How to Give an Academic Talk

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Presentation designed for graduate students learning to give professional presentations. Based on my pedagogical essay How to Give an Academic Talk (http://pne.people.si.umich.edu/PDF/howtotalk.pdf).

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How to Give an Academic Talk

  1. 1. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. The terms of this licence allow you to remix, tweak, and build upon this work non-commercially, as long as you credit me and license your new creations under the identical terms. Quasi-permanent URL: pne.people.si.umich.edu/PDF/howtotalkslides.pdf How to Give an Academic Talk Paul N. Edwards School of Information and Dept. of History Paul N. Edwards, University of Michigan 22 January 2014
  2. 2. Today   What public speaking is for, and why it’s hard How to engage your audience      Physical presence and vocal techniques Using presentation software Timing Rehearsal: the key to success Troubleshooting: handling difficult situations Paul N. Edwards, University of Michigan 22 January 2014
  3. 3. Today   What public speaking is for, and why it’s hard How to engage your audience      Physical presence and vocal techniques Using presentation software Timing Rehearsal: the key to success Troubleshooting: handling difficult situations Paul N. Edwards, University of Michigan 22 January 2014
  4. 4. The awful academic talk      Speaker sits down Speaker reads Monotone Sentences long, complex, jargon-filled Exceeds time limit Paul N. Edwards, University of Michigan 22 January 2014
  5. 5. Why are so many talks so terrible?    Stage fright Academic culture(s) Public speaking skills aren’t taught   Students learn from professors’ bad habits Most talks aren’t rehearsed Paul N. Edwards, University of Michigan 22 January 2014
  6. 6. Listening is hard work     Conference audiences: many talks over many hours Job talks: many candidates Limits to human attention span (~40 minutes) Competing distractions    Other talks Internet/email Other concerns Paul N. Edwards, University of Michigan 22 January 2014
  7. 7. Purposes of public speaking   Communicate arguments and evidence Persuade audience that they are true Paul N. Edwards, University of Michigan 22 January 2014
  8. 8. Structures and contents    A talk is not a paper Give away your punch line: summarize Claims and evidence   What matters is why Focus on main points   What do you want your audience to remember? What can your audience remember? Paul N. Edwards, University of Michigan 22 January 2014
  9. 9. Purposes of public speaking    Communicate arguments and evidence Persuade audience that they are true Engage (excite, interest, entertain)   The forgotten purpose Mistake: equate “engaging” with “superficial” Paul N. Edwards, University of Michigan 22 January 2014
  10. 10. Today   What public speaking is for, and why it’s hard How to engage your audience      Physical presence and vocal techniques Using presentation software Timing Rehearsal: the key to success Troubleshooting: handling difficult situations Paul N. Edwards, University of Michigan 22 January 2014
  11. 11. Why engage and entertain?    To communicate and persuade… You need your audience’s full attention …and your audience needs your help to maintain focus Paul N. Edwards, University of Michigan 22 January 2014
  12. 12. Engaging your audience Physical presence  Sitting vs. standing    Talking vs. reading Moving vs. standing still   Be the dominant animal Always face audience Make eye contact!   Or at least look like it Don’t “side” the room Paul N. Edwards, University of Michigan 22 January 2014
  13. 13. Engaging your audience Vocal production  Loud and clear!    Breathe! Use the diaphragm    Talk to the back row Speak from the belly, not the head Belly opens on inhale, contracts on exhale Use sound reinforcement Paul N. Edwards, University of Michigan 22 January 2014
  14. 14. Engaging your audience Vocal technique  Things to watch out for:     Uptalk Monotone Like, y’know, ummmm… The sound of authority: speak at the low end of your range Paul N. Edwards, University of Michigan 22 January 2014
  15. 15. Engaging your audience Take control of the environment    Temperature Light Noise and distractions Paul N. Edwards, University of Michigan 22 January 2014
  16. 16. Today   What public speaking is for, and why it’s hard How to engage your audience      Physical presence and vocal techniques Using presentation software Timing Rehearsal: the key to success Troubleshooting: handling difficult situations Paul N. Edwards, University of Michigan 22 January 2014
  17. 17. Using presentation software Less is more     Text: keep it simple Use images! Slide backgrounds: simple, bright Avoid glitzy special effects Paul N. Edwards, University of Michigan 22 January 2014
  18. 18. death by powerpoint
  19. 19. About Powerpoint  Less is more  20-30 words per text slide  USE images  USE ability to have many slides  Practice!  Don’t watch screen -- use your laptop or notes  Slide backgrounds: simple, bright  Backup, backup
  20. 20. About Powerpoint  Less is more  20-30 words per text slide  USE images  USE ability to have many slides  Practice!  Don’t watch screen -- use your laptop or notes  Slide backgrounds: simple, bright  Backup, backup
  21. 21. Rs calculated using Fick’s 1o law of diffusion using Moldrup et al. 1999 model Critical parameters: CO2 P Flux= -Ds C z Ds/Da= Ds Da s s= silt + sand b m
  22. 22. Rs as a function of T,
  23. 23. other ways to use powerpoint Paul N. Edwards, University of Michigan 22 January 2014
  24. 24. a word Paul N. Edwards, University of Michigan 22 January 2014
  25. 25. or an image Paul N. Edwards, University of Michigan 22 January 2014
  26. 26. climate change Paul N. Edwards, University of Michigan 22 January 2014
  27. 27. Paul N. Edwards, University of Michigan 22 January 2014
  28. 28. even more radical: don’t use it Paul N. Edwards, University of Michigan 22 January 2014
  29. 29. Using presentation software Less is more   If you use video: keep it short Don’t talk to the screen  Use your laptop or notes Paul N. Edwards, University of Michigan 22 January 2014
  30. 30. Today   What public speaking is for, and why it’s hard How to engage your audience      Physical presence and vocal techniques Using presentation software Timing Rehearsal: the key to success Troubleshooting: handling difficult situations Paul N. Edwards, University of Michigan 22 January 2014
  31. 31. Timing    Respect your audience, and your colleagues: finish on time!! Use a timer or watch Know what you can skip…    …and it’s not your conclusions. Don’t draw attention to mistiming Create a standard slide length Paul N. Edwards, University of Michigan 22 January 2014
  32. 32. Today   What public speaking is for, and why it’s hard How to engage your audience      Physical presence and vocal techniques Using presentation software Timing Rehearsal: the key to success Troubleshooting: handling difficult situations Paul N. Edwards, University of Michigan 22 January 2014
  33. 33. Practice, practice, practice!    Rehearsal matters more than slide prep Time yourself Improvising? Practice, and account for the time! Paul N. Edwards, University of Michigan 22 January 2014
  34. 34. practice!!!!!
  35. 35. Murphy’s Law: planning for disaster     Use your own laptop Backup, backup, backup!! Bring a printout Imagine (and plan for) the worst possible audience Paul N. Edwards, University of Michigan 22 January 2014
  36. 36. Summing up: usually better…       Talk Stand Move Speak loudly Face the audience Make eye contact  or fake it       Focus on main arguments Summarize at beginning and end Use visual aids Finish within time limit Rehearse Respond to audience Paul N. Edwards, University of Michigan 22 January 2014
  37. 37. Today   What public speaking is for, and why it’s hard How to engage your audience      Physical presence and vocal techniques Using presentation software Timing Rehearsal: the key to success Troubleshooting: handling difficult situations Paul N. Edwards, University of Michigan 22 January 2014
  38. 38. Troubleshooting  Difficult people    Interruptions Heckling Difficult vocal problems    High-pitched voices Quiet voices Second-language issues Paul N. Edwards, University of Michigan 22 January 2014
  39. 39. Troubleshooting  Difficult rooms     Dark Large, without sound reinforcement Steep pitch Difficult audiences    Very small Not your field Hostile Paul N. Edwards, University of Michigan 22 January 2014
  40. 40. Emulate excellent speakers Not just what they say —  But what they do  Paul N. Edwards, University of Michigan 22 January 2014
  41. 41. Whatever you practice, you get good at… “How to Give an Academic Talk” (written version): pne.people.si.umich.edu/PDF/howtotalk.pdf Paul N. Edwards, University of Michigan 22 January 2014

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