If you are giving a scientific talk at a conference (e.g., one that lasts 10 minutes), do you really need an outline slide? Do you really think the audience needs to know what the basic content of your scientific presentation is going to be? Even in longer talks, is such a slide really needed? When […]
If you do, you are wasting a valuable opportunity to leave your audience with your take-home message. Of course, you should express your appreciation to your audience by thanking them for their attention, but I am not impressed by a speaker who thinks that a slide is the way to express such sincerity. Likewise, everyone […]
In Eloquent Science (p. 279), I made the argument that light-colored text on dark-colored backgrounds was preferable to dark-colored text on light-colored backgrounds for three reasons. 1. Red lasers (especially if the laser light is weak) may not show up well on white backgrounds. 2. Slides with white backgrounds lose contrast if the room is […]
Thanks to Mark Goetz!
I do not use PowerPoint in class. PowerPoint is virtually a necessity for scientific talks, but I think they often hurt classroom lectures. They lock me into a particular order, and they tend to make me go through material too fast. My handwriting is poor, but I write in class so I don’t go too […]
Previously, I provided three items of essential reading. Here are other books that I highly recommend for improving your scientific communication skills. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED READING ON WRITING Cook (1986): Line by Line: How to Edit Your Own Writing delivers a thorough accounting of the editing process. The book deals mainly with sentence-level revisions and contains […]
From the NERC booklet Communicating Your Ideas. More about this booklet here.
On the recommendation of Prof. David Karoly, I bought Randy Olson’s Don’t Be Such a Scientist: Talking Substance in an Age of Style. I highly recommend this book for those who want to make their science more accessible to others (both scientists and nonscientists). Olson breaks down his observations of how best to communicate to […]
This 18-minute video called “Talking Science: The Elusive Art of the Science Talk” was produced by the USC Wrigley Institute for Environmental Studies and the USC Annenberg School for Communication. It was made by Randy Olsen, author of Don’t Be Such a Scientist: Talking Substance in an Age of Style. I was informed of Olsen’s […]
If you want to make two resolutions for 2010, here’s what I recommend. One for scientific presentations: I will not start my talks with an “Outline” slide. Instead, I will motivate my talk with something to grab the attention of the audience and get them interested in what I am about to say. Read more […]