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Developing & Delivering Effective Presentations Instructor: Karen Ramorino Ed.D. Manager, Berkeley Lab Institute Introduction: What is so challenging about presentations… What is most difficult about developing and delivering presentations?

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developing delivering effective presentations

Developing & Delivering Effective Presentations

Instructor: Karen Ramorino Ed.D.

Manager, Berkeley Lab Institute

introduction this course has three primary learning objectives
Introduction:This course has three primary learning objectives…
  • To identify what makes an effective presentation
  • To improve understanding of how todevelop and prepare for a presentation
  • Tips for presentation delivery
introduction what s needed for participation
Introduction:What’s needed for participation...

Idea or draft of your next presentation

Course Material: Presentation Planning Worksheet

This presentation can be downloaded at so don’t worry about writing down details

introduction what is the purpose of presentations
Introduction:What is the purpose of presentations…

Why do we give presentations?

What is the purpose?

introduction types of presentations
Introduction:Types of presentations


  • University scientific colloquium
  • Scientific conference presentation
  • Talk to funding agency (asking for funding)
  • Job talk


  • Division / program review talk
  • Interviews
  • Outreach presentation (e.g. association meetings or conferences, after dinner speech)
  • Presentation to management, discussion with staff
introduction poor presentations can have serious consequences
Introduction:Poor presentationscan have serious consequences…

1986 explosion of theChallenger spacecraft

shortly after takeoff.

Morton Thiokol engineers made a weak and unsuccessful presentation to convince NASA to delay the launch.

The explosion killed all seven crew members on board.

introduction some consequences are only embarrassing
Introduction:Some consequences are only embarrassing…

J. Robert Oppenheimer

in his first semester teaching at UC Berkeley (1929):

By mid-semester all but one student had dropped out. Students couldn’t understand what he was saying.

agenda four considerations shape the presentation
Agenda:Four considerations shape the presentation…




Visual Aids

audience what is effective about this presentation start
Audience: What is effective about this presentation start?

Speech on Energy Crisis:

Director Steve Chu

At Lab’s 2005 Summer Lecture Series

  • How does he engage the mixed audience?
  • Do we know what he plans on talking about?
  • What kind of delivery style does he use?
audience essential for success
Audience:Essential for success…

Target your speech

to your audience

Why is this so important?

audience know your audience
Audience:Know your audience…
  • What are their roles in relation to your topic?
    • Scientific expert in sub-field - Laboratory executives
    • Senior scientists - Division management
    • Decision-maker - Division / group peers
    • Collaborators - Staff
    • Competitor - Committee
  • What do they expect from your presentation / do with your information?
  • What do Division or Laboratory management, or funding sources care about?
audience when presenting to management
Audience:When presentingto management...
  • What were the findings
  • What are you going to do about it
  • How will this support or contribute to progress on strategic goals
audience conveying purpose to multiple audiences
Audience:Conveying purpose to multiple audiences…










Non-technical /

Funding sources


Middle Management /

General Technical

Line staff /

Technical Specialist


audience summary of considerations
Audience:Summary of Considerations…
  • Know your audience
  • Know your message for the audience
  • Know how you will deliver the presentation given the situation
audience developing the presentation
Audience:Developing the presentation…


Complete Section I - Audience Considerations

In Presentation Planning Worksheet

structure the importance of structure
Structure:The importance of structure…

The success of a presentation

hinges on its structure.

structure the importance of structure18
Structure:The importance of structure…

What is presentation structure?

structure make it clear
Structure:Make it clear…
  • Beginning – shows the big picture
    • focus audience attention on the topic (the why)
    • introduction: Summarize key facts and conclusions
    • “sound bite” - answers what you want people to know or do
  • Middle – discusses the topic in a logical fashion
    • subcategories or supporting points
structure make it clear20
Structure:Make it clear…
  • End – analyzes work from an overall perspective
    • summarizes most important details
    • offers recommendations
    • Explains how work affects big picture
    • Conclusion: 1 slide on conclusion, 1 slide on future actions or scientific work
structure themes unify the presentation
Structure:Themes unify the presentation…
  • Principal theme is your main message:
    • If we solve this, then we should be able to…
    • It is urgent that we….
  • Highlight themes at the beginning to shape audience expectations
    • Create audience interest in the main theme
    • Highlight what distinguishes your work
structure visualize your transitions
Structure: Visualize your transitions…

1st level transition

1st level transition




Point 2

Point 1

Point 3

2nd level transitions

structure avoid too much content
Structure:Avoid too much content…
  • Select details that allow the audience to understand the work.

Leave out unnecessary or overly complex details

    • Give a hierarchy of details so the audience knows which details to hang onto and which to let go of in case they are overwhelmed
  • Audiences remember lists of two, threes and fours
    • To have more is overwhelming for listeners
    • For longer lists, break into smaller lists with two or three overarching topics
  • Create a hierarchy of details
    • At the beginning, show summary of essentials points
    • Repetition indicates essential points
    • Place key results/images onto slides, leave less important details to speech
    • Pause before an important point, raise/lower the voice, step closer to audience
structure summary of considerations
Structure: Summary of Considerations
  • Organization of Presentation
    • Beginning, middle and end
    • Identify single main point or message
    • Define some distinguishing aspect of your work
  • Planning the Content
    • Develop outline, transitions, graphic locations
  • Are you drowning the audience with details?
structure summary of considerations25
Structure: Summary of Considerations…


Section II – Structure Considerations

On Presentation Planning Worksheet

visual aids visual support to main messages and themes
Visual Aids: Visual supportto main messages and themes…

Visual aids help make key points, but emphasis should remain on speaker

visual aids consider using other visual aids
Visual Aids:Consider usingother visual aids…

Types Advantages (+) and Disadvantages (-)

visual aids powerpoint has advantages pitfalls
Visual Aids:Powerpoint has advantages & pitfalls…

What are some of the pitfalls

you’ve seen with Powerpoint?

visual aids powerpoint has some pitfalls
Visual Aids:Powerpoint has some pitfalls…

- Can be boring with no images

- Becomes overwhelming with too many details

-Speaker can become irrelevant if doesn’t add


visual aids slides must be readable and clear
Visual Aids:Slides must be readable and clear…
  • Type
  • Use a sans serif typeface such as Arial
  • Use boldface for emphasis
  • Use type sizes at least 18 points
  • Avoid all capital letters
  • Don’t use too many typefaces on one slide
  • Color
  • Use contrasting background and type color
  • Light type on dark background projects well, but reproduces poorly
  • Use consistent in colors in all slides
  • Avoid red-green combinations
visual aids make slides readable and clear
Visual Aids: Makeslides readable and clear…

Title:Makes the key point of slide; the set of titles tells your story

  • Layout:
  • Slide answers one question…makes one point,
  • Limit lists to four items; make listed items parallel; avoid sub-lists
  • Be generous with the white space, minimize number of words
  • Don’t overuse “special effects”
  • Style:
  • Include images wherever possible, helps audience listen v. read
  • Make the mapping memorable; example, use icon to couple section
  • Limit the number of slides - dedicate at least one minute to each
visual aids memorable slides contain key information
Visual Aids:Memorable slides contain key information…
  • Show key plots / equations / numbers / financials
  • title slide & ending slide are more memorable with a key image
  • show integration and relationships verses words
  • Show key results or solutions
  • Include only most important results – increases recall from audience
  • Avoid too many numerical results
  • Make audience feel like they understand
visual aid does this communicate the right message
Visual Aid: Does this communicate the right message?


Concern on SRM Joints

27 Jan 1986

visual aid does this communicate the right message34
Visual Aid:Does this communicate the right message?


Concern on SRM Joints

27 Jan 1986

Does not convey

main message…

delay the launch

of the Challenger

Does not identify

sending entity

and therefore

the authority

of the message

visual aid is this a strong or weak slide
Visual Aid: Is this a strong or weak slide?

New prototype for high powered laser module

  • Electrical feed-through pin
  • Copper base
  • Elastomeric thermal pad
  • Kovar optical bench
  • LD Submount
  • AWG
  • Kovar lid

Uninteresting way to

present information

No message in the title


CAD drawing

provides more

interesting visual

BUT, part labels

need to be


Slide lacks title that makes a point

Visual Aid: Is this a strong or weak visual aid?

visual aids graphic plots can convey complex points
Visual Aids:Graphic plots can convey complex points..
  • Make graphs clear:
  • make all type readable
  • label the axes on graphs
  • label the curves
  • no more than ~3 curves/plot
  • define your symbols
  • use colors that display well (avoid green)
visual aids numbers convey quantitative relationships
Visual Aids:Numbers convey quantitative relationships…
  • Most compact way to show data
    • 1 or 2 numbers can be used to make a point
  • However, they must be understandable
    • Keep them simple

- Maximum of 1 line

    • Clearly define all of the variables
    • For complex equations, consider using a graph

AFRD – 26

ALS – 103

OCFO – 175




EETD – 116

EH&S – 74

ENG – 76

FAC – 262


HR – 200


LAB DIR – 60



NERSC – 47


PHY BIO – 58



Visual Aid:Is this a strong or weak slide?

We generalized GLV Opacity Series (NPB594(01)) to

MQ and mg > 0 (DG, Nucl.Phys.A 733, 265 (04))

Hard, Gunion-Bertsch, and Cascade ampl. in GLV generalized to finite M

visual aid is this a strong or weak slide43

gd --> r0 pn

(neutron detected in ZDC)


Mpp (GeV)

Visual Aid: Is this a strong or weak slide?
visual aid is this a strong or weak slide44

gd --> r0 pn

(neutron detected in ZDC)


Mpp (GeV)

Visual Aid: Is this a strong or weak slide?

Points and labels are small

What looks good in a publication may not look on screen

This probably

can be fixed

visual aid is this a strong or weak visual aid46
Visual Aid: Is this a strong or weak visual aid?

Clearly conveys





complex graphics

may detract from

the physics message


Experimental data showing results of space-charge-limited emission for Cs+,K+ , Na+, and Li+

Cs+ alumino-silicate, J (Current Density) vs. V (Extraction Voltage),

d = 1.011cm (extraction gap)

K+ alumino-silicate, J (Current Density) vs. V (Extraction Voltage), d= 1.087cm (extraction gap)

Li+ alumino-silicate, J (Current Density) vs. V (Extraction Voltage), d =1.088cm (extraction gap)

Na+ alumino-silicate, J (Current Density) vs. V (Extraction Voltage)


Nucleotide Excision Repair

DNA is damaged

Transcription-coupled repair

Global excision repair





RNA polymerase stalls


(+/- DDB) binds




damage is recognized






(with TTDA)




XPA, RPA, XPG, and TFIIH bind




TFIIH unwinds DNA helix


XPG and XPF/ERCC1 cut,

lesion excised

DNA pol

DNA polymerase fills gap,

ligase seals nick

normal nucleotide sequence restored

clean template for transcription

clean template for replication

Fuss and Cooper (2006) PLoS Biology

visual aids summary
Visual Aids:Summary…
  • Create a powerpoint presentation that enhances your speech and your message
  • - Craft visual aspects of slides carefully
  • - Have a clear purpose for other types of visual aids
  • Create slides that the audience remembers
  • Simplify graph plots, numbers, financials, and diagrams
delivery your interaction with audience
Delivery: Your interaction with audience …

Voice, gestures, eye contact, stance, movement –

all contribute to your delivery

delivery be enthusiastic about your subject
Delivery:Be enthusiastic about your subject…

Content without some style may go unnoticed

Style with no content has no meaning

If you are not enthusiastic,

how can you expect anyone else to be…

delivery preparation is critical
Delivery:Preparation is critical…

Rehearse, rehearse, rehearse

  • Anticipate potential pitfalls
  • Practice demonstrations or using equipment

Arrive early

  • If something doesn’t work, you have time to fix it
  • Audiences get irritated if presenter is late
  • Test computer with projector before the talk

Always prepare for the worst

  • Imagine the nightmare scenario and what you would do
  • If the projector fails, can you give presentation from notes, can audience follow with handouts
  • If a failure occurs, turn it into an advantage
delivery ways to prepare
Delivery:Ways to prepare…

Continual self critique and revision

  • Ask for feedback
  • Have a colleague critique your presentation

Don’t become too orchestrated

  • Don’t fix every aspect of delivery
  • Will be too stiff and self-conscious

Study the delivery of others

  • Observe classroom techniques verses conference lectures
  • Visualize an ideal delivery of your presentation
delivery adequate preparation takes time
Delivery:Adequate preparation takes time…

Take sufficient time to

  • Understand & organize the content for easy comprehension by your audience
  • Gather the important images
  • Rehearse

Make it worth the audience’s time

delivery take charge where you can
Delivery: Take charge where you can…

Be aware of the presentation set-up

  • Are you set up on the wrong side of projector?
  • Are you blocking the view of a critical member of the audience –
  • Do you have a direct view of a critical expert?

Check for issues with the room set-up

  • Is your movement boxed in by furniture
  • Does an open door let in distracting noises?
  • If you don’t have control, come early enough so you are aware of the constraints
delivery take charge of yourself
Delivery:Take charge of yourself…

Wear appropriate attire

  • People hear what they see
  • Show that you take your work and the audience seriously

Use voice for emphasis

  • Project voice to be clear and heard throughout room evenly
  • Changing speed and loudness helps to emphasize key points

Use eye contact to connect with the audience

  • Make direct eye contact with individuals for up to five seconds
  • Make direct eye contact with individuals throughout the room
delivery take charge of yourself57
Delivery:Take charge of yourself…

Move with confidence and purpose

  • Best presenters move around with purpose
  • Find a stance that conveys confidence
    • Hand relaxed at your side or in hip range
    • If at podium, placing hands lightly on podium is ok, clinching it isn’t
    • Hand in the pocket is ok - but don’t move it around

Avoid awkward hand placements

  • Both hands in pockets
  • Hands folded across the chest
  • Fig-leaf or reverse fig-leaf position – hands locked in front or back
  • Leaning against the podium
delivery take charge of yourself58
Delivery:Take charge of yourself…

Everyone gets nervous

  • Is sometimes a sign of not enough preparation
  • Often occurs when important people are in the audience

Tips to overcome nervousness

  • Often subsides once presentation focus is on content
  • Do a dry run
  • Remember, audience does not hold speaker accountable for distractions
delivery take charge of yourself59
Delivery:Take charge of yourself…

Don’t overreact

  • Control reactions to distractions
    • If people walk out during presentation
    • If bulb burns out in projector
  • When audience can interrupt with questions
  • Exercise your authority to keep things moving
  • Ok to say you will address that point later
  • Read the situation: you might let a critical expert continue
  • questions
delivery pay attention to questions
Delivery:Pay attention to questions…

If you don’t understand the question, ask for clarification

  • If don’t know the answer, don’t bluff it; your credibility will diminish

If a questioner challenges you

  • Answer confidently, counter with credible sources and data
  • Ok to counter the attack with points mentioned in the presentation, or suggest a further discussion at a later date

If you realize you are wrong, admit it

delivery pay attention to time
Delivery:Pay attention to time…

If allowed to speak without interruption of questions

  • Meet the deadline
    • For example, don’t show 20 slides in a 15 minute speech
    • Complex slides require more time to tell the story
  • Be prepared to redefine scope, avoid talking faster
    • What you can you eliminate?
  • Answer succinctly; choose words wisely
    • Too much talk can imply lack understanding or lack of candor
delivery summary of tips
Delivery:Summary of tips…

To improve delivery:

  • Rehearse, rehearse, rehearse, arrive early, plan for the worst
  • Self critique and revision
  • Study the delivery of others

To prepare for delivery

  • Take time to prepare, control room set-up
  • Pay attention to yourself and the audience
delivery summary of tips63
Delivery:Summary of tips…

Critique my presentation delivery…

What about:

  • Eye contact
  • Movement with purpose and confidence
  • Voice projection
  • Clear messages
concluding remarks
Concluding Remarks

Summary of audience considerations…

Structure: organize

and plan the content

Audience: know your

audience and purpose

Visual Aids: create visual

aids and slides that the

audience remembers

Delivery: rehearse,

pay attention to audience,

room and yourself

final thought aim high
Final thought:Aim high…

Craft a presentation that is

worthy of your audience’s time and

one they will not forget.



Presentation can be downloaded at

BLI Resources (left margin)

BLI courses on powerpoint


Sources used for course development…

Primary Source

Alley, Michael

2003. The Craft of Scientific Presentations: Critical Steps to Succeed and Critical Errors to Avoid in Technical Communication. New York: Springer

Science+Business Media Inc.

Secondary Sources

Alley, Michael and Kathryn A. Neeley

2005. “Rethinking the Design of Presentation Slides: A Case for Sentence Headlines and Visual Evidence” in Technical Communication.

Volume 52, Number 4. November 2005. 417-426.

Zwickel, Steven B. and William Sanborn Pfeiffer

2006. Pocket Guide to Technical Presentations and Professional

Speaking. Columbus, Ohio: Pearson Prentice Hall.

introduction why do we give presentations
Introduction:Why do we give presentations…

Convey an idea

Transfer information

Communicate your contribution

introduction what s the purpose
Introduction:What’s the purpose…

Poorly organized presentations or poor visuals

can result in misunderstandings

about the significance of the research or findings.

Speaker can

1) provide in depth information on a topic

2) answer questions for the audience

introduction why are presentations important
Introduction:Why are presentations important…

Colleagues and managers &

other key public officials often

do not have in-depth training in sciences

but make critical decisions

about funding research and

determining national priorities.

audience conveying purpose to multiple audiences72
Audience:Conveying purpose to multiple audiences…
  • Speak to the different audiences at different times
    • Begin at a shallow depth to orient everyone to the subject, show the importance of the subject
    • Then dive deeper into scientific information
    • Start shallow again when beginning next sections
  • If the audience includes a subject matter expert
    • Mention the expert by name.
    • Offer to explain in greater depth during discussion period.
    • Gain respect of expert
speech considerations
Speech Considerations

Convey your purpose to a

specific audience…

  • Continually ask two questions:

- Will the audience understand these points?

- Will the audience be interested in these points?

  • Depending on the audience, you may need to tailor:

- the examples

- the depth

- the background information

speech considerations74
Speech Considerations

How to deliver – in situations…

Sources Situation

Conference presentation

Presentation at scientific meeting

University colloquium lecture

Speaking from points

speech considerations75
Speech Considerations

How the words are delivered is important…

Sources Advantages Disadvantages

Credibility earned

Ease of adjusting speech

Eye contact

Natural pace

Wording not exact

Long preparation time

Speaking from points

structure plan your presentation
Structure:Plan your presentation…
  • Outline the structure: beginning, middle and end
    • Start with an audience hook (e.g. a question, an anecdote, a dilemma, a statistic)
  • Plan where graphics should go
  • Plan transitions from one theme to another
    • Audience should be able to follow the story
structure considerations
Structure Considerations

A presentation needs a

message or theme…

  • Identify a problem, show how it might be tackled through your research
    • Review the significance of what has been done in your research
  • Define some distinguishing aspect of your work, such as a system, device or process, and describe its fundamental purpose
    • Helps to locate technical details within an appropriate frame of reference
    • Make sure reference is understood by the audience
  • Highlight cause-effect relationships
    • Point to some effect or action that may affect the work or lives of the audience
structure considerations78
Structure Considerations

A presentation needs transitions…

  • In speech:
    • In the middle section, moving from first point to the second point,
      • “…That concludes what I wanted to say about building stages of volcanoes. Now I will consider the declining stages…”
    • In moving from the middle section to the end,
      • “…in summary” or “to conclude this presentation….”
visual aids
Visual Aids

Visual aids convey images, sounds, textures, tastes and smells much more effectively than spoken words can.


Building credibility is a technique …

  • Be objective, open-minded and fair, and present evidence and arguments in an unbiased manner
  • Use carefully documented evidence, cite prestigious and the most relevant sources, and cite accurately
  • Present both sides of the problem or issue, avoid false reasoning
  • Acknowledge the status and knowledge of audience
  • Have a highly credible person introduce you
speech know your purpose
Speech: Know your purpose
  • Inform:with facts, findings, opinions
  • Persuade:change understanding about your findings or area of expertise; recommend a particular course of action
  • Occasional:entertain on general topic, inspire others to your project
  • Instructive:explain a process or problem solution, or teach a skill, or define terms
speech convey your purpose
Speech: Convey your purpose
  • Analogies:Convey size or likelihood

- Einstein - “shooting sparrows in the dark”

  • Examples:Create an image or physical process to follow.

Most people can’t learn from purely mathematical perspective

  • Stories:Personalize the audience experience, give audience a break and help them remember points of the presentation
  • Personal Connections:Include a personal experience

- Ludwig Boltzmann – developer of the statistical treatment of atoms

speech support your arguments
Speech: Support your arguments
  • Two types of supporting evidence for assertions:
    • Appeals to logic
    • Appeals to audience interests
  • Know when to use which type:

- Most scientists & engineers claim appeals to logic influence their decisions

- But many political or management decisions about science are made by non- scientists. They are swayed by appeals to interests.

structure transitions facilitate your delivery
Structure:Transitions facilitate your delivery
  • Mapping slide at the beginning :
    • includes key images for each topic in the middle.
      • At transitions, show that image from the mapping slide
      • Or show mapping slide again with new topic highlighted
  • In transition delivery:
    • A pause allows for sorting, synthesis, and analysis to occur
    • Hand gesture - one, two or three or raise or lower voice
    • Return to the podium, pause and glance at notes
    • Check audience – are they connecting with you
visual aids make slides memorable
Visual Aids: Makeslides memorable…
  • Title slide: what you want people to talk about
  • descriptive title
  • speaker’s name and affiliation
  • key image from the work
  • sound-bites of key messages
  • Slides indicating structure
  • mapping slide – outlining structure facilitates following presentation
  • first slide for parts in middle section - establish transitions
  • concluding slide – summarizes key points, place for repetition