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Technical Presentations

Module by: Rice ADVANCE. E-mail the author

Summary: Panel discussion presented by Tracy Voltz at the 2010 NSF ADVANCE Workshop: Negotiating the Ideal Faculty Position, A Workshop for Underrepresented PhDs and Postdocs in Science, Engineering and Psychology September 19-21, 2010

High Impact Presenters

  • Size up the situation
  • Organize an argument
  • Convey confidence
  • Integrate visuals
  • Handle questions
Figure 1: http://www.uaex.edu/Other_Areas/news/_archives/April2003/Stacy15.gif
a woman giving a presentation

Analyze Audience

  • Who is your audience?
    • Why are they interested?
    • How much do they know?
    • What criteria do they use to make decisions?
    • How will they benefit?
    • What are their concerns?

Figure 2: http://www.apple.com/jobs/us/corporate.html#retailcorp
Two men standing at a board discussing.

Tailor Message to Audience

Table 1: From: Barrett, Deborah (2007). Leadership Communication.
Non-Experts
  • Make it interesting
  • Provide background
  • Define terms
  • Distinguish between fact and opinion
  • Use examples, analogies, visuals
Experts
  • State how and why
  • Present limited background info
  • Use language of discipline
  • State assumptions and conclusions
  • Cite references

Figure 3
a large audience

Mixed Audience Strategy

  • Define key terms
  • Signal section headings
  • Support points with specific examples
  • Use analogies
  • Mention in-depth points periodically
  • Reiterate your main points as you proceed
  • Avoid jargon
  • End with a general summary

Academic Job Talk

  1. What problem are you investigating?
  2. Why is it important?
  3. How does your work fit into the context of your field?
  4. What’s your approach?
  5. What did you find that was significant?
  6. What are the implications of your findings?
  7. How is your work novel?

Typical but Difficult

  • Chronological narratives
  • Inductive organization
Figure 4: http://www.uni-koblenz.de/~vladimir/breviary/dilbert-powerpoint.gif
 a cartoon with the captions 'as you can see in slide 397' 'gaaaaaah' 'powerpoint poisoning.

Inductive Example

Figure 5
a diagram of a slide presentation showing that the thesis has been introduce too late.

Deductive Example

Figure 6
a diagram of a slide presentation showing that the thesis has been introduced early in the talk.

The Challenge

Figure 7
a chart diagramming audience attention

Start Strong

Introduction

  • Motivate interest
  • State key point(s)
  • Preview topics
  • Establish credibility
  • Memorize opening

__________________

  • No apologies
  • No reintroduction
  • No “Today I’m gonna talk about . . . ”
Figure 8: Hans Rosling, TED conference 2006 http://images.ted.com/images/ted/131332_389x292.jpg
Hans Rosling

Directional Hypercomplex Wavelets for Multi-dimensional Signal Anlysis and Processing

Figure 10: Candidate’s name
three hypercomplex wavelets

Directional Hypercomplex Wavelets for Multi-dimensional Signal Analysis and Processing

Figure 11
Figure 11 (graphics1.png)

Figure 12
a diagram of a wavelet

Candidate’s name

Electrical and Computer Engineering

Sept. 20, 2010

Outline

  • Introduction
  • Methods and applications
  • Results
  • Conclusions

Outline

  • Diagnosis of air quality priorities
  • Primary and secondary pollutants
  • High-order direct sensitivity analysis: Methods and applications
  • Uncertainty analysis
  • Optimization
  • Integrated air quality management: Experiences in Georgia
    • Challenges, priorities, planning
  • Vision for future research

Outline

  • Diagnosis of air quality priorities
  • High-order direct sensitivity analysis: Methods and applications
  • Integrated air quality management: Experiences in Georgia
  • Vision for future research

End Strong

Figure 13
people clapping

Conclusion

  • Memorize
  • Send cue
  • Restate & summarize
  • Spell out implications

________________________

  • No “That’s it.”
  • No exaggerating
  • No ?s slide

Questions????

Figure 14
clipart of a humanoid character sitting in a question mark.

Conclusion

  • The network is capable of identifying the behavior of the family curve.
  • The amplitude and frequency values obtained with the ANN are close to those obtained by means of the 2-DOF model.
  • The accuracy in the results obtained can be improved if a greater number of samples is used.
  • Other combination of network parameters could allow getting better results.
  • The reduction in computation time is drastically reduced when using the ANN.
  • Identifies behavior of the family curve
  • Closely approximates amplitude and frequency of 2-DOF model
  • Drastically reduces computation time

Transitions

  • Create coherence
  • Make intuitive connections explicit
  • Weak verbal cues
    • “And another thing”
    • “So”
    • “Next”
  • Strong verbal cues
    • Sequence
      • “First”
    • Contrast
      • “However”
      • “On the other hand”
    • Causality
      • “Therefore”
      • “Consequently

Sample Transitions

Figure 15
a picture of a transition from a mac slide to a windows slide.
  1. “So let’s jump into parts I thought were interesting.”
  2. “Next I’m gonna talk about Microsoft.
  3. “In contrast to Apple’s focus on ordinary consumers, Microsoft targets business users.”

Presenting Data

  • Relevant results that support key points
  • BIG picture little picture
  • 4-step explanation:
    • Question
    • Describe
    • Report result
    • Interpret result
Figure 16
a chart

Leadership Presence

  • Enter with authority
  • Focus your energy
  • Pause before starting
  • Establish eye contact
  • Limit movement
  • Speak confidently

Convey Confidence

Stance and Posture

  • Worst Practices
    • Block screen
    • Stomp feet
    • Cross feet
    • Rock, sway, pace
    • Slouch
    • Lean
  • Best Practices
    • Chin up
    • Feet under hips
    • Shoulders relaxed
    • Weight distributed
    • Knees slightly bent

Figure 22
stick figures demonstrating different postures

Gestures to Avoid

  • Fidgeting
    • Fingers
    • Pen or laser pointer
    • Pockets
    • Hair
  • Hands on hips
  • Crossing arms
  • Gripping podium
  • Clasping hands
    • Fig leaf
    • Behind back

Effective Gestures

Figure 24
a person pointing
Figure 25
Steve Jobs holding an iPod

Figure 26
Bill Gates gesturing
  • Power gestures
  • Concept gestures
  • Process gestures
  • Position
  • Scale

Practice Gestures

  • “An atom consists of a dense, central nucleus surrounded by a cloud of electrons.
  • “A low pH indicates a high concentration of hydronium ions.”
  • “The particles must be dispersed evenly in the fluid.”
  • “It’s about the size of a quarter.”
  • That is unacceptable!

Eye Contact

  • Worst practices
    • Stare at screen
    • Glance at floor or ceiling
    • Read slides or notes
  • Best practices
    • Direct
    • Sustained
    • Distributed

Figure 27
a man looking down while presenting

Voice Quality

  • Volume
  • Pacing
  • Inflection
  • Articulation
  • Fillers

Figure 29: http:/docuguy.files.wordpress.com/2009/03/marissa_mayer_google_io-5_350x467.jpg
a woman presenting

Summary

Figure 31
an arrow showing the flow of a presentation.

References

Figure 32
the cover of Leadership Communication
Barrett, Deborah, Leadership Communication. McGraw-Hill, 2007.

Figure 33
logo for the Cain Project
Materials developed by Cain Project in Engineering and Professional Communication, www.cnx.org

Figure 34
cover of slide:ology
Duarte, Nancy. Slide:ology. O’Reilly, 2008.

Figure 35
Cover of Technically Speaking
D’Arcy, Jan. Technically Speaking. Columbus: Battelle Press, 1998.

Figure 36
Cover of How to Say it with your Voice
Jacobi, Jeffrey. How to Say It with Your Voice. Paramus: Prentice Hall, 2000.

Figure 37
the TED logo
Repository of interesting talks: Hans Rosling “The Best Stats You’ve Ever Seen” http://www.ted.com/talks/hans_rosling_shows_the_best_stats_you_ve_ever_seen.html

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