Setting the Tone
(style or manner of expression)

Structure of presentation

Title → give information in a nutshell
Context and perspective: zooming in
Start with general principle, then focus in on topic:
   (1) tells audience relevance to broader vision;
   (2) defines intellectual borders of talk.
Telling a story
Turns collection of facts into exciting/interesting story.
Story should have one focus: the take-home message.
Formulation and Argumentation
Talk proceeds as a logical unfolding of information.
Speech reflects clear thought; avoid jargon.
Pointing out limits of explanation enhances credibility.
Conclusion: brief and to the point
Zooming out to major scientific idea at the start.
Conclusion makes final impression on your audience.
Conclusion should be firm, decisive, concise and coherent.
Only talk-home message may be remembered.


Articulation and eye contact are most important.
Take time to articulate every word of each sentence clearly.
Voice control has several interrelated properties: sound (e.g., accent), volume, speed and rhythm.
Stress at sentence's end where audience expects new info.
Nervous, hurried speech leads to inaccurate articulation.
Monotony is greatest enemy to maintaining interest.
Slowing down will solve most speakers' problems.
Eye contact ensures you talk to listeners, not at them.
Genuine enthusiasm is 90% of a speaker's success.
Answering questions.
Discourage impulsive ad hoc questions that deflect focus.
But question may reveal omitted essential info.
A clarifying question can get talk back on track.
Always answer questions briefly and to the point.
Useful to repeat question, rephrasing it for audience clarity.
Always a good idea to be polite and gracious.


  1. Three devices can set perspective.
  2. Talk focuses on single issue, tailored to audience.
  3. Talk must delineate a clear, logical line of thought.
  4. Avoid jargon; prepare clear explanations of science.
  5. Presentation ends with clear, concise THM. Stop!

To cite this page:
Setting the tone
[Thursday, 14-Dec-2017 23:41:15 EST]
Edited by: on Monday, 06-Apr-2009 18:45:18 EDT