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Andrew Cornelius. Scientific Presentations. How to (and how not to) Give an Effective Scientific Presentation. Top ten fears of Americans. Public Speaking Heights Insects Financial Problems Deep Water Sickness Death Flying Loneliness Dogs. Why do you need to speak?.

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Scientific presentations

Andrew Cornelius

Scientific Presentations

How to (and how not to) Give an Effective Scientific Presentation


Top ten fears of americans

Top ten fears of Americans

  • Public Speaking

  • Heights

  • Insects

  • Financial Problems

  • Deep Water

  • Sickness

  • Death

  • Flying

  • Loneliness

  • Dogs


Why do you need to speak

Why do you need to speak?

  • Publications lag 1-2 years behind discovery

    • Talks at scientific meetings are current!!

  • Your future job depends on talks

    • You are evaluated by everyone as student

    • Your talks reflect on advisor

    • You will give candidate talks

  • Interviewers make conclusions in first 3 minutes


Introduction

Introduction


Outline

OUTLINE

  • Introduction

  • Experimental

  • Results

  • Discussion

  • Conclusions

  • Future Work


Outline1

Introduction

Experimental

Results

Discussion

Conclusions

Future Work

Don’t overuse “gee whiz effects”

Make sure material is relevant

Use simple backgrounds

Use “normal” fonts

At least 18 pt (24 better) – this text is 20 pt

Use “normal” colors

Do not use red and green as contrasting colors

Only use for emphasis

Check before using!!!

Don’t use this outline!!!

45 wasted seconds

Outline

Normal: 5

Red/Green Color Blind: 2


Outline2

Outline

  • Before you start preparing your talk

    • Know your audience

    • Know the length of your talk

    • Know the style of your talk

  • Preparing the talk

    • Choosing and organizing the content

    • Preparing slides

    • Don’t overdo methods part of talk

  • Giving the talk

    • Grab and hold audiences attention

  • General information


Know your audience

Know your audience

  • How large will the group be?

  • Experts

    • Eliminate introductory material

    • Can be much more focused on the “interesting” results

  • Novices

    • Assume your audience is intelligent but knows nothing

    • 80% of material should be introductory

  • Mixed

    • Most difficult

    • 60% of material should be introductory


Length of talk

Length of talk

  • 12-15 minutes

    • Contributed conference talks

    • Most difficult!!

    • Limit talk to 10 minutes

    • Only make 2-3 points

  • 30 minutes

    • Invited conference talks

    • Journal club presentations

    • Limit talk to 20 minutes

  • 60 minutes

    • Invited talks

    • Special seminars

    • Limit talk to 50 minutes


Know the style of your talk

Know the style of your talk

  • Persuasive

  • Instructional

    • This talk!!

  • Informative

    • Normal for scientific meetings

  • Formal or informal?

    • Hard to time informal


Choosing and organizing the content

Choosing and organizing the content

  • What are trying to tell audience?

    • Tell them what you are going to tell them, tell them, tell them what you told them

    • 2-3 points for 15 minute talks

    • 3-5 points for 30 minute talks

    • 4-6 points for 1 hour talks

  • Write a basic outline

    • Make a rough draft with slides

  • Figure out how many slides you can use

    • Slides without graphics should be up for at least 30 sec

    • Slides with graphics should be up for at least 1 min

  • Keep it simple, stupid!!!!!

    • Cut what is not necessary


Preparing slides with text

Preparing slides with text

  • Use white or light color backgrounds

  • Don’t use lists with more than 6 items

    • Break into multiple slides

  • Don’t use complete sentences

    • Try to keep list items to 6 words or less (unlike this one!!!)

  • Don’t use abbreviations or acronyms


Preparing slides with graphics

Preparing slides with graphics

  • Graphics add to viewer retention

  • Try to avoid large lists

  • Keep graphics simple

    • Use white or light colored backgrounds

    • 10% of male population color blind

  • Make ALL text readable


Talking about human error

Talking about human error

  • Know your audience

    • Intro physics students

  • Know the length of your talk

    • 10 minutes

  • Know the style of your talk

    • Informative

  • Choosing and organizing the content

    • Space travel

  • What are trying to tell audience?

    • 2-3 points for 15 minute talks

      • Humans make mistakes

      • Units are important

      • Don’t “make” your answer agree with expectations

  • Figure out how many slides you can use

    • Try to limit to 2 slides with text (beginning and end) and 5 or 6 with graphics

  • Keep it simple (and interesting), stupid!!!!!


Human errors and space program

Human errors and space program

  • Space program driven by scientists

    • Humans make mistakes

    • Many disasters caused by human error

  • Never forget units in your calculations

  • Don’t “make” your answer agree with expectations


Space program failures

Space Program Failures

  • Project Mercury had a FORTRAN syntax error such as DO I=1.10 (not 1,10).

  • Gemini V 100mi landing error, program ignored orbital motion around sun

  • Atlas-Agena software missing hyphen; $18.5M rocket destroyed

  • Aries with $1.5M payload lost: wrong resistor in guidance system

  • NASA HESSI shake test 10 times too strong, damaging spacecraft


Appollo 13

Appollo 13

  • Tank 2 Salvaged from Apollo 10 was accidentally dropped 2”

  • Switch designed to run at 28 V

  • Apollo 13 “upgraded” to 65 V

  • Switch burned into open position – O tank reached 1000° F and 1000 psi


Delta ii spacecraft

Delta II spacecraft

  • January 17, 1997

  • $55 million dollar rocket

  • $40 million dollar new generation GPS satellite

  • “Steering” error


Titan 4a spacecraft

Titan 4A spacecraft

  • Second most expensive accident

  • August 12, 1998

  • $1 billion ??? Payload

    • Top secret communications intelligence satellite

  • Battery power lost momentarily

    • Veered off course

    • Intentionally destroyed


Space shuttle challenger

Space shuttle challenger

  • Most expensive space accident

  • Jan 28, 1986

  • $2B lost (along with seven crew members)

  • O-Ring failure (cold o-rings didn’t seal and were burned by H-O mixture)

  • Roger Boisjoly sent memos out before


Approaching scientific problems

Approaching scientific problems

  • Formulate problem

  • Try to find solution

  • Measure

    • Carefully document findings (use units!)

  • Compare expected value and result

    • If different, why? (explore all options!)

    • Computers don’t always give right answer


Mars orbiter

Mars orbiter


Conclusions

Conclusions

  • Space program driven by scientists

    • Humans make mistakes

    • Many disasters caused by human error

  • Never forget units in your calculations

    • Almost all answers in physics use units!!

    • Use SI units when possible

  • Don’t “make” your answer agree with expectations

    • Mars orbiter could have been saved

    • Computers are only as smart as the programmer


Why did i show this

Why did I show this?

  • Good example of choosing graphics to enhance points

  • Only tried to get across 3 points

  • I placed at the 20 minute mark

    • Average attention span of alert audience


Principles of an effective talk

Principles of an effective talk

  • Communicate your arguments and evidence

  • Persuade your audience that what you say is true

  • Be interesting and entertaining

  • Grab and hold audience’s attention


Why use graphics

Why usegraphics?

  • Picture is worth many words

    • In this case 700

    • Color would enhance

  • The medium allows use of graphics

  • Maximized retention

    • 5x higher with sight and sound

  • Properly cite material

Edward R. Tufte, The Visual Display of Quantitative

Information. Graphics Press(2001)


Making a decent figure

Making a decent figure

Bad

Better


More on graphics

More on graphics

  • Only use equations if absolutely necessary

  • If you use equations

    • Slow down

    • Talk through step by step

    • Explain relevence


Giving the best possible talk

Giving the best possible talk

  • Make eye contact

  • Don’t have nervous tendencies

    • Pacing, bobbing, waving arms, jingling coins, etc.

  • Hold pointer still

    • Don’t point directly at overhead on projector

  • Enunciate

    • Make yourself slow down if necessary

  • Avoid “uh”, “like”, “um”, “okay” etc

  • Be enthusiastic

  • Don’t block the screen

    • Project as high as possible


Giving the best possible talk cont

Giving the best possible talk (cont)

  • Face the audience

  • Do not read what is on your overheads verbatim

  • Never allow a blank screen to flash by

    • However, don’t leave a slide up too long – put a black slide up if necessary

  • Try to relax

    • Can be difficult

  • Do NOT go over allotted time

    • Don’t end with “I guess that’s it”

    • Will get cut off at meetings


Know your material

Know your material

It takes three weeks to prepare a good ad-lib speech

  • Practice, practice, practice

  • Focus on communicating, not performing

    • Humor good, but this isn’t stand up

  • Keep it simple

  • Prepare key phrases

    • Okay to write out material first

    • Write down the point to make for each slide

      • If you don’t have a point, eliminate slide!!!

  • Stay on track

    • Small digressions fine (shows you are paying attention to audience)


More advice

More advice

  • Bring a copy of your slides if giving a PowerPoint presentation

  • Fill the screen

  • Don’t cover up portions of overheads

  • Don’t argue with questioners

  • Practice, practice, practice

    • Practice with slides

    • Find someone to listen

    • Record presentation

      • Video

      • Microsoft Producer


Conclusions1

Conclusions

  • Preparation is crucial

  • Graphics enhance retention

  • Be relaxed and (try to) keep audience attention

  • Finish on time

  • The more you practice, the better you will get


More material

More material

  • Go on Google and try “scientific talk” or “scientific presentation”

  • Physics Today articles

  • ONR article

  • 10 Commandments to give a bad talk

  • I will make this presentation available on my web site


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