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Creating & Developing Compelling Academic Presentations

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OII DPhil seminar workshop about delivering compelling academic presentations.

OII DPhil seminar workshop about delivering compelling academic presentations.

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  • Les --

    Thank you for your very useful feedback. The points you mention are crucial in developing solid academic presentations. I mentioned these points during my presentation and agree that they are the most central problems plaguing academics when they present.

    Many thanks!
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  • Nice to see an effort in changing academic presentation styles:


    1. Why use bullet points represented as drawing pins on a blackboard theme? Incongruity?

    2.You missed the most important mistake academics make... You construct and write a paper for publication and construct and deliver a presentation (using the same core material) to a live breathing audience. They are not the same. While the core material maybe the same the constraints on each audience are different...
    Academics make the same repeated mistake of dumping their paper publications onto slides, adding bullet points, denuding content, and then fail to engage with their speech delivery, which slides can barely overcome....

    SO, thank you for putting the topic and slide samples out there... and for citing Garr's work...

    Les Posen
    Presentation Magic
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  • Why do we do it? Where do we do it? What do we offer? What do we hope to gain?
  • jot down a few goals you have for your presentation. feel free to borrow from this list or create your own.
  • I’d like you to think about an upcoming presentation you’re planning. What do you know about your audience? who are they, generally?
    Really, what is a day like for them? What do they worry about? what keeps them up at night? What are they passionate about?
  • What do they hope to get out of your presentation?

  • why does it matter? why should it matter? the toughest part of interdisciplinary dialogue
  • people like Steve Jobs believe your main idea should fit on a napkin, others, a post-it

  • returning to the list from earlier, what idea, action, question, do you hope your audience will walk away with?
  • turn to someone next to you and share what you think your big idea is. be prepared for them not to understand. spend a few minutes discussing your ideas and pay attention to the questions they ask.


  • 1. Creating & Delivering Compelling Academic Presentations Monica Bulger, Oxford Internet Institute November 2010
  • 2. Why do we present?
  • 3. advocate clarify test confirm challenge question practice Purpose
  • 4. persuade inform advocate clarify test Purpose confirm challenge question practice
  • 5. Who do we present to?
  • 6. Why are they here?
  • 7. what are they passionate about? what do they hope to gain? --adapted from Duarteʼs slide:ology
  • 8. How will you meet their needs? --adapted from Duarteʼs slide:ology
  • 9. clearly explain your purpose/rationale define your scope provide context use vivid examples and, most importantly...
  • 10. the toughest challenge of interdisciplinary dialogue...
  • 11. address the so what? of your research
  • 12. BIG idea --adapted from Duarteʼs slide:ology
  • 13. + 3 main points
  • 14. before they leave the room... what do you want your audience to know?
  • 15. find your message
  • 16. What surprised you in your discussions?
  • 17. Overheard during the discussion: Theoretical or empirical? What frame? How do you do it? What would be the applications? Whatʼs your big idea?! Blow my mind!
  • 18. Presentations are not about perfection, theyʼre about communication
  • 19. presentation vs. story
  • 20. not a dump of what you know, but why itʼs important
  • 21. talking at vs. talking to
  • 22. stories = understanding
  • 23. find the story in your data
  • 24. Sample student data visualizations --images from “Pathway to Self-Funding,” “Cumulative Impacts of Large-Scale Renewable Energy Development in the West Mojave,” “Management Recommendations for Piute Ponds, EAB,” and “Post-Fire Sedimentation and Flood Risk Potential in the Mission Creek Watershed of Santa Barbara,” available at http://www.bren.ucsb.edu/research/gp2009.htm
  • 25. Think differently: not what the data has to say, but what you have to say about the data
  • 26. Acknowledgment: from this point on, the beautiful, well-designed slides were either created or co-designed by Aaron Sobel, my colleague at the Bren School of Environmental Science and Management
  • 27. Think visually --image from visualcomplexity.com
  • 28. What is your data story? --image from Design & the Elastic Mind exhibition, “The Million Dollar Blocks Project” available at http://www.moma.org
  • 29. Barack Obama Personal Visits by State Jan 2007 - Feb 2008 --Image created by graduate students in UCSBʼs Geography Department using data from IGERT “Issue Browser” project (2009)
  • 30. 3-D allows for visualizing complex data -- Time Magazine http://www.time.com/time/covers/20061030/where_we_live/
  • 31. Visualizing the distance to the nearest McDonaldʼs --Image from infosthetics, available at http://www.infosthetics.com
  • 32. What does the pie chart tell us? What information is important? --Adlerman, D., Maciejowski, N., Randall, J., Shirley, R. (2009). Management Recommendations for Piute Ponds Edwards Air Force Base, California (Project Poster). Bren School of Environmental Science and Management, University of California, Santa Barbara. Available at http://www.bren.ucsb.edu/research/ gp2009.htm
  • 33. Draw the viewerʼs attention
  • 34. Focus on key points -- image from Duarteʼs (2008) slide:ology, p. 69
  • 35. Draw the viewerʼs -- Presentation Zen http://www.presentationzen.com
  • 36. Draw the viewerʼs attention -- Presentation Zen http://www.presentationzen.com
  • 37. -- Presentation Zen http://www.presentationzen.com
  • 38. -- Presentation Zen http://www.presentationzen.com
  • 39. -- Presentation Zen http://www.presentationzen.com
  • 40. why is this slide better? -- Presentation Zen http://www.presentationzen.com
  • 41. -- Yes! A Journal of Positive Future, Summer 2006, p. 39
  • 42. Find the best fit for representing your data visually
  • 43. Pie charts vs. bar graphs proportion comparison -- image from Dutton, W.J. & Helsper, E.J. (2007). Oxford Internet Survey 2007 Report: The Internet in Britain. Oxford Internet Institute, UK.