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Successful Oral Presentations

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  1. Successful Oral Presentations How to present seminars effectively? • The easiest way is to know the ‘tricks of the trade’! Dr. Anne C. Crook Department of Zoology & Animal Ecology University College Cork

  2. Seminar Tricks of the Trade • Know the Audience • Who will you be presenting to? • This will determine the ‘pitch’ of your presentation • Are the audience fellow scientists? • Avoid being too technical/too simplistic • Plan your presentation to interest and stimulate your audience • How large is the audience? • Will determine the medium you use for presentation (OHPs, slides, data projector etc.) • Will determine if you can give handouts • Will interaction work with a large/small audience?

  3. Where does my talk fit in? • You should have a clear understanding of where your talk fits in with other presentations on the day • Who is talking before you? • Will there be other talks on similar or related topics? • This will determine the ‘pitch’ of your presentation • What is the size and layout of the presentation room? • What equipment is available and do you know how to use it (if not, ASK!) • Practice your presentation in the room, if possible • The size of the room can be intimidating so prepare yourself beforehand by viewing the room in advance

  4. Using the equipment • Make sure you know how to use the OHP/slide machine/data projector BEFORE your presentation • Not knowing how the audio-visual equipment works reflects badly on you! • If you are using a data projector in your presentation ensure you are not walking across the beam when you change slides • If using ‘mixed media’, practice the logistics in advance. Plan, plan, plan! • Eye contact • DO NOT talk to your cue card, your feet or the back wall: address the audience! • When pointing out aspects of slides/OHPs, be conscious of where you are standing: try to avoid turning your back on the audience

  5. Content: how much to include? • Choose a section of your research • Summarise your work • Avoid listing all of your results (a common mistake is to include too much text per slide/OHP) • Start with an outline • Provide a title OHP or slide • Keep the presentation in a logical order (plan it well!) • Use Aims, Introduction, Methods, Results & Conclusions format • End with conclusions • Ensure your seminar ends with conclusion(s) • Conclusions should reflect the results you have displayed • End with stimulating points that will cause the audience to think

  6. Text on OHPs or slides • Text on OHPs/slides (including figures/graphs) should be legible from the back of the seminar room • No less than 24 pt. font should be used • Keep font standard throughout the presentation • Avoid using clashing colours: what looks good on-screen may look awful or not be legible when projected! • Place OHPs straight on projector! • Typographical errors are unprofessional • Graphs & Figures • Should be legible from back of room • DO NOT put one up and remove it 3 seconds later! This is a common mistake……. • If you are using graphs etc. TAKE TIME to explain them (use a pointer)

  7. Interest • Choose the ‘sexy stuff’ for your presentation: what will interest the audience? • Make use of colourful slides/ OHPs but ONLY if they are relevant! • A picture paints a thousand words……if used effectively! • Citations • Don’t give nauseatingly long lists of authors on OHPs/slides • Choose the few that are the MOST important to illustrate your point • Use cue cards, if necessary • Memorise or use ‘cue cards’ (numbered) • DO NOT read from cards - you are presenting a science seminar, not a bedtime story: make eye contact with your audience!

  8. Your voice • Speak clearly • Ensure you can be heard at the back of the room (practice beforehand & ask someone to sit at the back of the room) • You may be provided with a microphone - if this is the case, practice speaking with it beforehand) • Try to avoid speaking too quickly: this will come with practice! • Dealing with questions from audience • Most people dread this part…... • Questions are not aimed to catch you out • Try not to waffle: THINK BEFORE YOU SPEAK! • Do not be afraid to turn the question back to the person who asked it if you don’t know the answer

  9. Organisation • Poorly organised presentations reflect badly on you • Number your slides/OHPs so that you can keep track of your progress during your presentation • Ensure the seminar is delivered in a logical sequence: plan, plan, plan! • Rehersal • Practice makes perfect but don’t over-rehearse as this can make you sound tired or bored on the day! • Nerves are perfectly normal, but try not to rush your presentation and be conscious of nervous mannerisms! • Timing • Keep to time • Length will vary depending on context: plan, plan, plan!

  10. Learn from others • Attend other presentations • Look at the good and bad points of other people’s presentations • Learn from other people • Take Time • Communication skills are important, irrespective of whether you are planning a career in science……. • Use your time wisely to perfect these skills

  11. What is wrong with this? • For starters, the text is far too small……..can you read this at the back of the room?! • Typographical errors are unprofesional ……anything wrong hear?! • What is wrong with this figure?