Talk Stuff
Common features of both talks.

  1. Use viewgraphs, see guide later
  2. Meet with instructor to discuss a draft of your viewgraphs.
  3. On day of talk and prior to giving it, bring copies of viewgraphs and the sentence outline for instructors to consult during the talk and later in trying to understand peer review
  4. Peer review will be used in assessing the grade
    • Question/answer session immediately follows the talk.
    • The talk and subsequent question session will be assessed by questionnaire filled in by each member of the audience.
    • Grade based solely on peer assessment.
  5. If not using computer projection, ask for help with alternatives. If unused to public presentation with computer projection, please experiment with mounting the talk, showing it and repeatedly practicing the talk, preferential with a small audience that will supply candid appraisal.
  6. Suggestions for improving viewgraphs will be given at any time.

Turning the Idea into a Talk

Assessing the audience
Don't bore them; don't omit essentials.
Adjust technical level so audience takes away science content.
Seek/develop good visual material to make points.
Manipulate images for max effect (use friends).
Restrict topics to achieve effective, clear communication.
Take home message
What do you want the audience to carry away?
What one thing? Is there a need for two or three messages?
Do sentence outline (one main point per viewgraph).
Revise.   revise = tighten/cut & rewrite/reorder)
   a. What is point of each viewgraph?
   b. What order leads inexorably to take-home message?
Main point is headline on vg — cut to fit on single line.

Guidelines for an Effective Presentation
Tell 'em what you're gonna tell 'em,
then tell 'em,
then tell 'em what you've told 'em.

  1. Devices for shaping a presentation in an effective perspective
    1. An informative title indicates the scope of the presentation.
    2. In the introductory segment "zoom in" to the topic.
      At the end, "zoom out."
    3. Identify underlying questions presentation seeks to address
      (long talk: divide questions into hierarchy of subquestions);
      presentation is a series of answers to these questions.
  2. The mainstream of the talk should address a single focus issue, tuned to the interest of the audience.
    • Omit information not directly relevant to presentation's focus.
    • Keep sidetracks brief and always return to the same point.
    • Avoid backtracking.
  3. Statements -- constituting the mainstream of the presentation -- should delineate a clear, logical line of thought.
    • Unambiguously formulate scientific concepts.
    • Avoid professional jargon.
  4. End presentation with a clearly formulated, concise conclusion.
    When this take-home message has been delivered, stop!
Most importantly,
Communicate with your audience: articulation & eye contact.
Convey enthusiasm about your work.

Talk Tips

Time. Don't exceed your allotted time; generally keep presentation to 80% of the allotted time. [In the course, can use full time.]

Content. Can you summarize in few well-constructed sentences?

Structure. A well-prepared abstract (for "poster" advertising talk)
                   an organized set of well-chosen viewgraphs,
                   a concise `cheat-sheet,' and
                   an outline to keep you on track during talk.

Know your stuff. Accurate, well-phrased scientific descriptions portray speaker as a knowledgeable, reliable source of information.

Rehearse. Always rehearse a presentation. For each talk, prepare from scratch, always with the specific audience in mind.

Formulation and Argumentation. Talk proceeds as a logical unfolding of information; each step firmly based on the previous one.

To communicate effectively, avoid jargon. Speech reflects thought processes; often an imprecise speaker is an unfocused thinker.

Delivery. As in writing, the end of the sentence is the stress position; the audience expects most important or new information (here).

Slowing down is a remedy for 90% of prepared speakers' problems.

Looking at audience members establishes that you are not just in front of them, but talking to them.

Rules for Viewgraphs

Most important: keep them: clean, simple, necessary to the story line.

Viewgraph number vs. content amount

Agreement exists on:


To cite this page:
Talk Stuff
[Thursday, 14-Dec-2017 21:38:34 EST]
Edited by: on Monday, 05-Apr-2010 10:58:28 EDT