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How to Give a Good Talk and Why It Matters Jang-Ho J. Cha, MD PhD.

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Presentation on theme: "How to Give a Good Talk and Why It Matters Jang-Ho J. Cha, MD PhD."— Presentation transcript:

1 How to Give a Good Talk and Why It Matters Jang-Ho J. Cha, MD PhD

2 Overview Why it mattersWhy it matters Good talks vs. bad talksGood talks vs. bad talks Telling a storyTelling a story AudiovisualsAudiovisuals How to talkHow to talk

3 Why it Matters Papers don’t matter as much as you thinkPapers don’t matter as much as you think –People don’t read papers –Difficult to determine individual contribution Scientists are judged on their talksScientists are judged on their talks –Is this person a good scientist? –Should I invite this person as a symposium speaker? –Should we hire this person?

4 Why it Really Matters If your audience can’t understand your talk, they will conclude either that: 1.“I am too stupid to understand this speaker,” or 2.“This speaker is too stupid to make his/her presentation understandable.” Either conclusion is disastrous for your career.

5 Good Talks

6 Bad Talks

7 Good Talks, Bad Talks GOOD: Ends on timeEnds on time Spoken clearlySpoken clearly Easy to followEasy to followBAD: Goes over timeGoes over time MumblesMumbles Difficult to followDifficult to follow

8 Be a Critic In order to learn, judge other talksIn order to learn, judge other talks Give each talk a gradeGive each talk a grade If the talk was good, the speaker has done something right: emulate!If the talk was good, the speaker has done something right: emulate! If the talks was bad, the speaker has done something wrong: don’t do it!If the talks was bad, the speaker has done something wrong: don’t do it!

9 What People Remember People listening to your talk may not remember anything about what you say but they will always remember how they felt about your talk.People listening to your talk may not remember anything about what you say but they will always remember how they felt about your talk. Assume that the audience will recall at most one fact about your talk: decide what that is.Assume that the audience will recall at most one fact about your talk: decide what that is. So, what are people remembering?So, what are people remembering?

10 Logical Flow is All Important! Great talk: “It seemed so logical!”Great talk: “It seemed so logical!” Scientists like to think of themselves as smart.Scientists like to think of themselves as smart. Construct your talk as if the next slide was the most logical thing in the world.Construct your talk as if the next slide was the most logical thing in the world. If you have planted the idea correctly, the audience will conclude that you are so smart.If you have planted the idea correctly, the audience will conclude that you are so smart.

11 Logical Flow: the Big Picture Tell them where you’re going.Tell them where you’re going. –How would you review a movie? Do not assume that your audience will piece it together.Do not assume that your audience will piece it together. –Tell them what’s important: Your question Your approach Your conclusion

12 Your Ugly Baby Everyone thinks their baby is beautiful. Not all babies are beautiful.Everyone thinks their baby is beautiful. Not all babies are beautiful. You can’t assume that people will be interested in your project.You can’t assume that people will be interested in your project. Every baby has redeeming qualities.Every baby has redeeming qualities.

13 Scientists Love a Puzzle Get your audience to ride along with you.Get your audience to ride along with you. Scientists can’t resist a good mystery.Scientists can’t resist a good mystery. Set it up as a problem to be solved, and the audience will be right there with you.Set it up as a problem to be solved, and the audience will be right there with you. There has to be an answer at the end!There has to be an answer at the end! The ‘question’ that you pose at the beginning of your talk will be miraculously answered by the data your present ---> “Ahhh!”The ‘question’ that you pose at the beginning of your talk will be miraculously answered by the data your present ---> “Ahhh!”

14 Seminar as Musical Composition The essential feature is creating tension and resolutionThe essential feature is creating tension and resolution Tension: the unanswered questionTension: the unanswered question Resolution: the experiment that you just happened to performResolution: the experiment that you just happened to perform If you present all of your data as ‘resolutions,’ your audience will be greatly impressed!If you present all of your data as ‘resolutions,’ your audience will be greatly impressed!

15 Logical Flow: How to Set It Up “Here’s what we know”“Here’s what we know” –Protein X has a PDZ domain –Other PDZ proteins bind protein Y “Here’s what we don’t know”“Here’s what we don’t know” –If Protein X and Y interact “So, we decided to ask…”“So, we decided to ask…” –Does X bind Y? –Does binding depend on the PDZ domain?

16 Audiovisuals Don’t try to present all the data you canDon’t try to present all the data you can Do try to present data in a logical fashionDo try to present data in a logical fashion Slides should work with your talk, not against itSlides should work with your talk, not against it Remember: your audience is hearing it for the first time.Remember: your audience is hearing it for the first time. –Pop vs. classical music

17 Slides Choose a high-contrast backgroundChoose a high-contrast background –White letters on blue –Black letters on light background Readable fontReadable font Avoid wordsAvoid words –If you have too many words, it makes your audience have to work too hard to read everything, and then they spend the whole time furiously trying to read what’s on the slide as opposed to listening to what you’re saying, which, of course, doesn’t help in the least. They inevitably feel like they’ve missed something.

18 Slides Avoid foofy backgrounds: detracts attentionAvoid foofy backgrounds: detracts attention –Good restaurants use white plates Keep the same backgroundKeep the same background –Eyes drawn to ‘novel’ stimuli Test your background in the lecture roomTest your background in the lecture room –“This looked great in the store.”

19 Chromatin Immunoprecipitation

20 Setting Up Your Data Slide Present your data as the answer to a burning questionPresent your data as the answer to a burning question Example:Example: –In HD models, dopamine D2 receptor mRNA is downregulated while NMDA NR1 mRNA is expressed normally. –Both genes are driven by Sp1. –Is there altered association of Sp1 with these genes?

21 Chromatin Immunoprecipitation: Decreased Sp1 Association with D2 gene, but not with NR1

22 Slides Any important point deserves a slideAny important point deserves a slide Use slides for transition:Use slides for transition: –Refer to your overview slide –“Are we there yet?” Audience like to know where they are –Conveys a sense of order to your presentation. Oh, yes! Do not pollute your slide!Do not pollute your slide!

23 DATA R6/2 mice Andrews et al. Brain 1999;122: HD gene-positive patients D 2 PET CTL HD D 2 binding Cortex PPE D2  -actin NR1NR1

24 How to Talk Giving a talk is not natural speechGiving a talk is not natural speech Must be loud!Must be loud! –Practice with someone in the back of the room

25 How to Talk Not a conversation, but an orationNot a conversation, but an oration Talk slowly!Talk slowly! –Audience hearing it for first time –Audience reading your slides –Non-native English speakers –If you talk quickly, people assume you’re nervous, and they become nervous. –If you talk slowly, with pauses, people assume you’re brilliant.

26 How to Talk Don’t feel obligated to fill in the empty spaces.Don’t feel obligated to fill in the empty spaces. Practice talking “into the void”Practice talking “into the void” –Be comfortable with the sound of your own voice –Practice looking around the room –Time your talk Work on your enunciation and your English speaking skills.Work on your enunciation and your English speaking skills. –You are judged on how you talk

27 How Not to “Umm” Don’t be afraid of the blank space!Don’t be afraid of the blank space! Listen to yourself speak.Listen to yourself speak. Every time you feel it coming on, take a breath.Every time you feel it coming on, take a breath.

28 Delivering the Message Beware of competition between the slides and what you’re sayingBeware of competition between the slides and what you’re saying –Helpful: Fewer words on screen Clean figures Speak slowly, leave pauses Do not gesticulate!Do not gesticulate! –Where do you want your audience’s eyes?

29 Laser Pointers Don’t wave that thing!Don’t wave that thing! –People find it visually irritating –Detracts from what you’re saying Point to the item in questionPoint to the item in question Turn pointer off after you’ve pointed out item of interestTurn pointer off after you’ve pointed out item of interest

30 Dress Rehearsal Practice in the roomPractice in the room Learn how to set up necessary equipmentLearn how to set up necessary equipment Familiarize yourself with the podium and room acousticsFamiliarize yourself with the podium and room acoustics Practice advancing slides, using pointerPractice advancing slides, using pointer Memorize the order of your slides:Memorize the order of your slides: –Slide = the answer to a question –**Contributes to logical flow

31 Wrapping It Up Important to finish on time. Finishing early even better!Important to finish on time. Finishing early even better! You will not have time to show all your data. Get over it.You will not have time to show all your data. Get over it. Remember: tension and resolution:Remember: tension and resolution: –Show how the data you have shown have answered the question posed at the outset. Deliver the conclusion! Last chance to tell the audience what the take-home message is.Last chance to tell the audience what the take-home message is.

32 How to Improve Practice.Practice. –Get used to the sound of speaking with no one responding Practice again.Practice again. –Don’t look like you’re seeing the slides for the first time. Practice in front of friends.Practice in front of friends. –Ask for honest feedback. No one will spontaneously tell you you’ve given a terrible talk.

33 Take Home Message Scientists are judged on their talks.Scientists are judged on their talks. People will not remember the content of your talk, but they will remember if they were able to follow it.People will not remember the content of your talk, but they will remember if they were able to follow it. Don’t wave the pointer.Don’t wave the pointer.

34 Questions


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