Setting the Tone
(style or manner of expression)
Identify your audience; they must accept you.
Structure your material: keep to time; aptly summarize content
Know your stuff: accurate well-phrased descriptions =>
Structure of presentation
- Title -> give information in a nutshell (solid versus cute)
- Context and perspective: zooming in
- Start with description of general principle, then focus in
on experimental/theoretical model to be described.
- Advantages of zooming in:
(1) tells audience relevance to important principle.
(2) defines the intellectual borders of presentation.
- Telling a story
- Turns collection of facts into exciting/interesting story.
- To construct story, phrase the basic idea under talk as question.
- Story should have one focus, convey a single major message.
- Formulation and Argumentation
- Talk proceeds as a logical unfolding of information.
- Facts presented in sequential steps, each building on the last.
- Avoid jargon audience won't know.
- Speech reflects thought; imprecise speaker is often unfocused thinker.
- Pointing out limits of explanation enhances credibility with audience.
- Conclusion: brief and to the point
- Zooming out near end reminds audience that main body of talk
relates to major scientific principle with which you began.
- Conclusion should be firm and decisive.
- Conclusion provides talk-home message, often only thing remembered.
- Conclusion determines final impression/impact on your audience.
- Conclusion should reduce to concise statement (text or diagram)
Simple major statement with not more than 2 or 3 implications.
- Possible Positive Uses of the Blackboard
- Put outline on blackboard to help audience keep track of story.
Have it on the blackboard before the talk starts or make it as
you are doing the introduction. The latter takes practice.
- Keep a central figure/equation always available throughout the talk.
Again have figure on before you start talk.
- Articulation and eye contact are the two most important components.
- Take time to articulate every word of each sentence clearly,
while maintaining eye contact with your audience.
- Voice control can be separated into several interrelated properties:
sound (e.g., accent), volume, speed and rhythm.
- End of sentence is stress position; here audience expects important info.
- Nervous, hurried speech leads to inaccurate articulation.
- Monotony is greatest enemy to maintaining audience interest.
- Slowing down will solve most speakers' problems.
- Looking straight at audience members establishes notion that
you are talking to them, not at them.
- Genuine enthusiasm accounts for 90% of a speaker's success.
- Answering questions.
- Attempt to control audience permitting questions at your convenience, discouraging impulsive ad hoc questions that deflect focus.
- Difficult for inexperienced speakers who may have omitted essential information needed to understand talk. A clarifying question
promptly answered can get the talk back on track.
- Always answer questions briefly and to the point.
- Often useful to repeat question, rephrasing it for audience clarity.
- Always a good idea to be polite and gracious.
- Three devices can put a presentation in the desired perspective.
- Indicate the scope of the presentation by an informative title.
- "Zoom in" to the topic during the introductory segment of the
presentation and "zoom out" near its end.
- Decide on the underlying question the presentation seeks to address;
then divide that question into a hierarchically organized array of
subquestions, and develop the presentations as a series of answers
to these questions.
- The mainstream of the presentation should address a single focus issue,
tuned to the interests of the audience.
- Sidetracks from this mainstream should be brief and should always
return to the same point in the mainstream where they started.
- Omit information not directly relevant to the focus of the presentation, and avoid backtracking.
- The statements constituting the mainstream of the presentation should
delineate a clear, logical line of thought.
- Formulate explanations of scientific concepts and experimental/theoretical methodology unambiguously, without professional jargon.
- The presentation should end with a clearly formulated, concise
conclusion. When the take-home message has been delivered, stop.