What makes a good talk? Seminar given by Stephen Curry         Imperial College            May 2011
Who is your audience?What do they know?What do they want?RESPECT
Who is your audience?What do they know?What do they want?RESPECTHow long have you got?
Tell a storyPeople like storiesBeginning, middle, end
BeginningIntroduce yourself (title slide with your name)
BeginningIntroduce yourself (title slide with your name)Introduce the topic   Set the context for your audience   Give the...
BeginningIntroduce yourself (title slide with your name)Introduce the topic   Set the context for your audience   Give the...
The middleKeep the story simple  selective but not misleading  vary the chronology?  save details for the paper (please!)
The middleKeep the story simple  selective but not misleading  vary the chronology?  save details for the paper (please!)C...
The middleKeep the story simple  selective but not misleading  vary the chronology?  save details for the paper (please!)C...
The middleKeep the story simple  selective but not misleading  vary the chronology?  save details for the paper (please!)C...
The endThink about what you want to leave withyour audienceSummarise main messages v. brieflyAcknowledgements
Stephen’s 3 golden rules      1. Less is more
Stephen’s 3 golden rules      1. Less is more      2. Less is more
Stephen’s 3 golden rules      1. Less is more      2. Less is more      3. Less is more
Keep it interestingBe yourself - talk to usBe enthusiastic - but naturally so  Were you excited/depressed? Tell us!Be dram...
A few technicalities
PowerPointersUse visual aids - but don’t hide behind themPowerpoint - make it work for you  Learn how to use the program  ...
PowerPointers Use visual aids - but don’t hide behind them Powerpoint - make it work for you   Learn how to use the progra...
Colour schemesUse high-contrast colour schemes  Projected images have lower contrast  than your computerUse a consistent c...
White backgrounds are nice and clean   (a n d m a y pr o v i d e s o m e i llu m i n at i o n o f yo u r n ote s)     Choo...
Blue backgrounds are a personal choice But you have to be more careful about text colours Black is not a good idea Dark Bl...
Dark blue or black may be OK...But keep thinking about those text colours...Black is hopelessDark Blue is very “Imperial” ...
Slide titles: keeping on trackTitles  give a brief statement of content  provide useful cues
Text issuesDon’t put too much text. It is really not necessary touse whole sentences and you should try to avoidending up ...
Text issuesDon’t put too much text. It is really not necessary touse whole sentences and you should try to avoidending up ...
Text legibility Make sure the text is big enough This is 48 pt - same as the title This is 36 pt - same as top bullet This...
FiguresAre your figures are big enough?                                  Too small
Figure size - abig issueMuch better -use the wholescreen - andadd labels!
Figure size - abig issue                               Ser                               489Much better -use the wholescre...
Showing sequence alignmentsOnly show this sort of thing if you trying to give anoverall impression!
Showing sequence alignmentsIf you want to discuss details, make the alignment legibleSeq1Seq2Seq3Seq4Seq5Seq6
Show the essentials onlyDon’t use figuresfrom paperswithout trimmingthe fatInclude citations if data is published:         ...
Show the essentials only      Edit the picture to focus on your data      Add more labels if required                     ...
The challenge of immunofluorescence
Other technical issuesAnimating elements on slides  Powerful but open to abuse
Other technical issuesAnimating elements on slides  Powerful but open to abuseVideo - use with care  Difficult to move betw...
Other technical issuesAnimating elements on slides  Powerful but open to abuseVideo - use with care  Difficult to move betw...
Take home messages   Think about your purpose   and your audience   Stories please   Less is more   Attention to visual de...
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What makes a good talk?

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Slides from a talk on how to give a good scientific seminar using slides. For details (and a video of the talk), see: http://occamstypewriter.org/scurry/2011/05/28/the-best-seminar/

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  • Experiment - put the end first?\n
  • Experiment - put the end first?\n
  • Experiment - put the end first?\n
  • Break up the flow - use summaries, switch tack - demonstrations, involve the audience, tell an anecdote\n
  • Break up the flow - use summaries, switch tack - demonstrations, involve the audience, tell an anecdote\n
  • Break up the flow - use summaries, switch tack - demonstrations, involve the audience, tell an anecdote\n
  • Break up the flow - use summaries, switch tack - demonstrations, involve the audience, tell an anecdote\n
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  • What makes a good talk?

    1. 1. What makes a good talk? Seminar given by Stephen Curry Imperial College May 2011
    2. 2. Who is your audience?What do they know?What do they want?RESPECT
    3. 3. Who is your audience?What do they know?What do they want?RESPECTHow long have you got?
    4. 4. Tell a storyPeople like storiesBeginning, middle, end
    5. 5. BeginningIntroduce yourself (title slide with your name)
    6. 6. BeginningIntroduce yourself (title slide with your name)Introduce the topic Set the context for your audience Give them the time to catch up with you Don’t be afraid to insult their intelligence
    7. 7. BeginningIntroduce yourself (title slide with your name)Introduce the topic Set the context for your audience Give them the time to catch up with you Don’t be afraid to insult their intelligenceTell the audience where are you going
    8. 8. The middleKeep the story simple selective but not misleading vary the chronology? save details for the paper (please!)
    9. 9. The middleKeep the story simple selective but not misleading vary the chronology? save details for the paper (please!)Clear links between elements
    10. 10. The middleKeep the story simple selective but not misleading vary the chronology? save details for the paper (please!)Clear links between elementsLong talks - break up the flow
    11. 11. The middleKeep the story simple selective but not misleading vary the chronology? save details for the paper (please!)Clear links between elementsLong talks - break up the flowMake good use of slides (see later)
    12. 12. The endThink about what you want to leave withyour audienceSummarise main messages v. brieflyAcknowledgements
    13. 13. Stephen’s 3 golden rules 1. Less is more
    14. 14. Stephen’s 3 golden rules 1. Less is more 2. Less is more
    15. 15. Stephen’s 3 golden rules 1. Less is more 2. Less is more 3. Less is more
    16. 16. Keep it interestingBe yourself - talk to usBe enthusiastic - but naturally so Were you excited/depressed? Tell us!Be dramatic - sense of suspense?
    17. 17. A few technicalities
    18. 18. PowerPointersUse visual aids - but don’t hide behind themPowerpoint - make it work for you Learn how to use the program Version compatibility (PC-PC; Mac-PC)Plan your slides carefully Colour scheme Text Figures
    19. 19. PowerPointers Use visual aids - but don’t hide behind them Powerpoint - make it work for you Learn how to use the program Version compatibility (PC-PC; Mac-PC) Plan your slides carefully Colour scheme Text Figureshttp://www.bio.ph.ic.ac.uk/~scurry/Tips.html
    20. 20. Colour schemesUse high-contrast colour schemes Projected images have lower contrast than your computerUse a consistent colour scheme Guide the audience - do not distract
    21. 21. White backgrounds are nice and clean (a n d m a y pr o v i d e s o m e i llu m i n at i o n o f yo u r n ote s) Choose your text colours with care: Black is safe Dark Blue is fine and very “Imperial” Red is OK in moderation Yellow would be a mistake So would light green...N.B. White is a good choice if you are printing slides as handouts
    22. 22. Blue backgrounds are a personal choice But you have to be more careful about text colours Black is not a good idea Dark Blue is very “Imperial” but no use here Red is a disaster!!! Green is not great! Don’t EVER use magenta on blue Yellow works well So does light pastel green (or orange)
    23. 23. Dark blue or black may be OK...But keep thinking about those text colours...Black is hopelessDark Blue is very “Imperial” but still no use hereRed may be OK - but use sparingly (for emphasis)Yellow works wellSo does light pastel green (or pale orange)
    24. 24. Slide titles: keeping on trackTitles give a brief statement of content provide useful cues
    25. 25. Text issuesDon’t put too much text. It is really not necessary touse whole sentences and you should try to avoidending up just reading the slides to people who cansee and read them for themselves. This practice tendsto annoy the audience because you are implying thatthey are illiterate.
    26. 26. Text issuesDon’t put too much text. It is really not necessary touse whole sentences and you should try to avoidending up just reading the slides to people who cansee and read them for themselves. This practice tendsto annoy the audience because you are implying thatthey are illiterate. Use bullet points - capture the essence
    27. 27. Text legibility Make sure the text is big enough This is 48 pt - same as the title This is 36 pt - same as top bullet This is 30 pt - minimum size for 6 slides/page handouts This is 24 pt This is 18 pt - getting a bit small This is 14 pt - use this a lot and the audience will turn offNB - actual point size may vary fromMac to PC (sizes shown are for a Mac)
    28. 28. FiguresAre your figures are big enough? Too small
    29. 29. Figure size - abig issueMuch better -use the wholescreen - andadd labels!
    30. 30. Figure size - abig issue Ser 489Much better -use the wholescreen - and Lysadd labels! 414 Tyr 411 Arg 410 Indoxyl SulphateBinding of indoxyl sulphate to drug site 2 in HSA
    31. 31. Showing sequence alignmentsOnly show this sort of thing if you trying to give anoverall impression!
    32. 32. Showing sequence alignmentsIf you want to discuss details, make the alignment legibleSeq1Seq2Seq3Seq4Seq5Seq6
    33. 33. Show the essentials onlyDon’t use figuresfrom paperswithout trimmingthe fatInclude citations if data is published: Simpson et al. (2004) Structure, 12, 1631-42
    34. 34. Show the essentials only Edit the picture to focus on your data Add more labels if required Protein Concentration (µM) Bound Free Simpson et al. (2004)Structure, 12, 1631-42
    35. 35. The challenge of immunofluorescence
    36. 36. Other technical issuesAnimating elements on slides Powerful but open to abuse
    37. 37. Other technical issuesAnimating elements on slides Powerful but open to abuseVideo - use with care Difficult to move between machines
    38. 38. Other technical issuesAnimating elements on slides Powerful but open to abuseVideo - use with care Difficult to move between machinesAnimated transitions use judiciously
    39. 39. Take home messages Think about your purpose and your audience Stories please Less is more Attention to visual detail
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