What do best talks and papers have in common?
(Below are titles from 1998-2000.)
A. Tell a story
Turn collection of facts into exciting/interesting story.
Construct story, e.g., phrase the basic idea as series of questions
that the talk answers.
Have one focus; convey a single major message.
B. What do you want the audience to carry away?
What one thing? Is there a need for two or three messages?
Reorder order of sentence outline to lead inexorably to planned take-home
C. Figures/tables should be prepared first. Ideally, figures and tables
carry the main message. Stand-alone captions and good labels
further enhance the figures and strengthen the whole argument.
D. End the presentation with a clearly formulated, concise conclusion.
When this take-home message has been delivered, stop!
Sample policy paper titles from decade ago
Can you guess from titles the points of these policy papers?
The Future of Power, Photovoltaic Cells
Solar power -- perhaps a short-term approach
Global warming is good for you
The Need for Nuclear Propulsion in the Navy's New Destroyer
On the Wonders of High-Speed Rail Travel in Europe
Star Wars II: The Indefensible Defense
Genetically modified food
Experiments on Humans and Animals
The FDA should regulate dietary supplements as it regulates food
Patents on DNA information should not be granted because it
How to develop network security
Giant clam survival requires aquaculture funding and strong
Electromagnetic Interference and The TWA Flight 800 Crash
X-ray Telescope: The Next Generation
Take Home Message (THM)
Motivates (or discourages) potential reader or listener.
Keep material that supports or relates to THM;
Order material to rationally develop THM.
Sends the reader/listener out with clear, memorable point.
To cite this page:
Take Home Message
[Tuesday, 17-Jul-2018 15:26:26 EDT]
Edited by: firstname.lastname@example.org on
Wednesday, 31-Mar-2010 10:46:13 EDT