academic presentations, some conjectures
So, I don’t know that I have any answers about what makes for a good (academic) presentation (though, note that the comments to that post have links to some fantastic advice). For now I’ll just put up a few conjectures for what might work. I think the below points are counter to what most presentations look like, indeed (mostly) counter to all my past presentations (except the two presentations I’ve done since starting to think about this issue a few weeks ago).
- Tell your story — I think its interesting to hear how one finds a research question, why the question keeps you up at night, the journey the question’s taken you on.
- Tell a story. This is different from the above, I think a coherent narrative needs to be interwoven into a presentation. You need a plot.
- Don’t have more than six words per slide. Somehow there is a sense that one’s slides ought to make sense to someone who didn’t attend the presentation. I don’t think so. Slides aren’t meant to be read, they’re not meant to summarize the paper — they’re there to illustrate and perhaps prompt.
- Use pictures (high-quality ones, not clip art), and in particular, figures. I think the ol’ saying ‘picture=1000 words’ might be right.
- Be ‘into it’ and have fun. If you’re not into your own presentation and having fun, the audience certainly is neither.
- All of this, of course, presumes that you have a brilliant research question in the first place.
OK, that’s all I have for now — perhaps some additional presentation-related conjectures later; I’ve got a few presentations coming up soon, so I’ll definitely be thinking about this issue.