HOW TO MAKE AN EFFECTIVE PRESENTATION: THE HIDDEN MESSAGE

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1 HOW TO MAKE AN EFFECTIVE PRESENTATION: THE HIDDEN MESSAGE Sandy Raha Chair, Medical Sciences Graduate Program Admissions Dept. Pediatrics, McMaster University April 14, 2015

2 Overview Why would you want to do a presentation? Posters Oral Remind me why I would want to do a presentation: The REAL value Resources

3 DON T LEAVE UNTIL THE LAST MINUTE Figures, graphs and tables always take longer than anticipated Carefully proof Formatting takes time Consider the possible printing/and reprinting issues

4 The Poster

5 Keep your poster content simple People generally don t spend more than 3-5 min per poster Don t try to explain your entire thesis in your poster. Use the KISS principle keep it short and simple Important Lesson keeping it simple is a good research communication

6 Keep your poster content simple Pick a clear storyline or thread in your research and discuss that and show the data that supports a single facet of your research Get to the focus of the poster right at the start; clarify the impact of your work; don t be too detailed about the procedure If possible use a figure to clarify complex objective or methods

7 Make the poster easily viewable Don t make your title too long or too cute. A concise informative title is best. Make sure your poster is easy to read Consistent font and size Font size is large enough to read from 1-2 metres away Bars and axis on graphs are consistently labelled Be cautious of over-using colour. Avoid using a dark background (personal preference)

8 An example of a bad poster ( Text boxes are different sizes Background is distracting Insufficient white space Logos are distracting and waste valuable space Colour scheme is not inherently logical or effective Abstract section uses up too much space Title with perspective makes it difficult to read

9 Examples of Layouts: Effective or Not? Looks cluttered but the colours here contribute to effect visual organization Conventional vertical style for a scientific poster

10 Examples of Layouts: Effective or Not? Different styles: Flow of information If it is important that the panels be read in sequence, this style is not the best

11 Utilize the full potential of a poster Have a 2-3 min talk regarding your poster prepared Make sure the flow and clarity of the poster is such that it can be understood even if you are not explaining Utilize the networking opportunities in a poster ask for suggestions to improve your work; exchange contact information (Business cards etc.)

12 Benefits of the poster presentation (McNutt, M Science 347: 1047) Less stressful than an oral presentation so you can focus on the discussion Will teach you how to customize the delivery of your research to each person that visits your poster Balance the aesthetics of the poster with clear and concise story Learn how to advertise your research

13 The Oral Presentation

14 Oral Presentations: Preparation Understand your audience Develop your story, make sure you have a clear understanding of the strengths and weakness of your data Think about how you want to lead your audience; set them up for questions Be clear about the implications or significance of your data

15 Oral Presentation: Content Evaluate based on available time General rule: approximately 1 slide per min If using bullet points-no more that 4-5 points per slide Make sure your slides follow logically and don t insert random data Provide clear definition for technical terms; remember not everyone in your audience may be an expert

16 Aesthetics of the slide Ensure font size is easily visible Ensure graphs and table are clearly visible, especially if cutting and pasting for other sources Be careful about using colour schemes that may hurt the eyes White or yellow on red looks clear, but Fluorescent backgrounds can be 30 red background slides may be hard challenging to take

17 Aesthetics continued Keep a consistent look through out the presentation Use short clear conclusive statements in your bullet points Use clear concise graphs and tables. Don t include a excess information in the graphic that will not be discussed. Make the title, the conclusion. This clarifies the graphic immediately Use white space effectively don t crowd the graphics

18 Animation One of the strengths of using slides, but needs to be utilized effectively. Don t overuse or use frivolously

19 Presentations: The Hidden Value

20 Untangle your own research Place your research in context and simplify in the presentation Graphically express your hypothesis leads to greater understanding and retention Develop a story that has a impact factor

21 Get feedback on your research Solicit suggestions on your research, especially in a friendly environment Take the time to reflect on suggestions and critically evaluate each one

22 Develop confidence in your research More presentations lead to a greater appreciation for your work and improve the ability to sell your story and yourself Develop a story that has a impact factor Forces you to think about next steps common question

23 McMaster resources The school of graduates has developed a youtube video outlining the preparation of a poster: ature=youtu.be (you can find by googling usra poster pointers mcmaster) For oral presentation, look up presentations of a 3 min thesis. Significant shorter but provide critical elements of audience engagementhttp://graduate.mcmaster.ca/graduatestudents/graduate-student-life/professional/3mt/3mtparticipant-resources.html#3mt-presentations-bymcmaster-faculty.

24 Resources for preparing presentations Poster layouts: (google Designing conference posters) For general poster construction advice: S.M. Block. Do s and Don ts of Poster Presentation. Biophysical Journal 71; (1996) Source: The Craft of Scientific Presentations, Michael Alley (See also The do s and don ts of public speaking:

25 If the speaker sends a message that the receiver does not understand then who needs to change? Presentation ability is not a talent it is a skill.

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