I’m still catching up on postings about the Feb-May 2019 WIBS meetings! Below is a belated posting about the April 2019 WIBS meeting on how to give a good talk. Attached with this blog post, we once again have a detailed list of the suggestions we discussed, compiled by Carrie Heusinkveld. We also have the slides that were shown at the meeting listing/demonstrating many of the suggestions. Thanks to everyone who contributed content to this post!
Meeting summary: At the April meeting, we started by sharing our scientific talk pet peeves. We’ve all seen a lot of bad talks where people read off of their slides, didn’t define their terms or explain their acronyms, had unreadable text or figures, or didn’t develop their story very well. We talked about a number of strategies for how to give a good talk; here are just a few! (See the attached notes and slides for more details.)
We talked a bit about how to make beautiful and easy-to-follow slides. This included paying attention to aesthetic features such as fonts, colors, etc., and how the presentation is organized. Members recommended being visually consistent by using a color scheme and making all of your cartoon illustrations in a similar style. We also talked about how it’s important to both write and say everything, since some people are readers and some people are listeners.
Next, we talked about aspects of delivery. We agreed that telling a story and guiding your audience through the material is very important, and tools like organizational or “roadmap” slides and a summary slide at the end can be useful for this. We also talked about how you speak, and how you prepare to speak: it’s good to practice some but not too much so that you can have a natural, conversational tone (and not sound like a robot…) For dealing with nerves, one member recommended trying to convince yourself that your nervousness is actually excitement!