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PRESENTATIONS Overview PRESENTATIONS – THESE MATTER Sad but true – presenting probably matters more than writing in economics. Why: Most academics go to far more seminars then they read full papers

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PRESENTATIONSOverview


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PRESENTATIONS – THESE MATTER

  • Sad but true – presenting probably matters more than writing in economics.

  • Why:

    • Most academics go to far more seminars then they read full papers

    • My guess is people remember the average seminar more than the average paper – certainly the very good/bad ones

    • My guess is people also form opinions strongly on seminar appearances – think of the job market as one example!


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BasicsStructure, preparation and deliveryMiscellaneous


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PRESENTATIONS – THE BASIC (1)

  • Do’s

  • Use 24 (or minimum 20) point font:

    • Easy to read

    • If you need smaller font, there’s too much on the slide

  • Use trackers to break down sections – provides structure

  • Dont’s

  • Use many fonts, colors, sizes unless necessary. This is distracting.

  • Use backgrounds (picture of a mountain, colored shapes etc..)

  • Avoid too much junk repeated on every slide (like this)


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    PRESENTATIONS – THE BASICS (2)

    Look at the audience (not screen/PC). This requires preparation

    Scan the audience – engages people and gives you feedback

    Speak loudly – enough so everyone can hear

    Speak at a reasonable (slow-enough pace)

    Smile and appear relaxed (even if you’re not) – people take cues from you

    Keep going even if things go badly – it is hard to assess how things are going during a presentation


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    BasicsStructure, style, preparation and deliveryMiscellaneous


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    PRESENTATIONS – STRUCTURE

    • A good presentation should have a rough story – for example:

      • Here is an interesting fact – ideally graphical

      • Here is the unresolved question

      • Here is the summary of my answer

      • Here is my answer in more detail

        • Model

        • Empirics

    • An ideal paper has a some results which are ex ante intuitive (predictable but comforting) and some which are only ex-post intuitive (interesting)

    • You should be able to give your 5-minute and 1-minute version of your paper – I end up having to do this all the time


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    PRESENTATIONS – STYLE

    • Only use equations if required – most human-brains struggle with these – never include these to “look smart” (very 1980s….)

    • Try to use graphs if possible – much easier to understand

    • I also like action leads for graphs (titles that summarize the main point on the page) - see examples on next slides

      • These are also best for policy/business presentations

      • Downside of these for academic seminars is less flexibility


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    FIRM LEVEL DISTRIBUTION OF MANAGEMENT SCORES BY COUNTRY

    STANDARD LEAD

    Franceaverage=3.14

    n=137

    Germanyaverage=3.31

    n=157

    UKaverage=3.07

    n=154

    USaverage=3.35

    n=290


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    THERE IS A WIDE FIRM LEVEL SPREAD IN EVERY COUNTRY, WITH LONG TAILS IN THE UK & FRANCE

    ACTION LEAD

    Franceaverage=3.14

    n=137

    Germanyaverage=3.31

    n=157

    UKaverage=3.07

    n=154

    USaverage=3.35

    n=290


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    PRESENTATIONS – PREPARATION (1) LONG TAILS IN THE UK & FRANCE

    • You need to practice to be good. Do this at least the day before

    • My rule of thumb is to spend 2/3 time producing, 1/3 practice

    • Practice means saying the complete slide pack out-loud from start to finish with a watch. This helps

      • Timing – the only way to do this

      • Content – you improve this by having to say it

      • Wording – you work out what sounds natural

      • Delivery – much more fluid and confident

    • Do this whenever you change format (i.e. a 30 min AEA session)


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    PRESENTATIONS – PREPARATION (2) LONG TAILS IN THE UK & FRANCE

    • Check the room out in advance – move furniture if necessary.

      • You want some space to move around

      • Avoid any leads around your feet

      • Have a chair to perch on for questions if needed

      • Clear some space to put your pad for note

      • Don’t leave your water next to your laptop - once at Cowles I knocked my bottle straight onto it, and water poured into it….

    • Also try to set-up 10 minutes early to avoid disasters and start calm

    • Prepare responses to possible questions – practice saying these!


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    PRESENTATIONS – DELIVERY (1) LONG TAILS IN THE UK & FRANCE

    Always always always be polite! In particular never suggest a question is stupid in any way (even if it is).

    Use peoples first names wherever possible

    Refer back to people that asked questions earlier – do this as much as possible

    Refer to peoples work if it is relevant to you presentation. This requires research – guess your audience and scan their work

    Always appear calm and relaxed even if the questions are tough

    You can park one question a seminar – i.e. say “that’s a good question”, repeat to clarify, then say “let me think about that”


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    PRESENTATIONS – DELIVERY (2) LONG TAILS IN THE UK & FRANCE

    • Use a pen and paper and write down many comments:

      • Hard to remember stuff

      • Makes it clear you are not ignoring questions

  • You want lots of questions – if the audience is silent try pausing as you might be too fast (i.e. drink, appear to think etc…)

  • Have a bottle of water – also drink when pushed for time…

  • Take a clicker – then use the red-dot to intimidate anyone with nasty questions Terminator 2 style. Shine it in their face ……(only kidding)


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    Basics LONG TAILS IN THE UK & FRANCEStructure, preparation and deliveryMiscellaneous


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    PRESENTATIONS – OTHER MISCALLENEOUS (1) LONG TAILS IN THE UK & FRANCE

    • Be very wary of “work-in-progress” seminars – unfortunate but true, you are always being judged

    • If you have a good paper (your job-market paper) keep presenting:

      • It disseminates your work

      • It disseminates you

      • You continue to get useful feedback for a long-time

  • Have a large set of backup slides. Use these to include:

    • Response to possible questions (looks prepared)

    • Topics which are interesting but tangential

  • But, try to avoid flicking too much in presentations – disorientating

  • Close all open background programs before presenting


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    PRESENTATIONS – OTHER MISCALLENEOUS (2) LONG TAILS IN THE UK & FRANCE

    Always use your own laptop if possible – you know yours works…

    Get practice wherever possible – still after about 50+ seminars I am definitely learning. So apply for PhD seminars, conferences, internal workshops, overseas presentations…

    Best bet is to dress “Smart-casual” – i.e. slacks and a shirt. Suit & tie only for policy/business presentations or Rookie market

    Timing – for a 1.5 hour seminar prepare to talk for 1 hour, leaving about 30 minutes for questions

    Plan ahead – so work out which sections to drop if time runs short.

    Occasional humours works well in longer seminars to help keep people engaged (if you can manage this)


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    PRESENTATIONS – OTHER MISCALLENEOUS (3) LONG TAILS IN THE UK & FRANCE

    • On your website load your most recent version of the paper and the presentation – provides back-up in case of disaster

    • Also prepare a PDF of your slides in advance – this is computer robust (i.e. works on every machine)

    • Do not worry too much about Powerpoint vs Beamer

      • In macro people use Beamer more (in labor PP more)

      • I would go with whichever is easiest

    • Try to avoid referring to tables/figures/pages in the paper – many people will go to these immediately and you lose their attention


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    SUMMARY LONG TAILS IN THE UK & FRANCE

    • Presenting is mostly a question of practice and preparation

    • It is never predictable, but you can maximise through the steps on:

      • Structure

      • Style

      • Delivery

      • And most of all practice, practice, practice