The slide presentation

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THE SLIDE PRESENTATION
"To speak much is one thing, to speak well another.”
SOPHOCLES

You have done scientific research on a certain subject and have established a degree of expertise in that area. You are ready to make a slide presentation in your departmental seminar, at a professional meeting, at a job interview, or to a local civic club. My first suggestion is that you read Appendix11, "Let There Be Stoning" by Jay Lehr (1985). H e suggests that boring speakers waste our time and that they should be punished. We should demand excellence in professional presentations the same as we do in published papers. After reading Lehr's vivid analysis of what it takes to make a good slide presentation and before you start designing slides, think about who makes up your audience and whatyou want to tell them. With the audience foremost in your mind, consider your purpose and subject, your own personality and ability, the time you have, and any other influence on the outcome of your presentation such as the physical setting, other speeches, and the presence or absence of a moderator. Then prepare your presentation. You may wish to write a draft of a speech, but don't memorize itnor read it to your audience. Many people can work better from a detailed outline than from a fully written speech, but don't rely totally on the written word in any form. Let your slides or a brief outline with key words guide you. Make the speech in conversational tones with as much eye contact with the audience and as little reference to notes as possible. Most important-condition yourself,allow time, construct a slide set you are proud of, organize material carefully, and practice with a reviewer.
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The Slide Presentation

FIGURE 16-1
Prepare yourself for the intensity you will feel when you begin to make the speech.

CONDITIONING YOURSELF Before any oral presentation, you need to prepare yourself for the intensity that you should feel while you are speaking (Fig.16-1). You need to practice, yes, but you also need to be relaxed and enthusiastic about your speech. If you fail to get enough sleep or if you practice repeatedly up to the last hour before the talk until the speech is almost memorized, you can sound tired and bored with the entire presentation. It is far better to prepare the presentation several days ahead of time, have someone review it, reviseit, and then put it aside until just before you go on stage. Get a good night's sleep, dress appropriately for the event, and approach the talk with confidence and enthusiasm. If you have questions about the organization of your report or if there are technical points that are not clear to you, spend some time before the presentation talking with your major professor or other colleagues who canhelp you. If you do not understand your subject, you cannot expect your audience to understand it after listening to you. At many professional meetings, it is important to publish or hand out copies of an abstract before you begin your presentation. A well-written abstract can be a great advantage to you because the audience is listening for what you have to say about the major points in that text.An abstract must be very short or its purpose will be defeated. If the abstract is a handout for the meeting, a list of pertinent references can accompany it, but the abstract itself should contain no literature citations.

Conditioning Yourself

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The abstract is an impersonal introduction to your subject. A moderator may give a little more personal introduction. Then the floor isyours for the designated time. If you are nervous before and during your presentation, do not be unduly disturbed. Most people feel some nervousness in the speaking situation; use that feeling to make you alert, eager, and animated. Confidence will soon take over if you are well prepared. Above all, don't let the nervous energy make you talk too fast to be understood. Try to enunciate clearly Make a...
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