Secrets of Real-Life Learning Process
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Secrets of Real-Life Learning Process in Scientific Presentation Raghavan B. Sunoj Professor of Chemistry IIT Bombay. R.B.SUNOJ. Disclaimer!. Characters presented or enacted in this talk are so real that any coincidence with many in the audience shall only be deemed deliberate.

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Disclaimer

Secrets of Real-Life Learning Process in Scientific PresentationRaghavan B. SunojProfessor of ChemistryIIT Bombay


Disclaimer

R.B.SUNOJ

Disclaimer!

  • Characters presented or enacted in this talk are so real that any coincidence with many in the audience shall only be deemed deliberate.

  • I can only say sorry, after the talk, if you want me to do so.


Disclaimer

R.B.SUNOJ

Outline

1. Content Creation

2. Preparation and Practice

3. Delivery: On Stage Tips

4. Improvement: A Continuous Process


Attitude

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Attitude

The secret of joy in work is contained in one word – excellence.

To know how to do something well is to enjoy it.

Pearl S. Buck (Nobel laureate, literature 1938)

Picture courtesy: cartoonstock.com (accessed on Feb 10, 2011)


Contents most important

R.B.SUNOJ

Contents: Most Important

Understand the topic very well

Forms the basis of confidence (poorer the contents lower the confidence)

Should spend quite a bit of time in deciding what is to be (a) included, (b) stressed, and (c) flashed.

Know your audience

Never underestimate the audience. A good assessment of to whom you are going to talk to would be a bonus.


Contents continued

R.B.SUNOJ

Contents (continued)

Order of slides (Flow): Do you want to tell a story to the audience ?

or

You want them to make a story on your presentation?


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Flow: Streamline ? Turbulent ? Chaotic ?

I come from haunts of coot and hern

I make a sudden sally

And sparkle out among the fern

To bicker down a valley.

By thirty hills I hurry down,

Or slip between the ridges,

By twenty thorps, a little town,

And half a hundred bridges.

Till last by Philip's farm I flow

To join the brimming river,

For men may come and men may go,But I go on forever.

‘The Brook’ (Alfred Lord Tennyson)


Contents continued1

R.B.SUNOJ

Contents (continued)

Decide on sequence of slides

You MUST know what slide comes next and what was the previous one. (Avoid back and forth movements between different slides)

In introduction: Describe background of the work with due credit to other people who have done similar work ahead of you (citations)

Good to have supporting slides (after a blank slide), which could even include answers to potential questions.


Preparing slides

Preparing slides

Font size: Minimum of 24 (in PowerPoint)

The size of the seminar room can vary, hence minimum font size should be adhered to. Even those sit in the last row should find it comfortable to read.

Color: Text should use dark colors like black or blue. Other colors are better reserved for emphasizing.

Highlights/underline etc., are good too.

Avoid using light colors.

Language: Simple and ‘telegraphic’ is better than long sentences.

R.B.SUNOJ


Preparing slides continued

Preparing slides (continued)

Contents : Clarity is the prime goal

Text

Do not pour too much text

In case, it can not be avoided use ‘animation’ effectively. Bring blocks of text, one at a time.

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Tables and Data

  • Avoid data intensive tables

  • Try using ‘representative’ set of data.

  • Use highlighting to bring additional emphasis on the most important numbers in a table


High on text

High on Text

R.B.SUNOJ

As matters stand today, many teachers are unable to do the best of which they are capable. For this there are a number of reasons, some more or less accidental, others very deep-seated. To begin with the former, most teachers are over-worked and are compelled to prepare their pupils for examinations rather than to give them a liberalizing metal training. The people who are not accustomed to teaching – and this includes practically all education authorities – have no idea of the expense of spirit that it involves. Clergymen are not expected to preach sermons for several hours every day, but the analogous effort is demanded of teachers. The result is that many of them become harassed and nervous, out of touch with recent work in the subjects that they teach, and unable inspire their students with a sense of the intellectual delights to be obtained from new understanding and new knowledge.

Bertrand Russell (‘The Functions of a Teacher’ from Unpopular Essays)


High on text1

High on Text

R.B.SUNOJ

As matters stand today, many teachers are unable to do the best of which they are capable. For this there are a number of reasons, some more or less accidental, others very deep-seated.

Clergymen are not expected to preach sermons for several hours every day, but the analogous effort is demanded of teachers. The result is that many of them become harassed and nervous, out of touch with recent work in the subjects that they teach, and unable inspire their students with a sense of intellectual delights to be obtained from new understanding and new knowledge.

To begin with the former, most teachers are over-worked and are compelled to prepare their pupils for examinations rather than to give them a liberalizing metal training.

The people who are not accustomed to teaching – and this includes practically all education authorities- have no idea of the expense of spirit that it involves.


Disclaimer

R.B.SUNOJ

Handling data-intensive slides (Example)

anti-addition is more preferred


Preparing slides continued1

Preparing slides (continued)

Uniformity and appearance

Graphics

Having a ‘theme’ is good.

Each slide should preferably have a heading

Do not think that slides with a heavy dose of graphics would please ‘them’

[Cake (content) is a must! Graphics is just an icing on the cake]

Do not spend too much time ‘decorating’ your slides. If you have buffer time after the contents are ready, you may want to ‘beautify’ the slides

R.B.SUNOJ


Preparing slides continued2

Preparing slides (continued)

Uniformity and appearance

Figures should be of good quality, readable from distance

May include slide numbers

R.B.SUNOJ


Now that you have your slides ready what next

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Now that you have your slides ready ….What next?


Disclaimer

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1. Content Creation

2. Preparation and Practice

3. Delivery: On Stage Tips

4. Improvement: A Continuous Process


Preparation and practice

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Preparation and Practice

Fight-or-flight

Picture courtesy: cartoonstock.com (accessed on Feb 10, 2011)


Preparation and practice1

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Preparation and Practice

Don’t be casual: Learning how to give a talk is an important step in ones career.

Beginners: First, practice in front of a mirror (closed door)

Practice: Close your eyes and DREAM

Next, give mock presentations to a friendly group of people


Preparation and practice2

R.B.SUNOJ

Preparation and Practice

Time management is important

(recommendation: about 2 minutes per slide for results and discussion)

Avoid elaborate introduction

Do not pack 30 slides for a 10 minutes presentation (numbers would vary depending on your natural speed of speech)


Disclaimer

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1. Content Creation

2. Preparation and Practice

3. Delivery: On Stage Tips

4. Improvement: A Continuous Process


Disclaimer

You are on stage!

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Its time to perform


On stage first minute

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On stage: First minute

Not a 100 M dash! [Go slow to begin with]

Do not rush to the stage

A smiling face is the best way to greet

Spend about 30 seconds doing nothing!

check the collar mike, adjust its position,

talk soft,

read the title,

check the pointer-as if you have invented it

Suppose you are still tensed (take a deep breath)

It is okay to carry a bottle of water with you on stage

Dry mouth should be immediately addressed


Do not worry about being judged

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Do not worry about being judged

Do your job as best as you can.

The stage belongs to you, and only you!

It is an opportunity to perform


On stage next few minutes

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On stage: Next few minutes

Start looking at the audience

If you see just darkness, you are not alone!

Faces would soon become clear!

Avoid looking at the roof, sky, and the stars

(Those are not going to help!)


Non verbal communication

Non-verbal Communication

Talk to the audience (not to your own slides)

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Slides are for audience NOT for you to read: AVOID reading from slides

Slides are only a reinforcement tool to convey what you want to convey.

Picture courtesy: TM2.com and pollsb.com (accessed on Feb 10, 2011)


On stage next few minutes1

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On stage: Next few minutes

The key is

Talk to me, I will forget

Show me, I will understand

Involve me, I will remember

Do not look at your supervisor! Look at ‘friendly’ faces around.

Scan different blocks of your audience

(You can readily spot sleeping beauties and disinterested folks out there: Never mind)

Try to move around, rather than staying static (like a statue!)


Speech

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Speech

Stick to natural (yours) English speaking

Use simple words that you are familiar with

You don’t have to speak like a native English speaker.

Avoid mugging someone’s text

“I was simbleee going from POOST OOFFICE to HOOSTEL OOFFICE

To find bhare (where) my bhile (file) was. At last I found it underrr my TABAL (table). I then took an AAPPAL (apple) and raaaaann to the class ..e’ But I was lat-eahh (late)


Speech continued

R.B.SUNOJ

Modulations and demodulations are important

(e.g., when periodic or ‘local’ summary is stated

When major digressions or deviations are taken)

Speech (continued)

Speak loud and clear (do not murmur)

Don’t go too fast

Don’t go too slow either

Picture courtesy: savagechickens.com (accessed on Feb 10, 2011)


Words to avoid

Words to avoid

“this thing”,

“that thing”

“ki”

“tho”

Matlab “math – lab”

R.B.SUNOJ

Borrowed from ‘Junta’s Dictionary’ (IIT Bombay)!

मतलब


Now that the talk is over what next

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Now that the talk is over ….What next?


Taking questions

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Taking questions

Listen to the questions carefully

If the question is good, say that it’s a good question, and answer

If you do not know an immediate answer, try taking some time, THINK, and respond.

If you have no clue, say that ‘I am sorry, I can’t answer that’


Disclaimer

R.B.SUNOJ

1. Content Creation

2. Preparation and Practice

3. Delivery: On Stage Tips

4. Improvement: A Continuous Process


Continuous improvements

R.B.SUNOJ

Continuous improvements

Learn from other speakers when you attend conferences

Time-management would improve as you gain more experience

e.g., No fixed number of slides are required, instead you can take a decision ‘on-stage’ (with larger number than what is required)

Speed up and slow down after looking at elapsed time

Humor would add value. Preplanned humor often does not work (beware!)


What i have tried to do

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What I have tried to do ….

As one person I cannot change the world,

but I can change the world of one person

Paul Shane Spear


What you could do

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Yesterday is a cancelled check

Tomorrow is a promissory note

Today is the only cash you have

So spend it wisely

What you could do ….

Sandra Carey


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