov 13-Nov 14-Nov 15-Nov
0 1-Nov 0 8-Nov 15-Nov 22-Nov 29-Nov 6-Dec 13-Dec 20-Dec 27-Dec Date in 1992 Discharge of the Esopus Creek (Coldbrook, NY) and precipitation at Slide Mountain, NY (source: USGS/NCDC)
Precipitation (in/day) Discharge rate (cf/s) 1.4 Preparing Your Data, continued Figures 1 figure 1000 words Figures should be readable, understandable, uncluttered Keep figures simple, use color logically for clarification
Blue = cold, red = warm, dark = little, bright = a lot Invisible color Meaning attached to colors (color blindness is more common than you think Explain axes and variables Include reference on figure http://www.cs.aau.dk/~luca/SLIDES/howtotalk-ru.pdf Figures continued ... Create a summary cartoon with major findings, or an illustration of the processes or problem Consider showing it at the beginning and the end You can use web sources for figures
Include reference Preparing the Presentation Average not more than 1 slide per minute MS Powerpoint is now standard No sounds! Some logical animations good Use 3-7 bullets per page If you use something else, be careful to check it in advance
Avoid writing out, and especially reading, long and complete sentences on slides because it is really boring to the audience Slide appearance (font, colors) should be consistent Speelcheck What Font to Use Type size should be 18 points or larger: 18 point 20 point 24 point 28 point 36 point AVOID USING ALL CAPITAL LETTERS BECAUSE ITS MUCH HARDER TO READ * References can be in 12-14 point font http://www.fw.msu.edu/orgs/gso/documents/ GSOWorkshopDocsSp2006/ PresentationTipsinPowerPoint.ppt#307,6,Powerpoint
Color Dark letters against a light background work Dark letters against a light background are best for smaller rooms, especially when the lights are on for teaching http://www.fw.msu.edu/orgs/gso/documents/ GSOWorkshopDocsSp2006/ PresentationTipsinPowerPoint.ppt#302,5,Powerpoint basics: 1. What font to use Color Light letters against a dark background also work Many experts feel that a dark blue or black background works best for talks in a large room http://www.fw.msu.edu/orgs/gso/documents/ GSOWorkshopDocsSp2006/ PresentationTipsinPowerPoint.ppt#302,5,Powerpoint Preparing Yourself...
Immerse yourself in what you are going to say Web of Science/Google it: use the latest news Make sure you are familiar with the projection equipment, remote control and Powerpoint Bring your presentation on a memory stick AND a laptop with power supply AND an extension cord www.terryfoxtheatre.com/theatre_specification... What to Wear Dress up maybe wear a jacket? More formal attire makes you appear more
authoritative and you show you care enough to try to look nice From Ask Dr. Marty AnimalLabNews (JanFeb 2007) Dark clothes are more powerful than light clothes Shirts or blouses with collars are better than collarless ones Clothes with pressed creases (!) are signs of power Print Your Slides www.com.msu.edu/.../p owerpoint/printing.htm Dont read the presentation
Print out copies of your slides (handouts) You can annotate them and use them as notes You can review them as youre waiting If everything crashes the bulb blows, you can still make your main points in a logical way www.thomas.edu/facilities/auditorium/index.htm Giving a good talk performance A technically perfect talk can still be BORING!! www.thomas.edu/facilities/auditorium/index.htm
Rehearsing Practice actually stand up and say the words out loud You discover what you dont understand You develop a natural flow You come up with better phrasings and ways to describe things It is harder to explain things than you think, practicing helps you find the words Stay within the time limit The more rehearsing, the better! http://www.fw.msu.edu/orgs/gso/documents/ GSOWorkshopDocsSp2006/ TipsforGivingaScientificPresentation.pdf Giving the Presentation
Starting out is the hardest part of the talk To get going, memorize the first few lines http://www.fw.msu.edu/orgs/gso/documents/ GSOWorkshopDocsSp2006/ TipsforGivingaScientificPresentation.pdf Giving the Presentation Experienced speakers: Speak freely and look directly at audience http://soroptimistofgreaterdavis.org/ documents/images/photos/speaker.gif Inexperienced speakers: Put outline and key points of your presentation on your slides
Giving the Presentation Look at people, not slides, during presentation Stand where the figures can be seen Be enthusiastic Dont worry about stopping to think Dont rush Figure out which slide is your half-way mark and use that to check your time www.clarityrules.org Giving the Presentation Dont apologize
I hope youre not bored I was working on this til 3 am Dont overuse the pointer Dont forget acknowledgements; always give proper credit www.laylaland.org Concluding Your Content Announce the ending so that people are prepared For example, with a slide titled Conclusions Have only a few concluding statements
Come back to the big picture and summarize the significance of your work in that context Open up new perspective Describe future work, potential implications http://www.cs.aau.dk/~luca/SLIDES/howtotalk-ru.pdf Finishing Your Presentation Think carefully about your final words and how to finish your presentation strongly Dont just drift off I guess thats all I have to say
You may want to actually memorize your ending lines, just as you do your starting points Ending your talk Say Thank You pause for applause then Say: Any questions? http://international.internet2.edu/images/ CLARA-I2-MoU/i2-clara-applause.JPG What Can Go Wrong? www.rcpsych.ac.uk/.../ anxiety/images/grap6.jpg RUNNING OUT OF TIME Uncertainty about material Interruptions Running out of slides
http://www.cs.aau.dk/~luca/SLIDES/howtotalk-ru.pdf Running Out of Time He cannot speak well that cannot hold his tongue Thomas Fuller, 1732, Gnomologia Avoid this impolite to other speakers and the audience: if it happens Do not assume that you can carry on past your time Do not skip all of your slides looking for the right one to put on next Conclude on time wherever you are in your talk -- by
making your main points In Powerpoint you can just type the number of your concluding slide and press Enter to skip right to it http://www.cs.aau.dk/~luca/SLIDES/howtotalk-ru.pdf http://www.fw.msu.edu/orgs/gso/documents/ GSOWorkshopDocsSp2006/CairnsSpeakingAtLength.pdf Uncertainty About the Material Try to structure your talk so that you are sure about the material you present If you have to address something important that you are unsure of Acknowledge the gap in your understanding
Im working on it or Im looking into it Better than being pressed to admit something From What's so Funny About Science? by Sidney Harris (1977) www.neoseeker.com Interruptions During Your Presentation Dont look irritated or rushed Answer briefly just enough to straighten it out A question that you will answer later in your talk? Then carry on with your presentation without checking back
Say Good point; just wait two slides Requires a long answer and is not critical understanding? Say Good point; Ill come back to it at the end of the talk. http://www.cs.aau.dk/~luca/SLIDES/howtotalk-ru.pdf Running Out of Slides www.poeghostal.com Short talks are better than ones that are too long What to do: Dont make a personal comment hmm, Im running out of slides Stretch it a little -- see if you can think of an example, or
story, to bolster your points Conclude unhurriedly, summarizing your main points, but dont be repetitious http://www.cs.aau.dk/~luca/SLIDES/howtotalk-ru.pdf Questions and Answers Questions after your talk can be difficult but they definitely help you in writing up your research Identifies parts the audience did not understand Focuses and adds dimension to your analysis You can repeat the question This gives you time to think The rest of the audience may not have heard the question
Also, if you heard the question incorrectly, it gives you an opportunity for clarification http://www.erp.wisc.edu/profdev/Talkhandout05.doc http://www.firekills.gov.uk/seniors/cool/howstart/images/howstart.gif Questions and Answers, continued Keep your answers short and to the point dont respond with another lecture Anticipate typical questions and prepare for them Make extra slides perhaps on details of instrumentation or methodology If you really don't know the answer Say "Interesting, I will look into that" or Thats a good point, lets discuss it afterward
Don't feel that you have to invent an answer on the fly -- you are only human and you can't have thought of everything Conclusions Structure your content in a way that is comfortable for you Practice! Think ahead about where you might encounter difficulties and figure out ways to overcome them
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