Giving presentations

Last Friday, I presented at lab meeting for the last time.  I’m happy to say that it went well.  Since I’ve been having some cognitive problems I was a little worried about how it would go, but I was able to answer people’s questions without difficulty.

A couple posts back, Disgruntled Julie commented:

[F]or me, as long as I have some kind of visual stimulus to help remind me, I am fine. So, while I am utterly useless if someone stops me in the hallway and asks me a question, if I am giving a talk in front of my committee and I have a slide up with general information to jump-start my memory, I am fine. Perhaps you will find something similar, too? Sometimes during my committee meetings if I get stumped on a question I just have to go back in the slides to one that has some information on the topic at hand, and it is enough to get my brain back on track. I’d suggest it if you ever find yourself in a similar position.

This is really good advice, I think, not just for people with memory problems but also for people who get nervous when presenting.  Keeping her comment in mind, I made sure when I put together my powerpoint presentation for my lab meeting that I had enough information on each slide to help me remember what it is I wanted to tell people.  I generally try to do this anyway when giving a formal talk, but I’m not so good about it when slapping together a lab meeting.

This doesn’t mean that I had slide after slide with paragraphs of information.  That’s pretty much considered a no-no as far as presentations go and anyway, if you lose track of what you’re saying mid-sentence, glancing at a paragraph of material is not going to be very useful for you to get on track.  (Unless, of course, you are simply reading the paragraphs off the slide, but that’s a big no-no as well.)  But, I did have bullet points with a few words that highlighted whatever point I was trying to make and that was very helpful.

After having such a successful lab meeting, I feel a lot better about my upcoming committee meeting!

3 thoughts on “Giving presentations

  1. I am so glad to hear that it helped! I too do not need much — certainly no paragraphs of text — but just a little something; perhaps one experiment result with a graph is enough to remind me of what I was doing and why I was trying that and what I was hoping the outcome would be, which reminds me of what the ultimate goal of that part of the project is.

    Good luck with your committee meeting — and I’m glad to hear that the lab meeting helped to boost your confidence!

  2. Glad it went well! Yes, PowerPoint slides aren’t just to entertain the audience, but to help the presenter along as well. It’s always nice to have a reminder of what you wanted to talk about (I tend to get nervous during academic talks, even though I give outreach talks once or twice a week!).

  3. do you ever try the presenter tools in ppt? I often write out my whole talk within the notes section as a way to plan what i’m going to say…there’s no way i can read off of it while i’m giving the talk, but i know it’s there if i really need it, and it’s very useful while i’m practicing. some people i know put the bullet points there and then only show the audience pictures to keep things simpler…

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