In the previous post, I touched on key questions to ask yourself before preparing a talk. This sets the general parameters (audience, length, …). At this point it would be easy to just fire up Powerpoint or Keynote, shuffle through your previous talks, pick, mix and make modifications.
Instead, I suggest you go analog.
This means go through a good old pen and paper approach, getting rid of “attention black hole ” that constitute software like Powerpoint (or the hardware itself since e-mail and so on are probably still running in the back ground). Turn it off and concentrate on the story to be told. More explicitly, I suggest using post-it notes and start planning your talk.
TIPS: One post-it note per slide relating to the idea or result (number(s), table or figure) for this particular slide.
Note that I did not use plural for table or figure. A charged slide is a turn off for the brain. Your audience should be able to catch what’s going on in seconds. Otherwise, you’ve just lost them (in particular in a 8 or 10 minutes presentation), they will either spend their time analyzing your slide and stop listening to you or take their smartphone and look at their e-mails.
TIPS: any figure or table you will show should be very well thought off. The shorter the presentation the more time you should spend on them.
Back to our post-it notes. The great things about post-it as a surrogate for slides (with a one for one match) is that you can use you desk or even wall as your story board. It is easy to change order or simply throw one in the garbage and pick a fresh one.
Once you have iterated your story to the point were you fell confident, your ready to move to the digital world again 😉
Try it a few times and see if your presentations have improve…
Looking for a few great read related to scientific presentations, I suggest going to these previous posts