How to Give a Journal Club Talk BIO425 Randal Voss January 13, 2007
Journal Club Presentations • In graduate school (or some other life venue) you will be asked to give a presentation on a specific topic. • Remember that the primary goal of any talk is learning: you must gauge your audience and present information in a way that motivates interest and participation. • So how do you accomplish the primary goal?
Gauging Your Audience • In BIO425, you can assume that students will • have a general knowledge of biological concepts • (e.g. concepts from the core courses). However, • because students take different elective courses, • your talk should provide sufficient background • information and you should deliver that • information without using a lot of technical jargon.
Preparation • Be prepared! Practice your talk before giving it the first time. It may help to write the complete talk out, however you should be able to give the talk with minimal notes. • If you are prepared, you will have confidence and be able to relax. It also helps to remind yourself that you are the expert and members of your audience are ignorant (but want to learn).
Pace of the Presentation • There is no rule of thumb on the pace of a presentation. Some people are effective fast-talkers, while others articulate points better at slower speeds. Most people can cover approximately 25-30 slides in a 40 minute talk.
Presentation Media • Most people will give a computer presentation using powerpoint or pdf. Have a general sense of the layout of the slides in your presentation so that you will anticipate transitions in your presentation. Please email me your presentation before class or bring me a copy on CD or flashdrive.
Presentation Style (cont.) • Reverse video (light on dark) is sometimes effective for Powerpoint and tends to be easier to read.
Presentation Content • You have been assigned 1 review paper. • Use the review paper (and references within the review paper) to develop your talk. You can develop one or all areas in your review paper. I will be looking to see how you bring in other information to augment the review paper. For example, you could bring in data from papers that are cited in the review paper.
Presentation Content • I am hoping that you spend some time in the literature developing your talk. In other words, I am hoping that you identify some points raised in the review paper that need clarification or would be interesting to see in terms of the data and results in the cited paper. • It might turn out that some of the points raised in a review paper are not well supported by the literature cited.
Delivery of Information • For each major section of your talk, tell the audience what you will talk about on an introductory slide. Next, give that section of the talk. Finally, summarize what you just talked about. This strategy makes the logic clearer in scientific talks.
Delivery of Information • For each slide, it helps to first introduce the main idea of the slide or to state simply what the slide shows. After carefully describing all aspects of the slide (e.g. axes on graphs), you should make a short summary statement to help transition to the next slide.
Delivery of Information • Each slide should convey only one major idea or point. The moment you put a new slide up, everyone will stop listening to you and read the slide. If your slide contains small text, is hard to understand, or contains a lot of material, you will lose your audience until they have figured it out.
Delivery of Information • However, sometimes you have to show a complex slide. You can keep control of your audience by revealing part of the slide, talking about it, and then revealing the rest. Do it with a simple hide/show. Do not use goofy effects.
Delivery of Information • Use the actual figures from papers. Figure legends are usually not suitable for slides. Remove them, and write your own in large text that is simple and clear. Sometimes it is preferable to retype tables too, if the text is small and cluttered.
Presentation Grade • Presentations represent 40% of your grade! If you need help on any aspect of your presentation, please contact me well ahead of your scheduled presentation. I am here to help. • You will be graded on the presentation of • material, the content of the presentation, and your ability to answer questions. • I will likely reward students with bonus points throughout the semester for asking GOOD questions.