Dazzle 'em with Style: The Art of Oral Scientific Presentation
See note at end.

Robert R H Anholt, Copyright 1994 by W H Freeman and Company

Preparing a Scientific Presentation

Identify your audience
Structure your material
Know your stuff

The Structure of a Scientific Presentation

The title: information in a nutshell
Context and perspective: Zooming in
Telling a story
Mainstream and Sidetracks.
Formulation and Argumentation
The conclusion: brief and to the point

Overhead Transparencies

The three most important points for transparencies (and slides):
Most audiences find equations intimidating and are likely to "tune out" as soon as one appears on the screen. [jww: If you must use an equation, define the science of all symbols before the equation.]
Some general rules
Rules for figures
Poster presentation: the young scientist's debut performance
Last points


Voice Control and Eye Contact
Effective use of the voice, eye contact, posture, gestures, and enthusiasm distinguish a routine presentation from a memorable one.
Foreign speakers who have severe language problems giving a scientific presentation should:
Posture and gestures.
Enthusiasm: the indispensable ingredient.
Answering questions.
The most important advice to remember is,


  1. Three devices can put a presentation in the desired perspective.

    1. Indicate the scope of the presentation by an informative title.

    2. "Zoom in" to the topic during the introductory segment of the presentation and "zoom out" near its end.

    3. Decide on the underlying question that 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.

  2. 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.

  3. The statements constituting the mainstream of the presentation should delineate a clear, logical line of thought. Formulate explanations of scientific concepts and experimental (or theoretical) methodology unambiguously, without professional jargon.

  4. The presentation should end with a clearly formulated, concise conclusion. When the take-home message has been delivered, stop.

Note: The book "Dazzle 'em with Style: The Art of Oral Scientific Presentation" is a required text in Physics 596; all students must buy and read it. This summary is intended only for students in that course to re-emphasize central points in the book. Any other use is unauthorized and violates the copyright law.

Your comments and suggestions are appreciated.
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Dazzle 'em with Style
[Monday, 24-Sep-2018 21:26:55 EDT]
Edited by: wilkins@mps.ohio-state.edu on Saturday, 18-Oct-2008 15:41:11 EDT