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How to Give Effective Scientific Presentations

Tiffani L. Williams

Department of Computer Science Texas A&M University

How to Give Effective Scientific Presentations Tiffani L. Williams Department of Computer Science Texas A&M Universityhttp://faculty.cs.tamu.edu/tlw " id="pdf-obj-0-10" src="pdf-obj-0-10.jpg">

Part I

Introduction

Part I Introduction
Introduction Why Do We Give Presentations? Persuasive: Convincing your audience to follow a particular course of

Introduction

Why Do We Give Presentations?

Persuasive: Convincing your audience to follow a particular course of action.

Instructional: Showing others how to perform a specific task (e.g., laboratory demonstration).

Informative: Presenting new findings of information.

Introduction Why Do We Give Presentations? Persuasive: Convincing your audience to follow a particular course of
Introduction What Makes Giving a Presentation Difficult? One chance for the audience to hear. The audience

Introduction

What Makes Giving a Presentation Difficult?

One chance for the audience to hear. The audience cannot look up background information. The audience is restricted to the speaker’s pace. Success is dependent upon the speaker’s ability to deliver.

Training on how to give scientific presentations is often not provided.

Introduction What Makes Giving a Presentation Difficult? One chance for the audience to hear. The audience

Part II

Overcoming Our Fears

Part II Overcoming Our Fears
Overcoming Our Fears Activity #1
Overcoming Our Fears
Activity #1

What are your fears when giving a scientific presentation?

Overcoming Our Fears Activity #1 What are your fears when giving a scientific presentation?
Overcoming Our Fears My Fears
Overcoming Our Fears
My Fears

Losing the audience’s attention. Lacking sufficient material. Appearing too simple. Presenting work to a mixed audience.

Overcoming Our Fears My Fears Losing the audience’s attention. Lacking sufficient material. Appearing too simple. Presenting
Overcoming Our Fears A successful presentation starts with a confident speaker. Stay calm and relaxed. Know

Overcoming Our Fears

A successful presentation starts with a confident speaker.

Stay calm and relaxed. Know your material. Practice giving your presentation.

You have a valuable message to share!

Overcoming Our Fears A successful presentation starts with a confident speaker. Stay calm and relaxed. Know

Part III

Structure: The Strategy You Choose

Part III Structure: The Strategy You Choose
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Figure: Boston subway.

Shuttle Bus To Quincy To Hull To Hingham . . . The Alternate Route. To Lowell
Figure: Boston subway.

Figure: Boston subway.

Figure: Boston subway.
Structure: The Strategy You Choose Maps Maps and Presentations Every map has an intended audience. Maps

Structure: The Strategy You Choose

Maps

Maps and Presentations

Every map has an intended audience.

Maps are defined by what they include but are often more revealing in what they exclude.

It is impossible to show everything!

No matter how hard you try to include everything, there will always be something missing.

However, whatever you decide to present should tell a story.

Structure: The Strategy You Choose Maps Maps and Presentations Every map has an intended audience. Maps
Structure: The Strategy You Choose The Audience What Story Will You Tell? Remember, you will never

Structure: The Strategy You Choose

The Audience

What Story Will You Tell?

Remember, you will never be able to tell the full story. Instead, you must select the pieces that are the most relevant. But, how do you select what to present?

Structure: The Strategy You Choose The Audience What Story Will You Tell? Remember, you will never
Structure: The Strategy You Choose The Audience Activity #2 Imagine that you are packing for a

Structure: The Strategy You Choose

The Audience

Activity #2

Imagine that you are packing for a trip. What will you bring?

Structure: The Strategy You Choose The Audience Activity #2 Imagine that you are packing for a
Structure: The Strategy You Choose The Audience I Need More Information! What is my destination? What

Structure: The Strategy You Choose

The Audience

I Need More Information!

What is my destination? What is my purpose (e.g., vacation, business trip) How long will I be gone?

Structure: The Strategy You Choose The Audience I Need More Information! What is my destination? What
Structure: The Strategy You Choose The Audience Packing and Presentations You wouldn’t pack for a trip

Structure: The Strategy You Choose

The Audience

Packing and Presentations

You wouldn’t pack for a trip without knowing the destination and the intended purpose of the trip.

Similarly, you should never give a presentation without considering your audience and their needs.

Structure: The Strategy You Choose The Audience Packing and Presentations You wouldn’t pack for a trip
Structure: The Strategy You Choose The Audience Thinking About Your Audience What does the audience know?

Structure: The Strategy You Choose

The Audience

Thinking About Your Audience

What does the audience know? What are they unlikely to know? What kind of talk would the audience find appealing?

Structure: The Strategy You Choose The Audience Thinking About Your Audience What does the audience know?
Structure: The Strategy You Choose The Audience My Audience Composed mostly of students. Has given or

Structure: The Strategy You Choose

The Audience

My Audience

Composed mostly of students. Has given or seen a scientific presentation. Interested in learning about giving effective presentations.

May have been strongly encouraged (or forced) to attend by their advisor.

Structure: The Strategy You Choose The Audience My Audience Composed mostly of students. Has given or

Part IV

Sample Presentation

Part IV Sample Presentation
Sample Presentation Audience Expectations What Does the Audience Want to Know? What’s the Problem? (Introduction) What

Sample Presentation

Audience Expectations

What Does the Audience Want to Know?

What’s the Problem? (Introduction) What are You Doing? (Experiment and Method)

What Have You Found and What Does It Means? (Results and Discussion)

Take-Home Message (Conclusions) Who Did and Paid for the Work? (Acknowledgements)

Sample Presentation Audience Expectations What Does the Audience Want to Know? What’s the Problem? (Introduction) What
Sample Presentation Outline slide Get rid of the outline slide! Motivation Your Algorithm or Methodology Experimental

Sample Presentation

Outline slide

Get rid of the outline slide!

Motivation Your Algorithm or Methodology Experimental Results Conclusions Future Work

Sample Presentation Outline slide Get rid of the outline slide! Motivation Your Algorithm or Methodology Experimental
Sample Presentation Reaching Multiple Audiences Major Second Intro First Major Topic Topic Ending time Nontechnical General

Sample Presentation

Reaching Multiple Audiences

Major Second Intro First Major Topic Topic Ending time Nontechnical General Technical Specialist
Major Second
Intro
First Major Topic
Topic
Ending
time
Nontechnical
General Technical
Specialist

depth

Figure: You can’t please everyone all of the time. Adapted from The Craft of Scientific Presentations by Michael Alley.

Sample Presentation Reaching Multiple Audiences Major Second Intro First Major Topic Topic Ending time Nontechnical General
Sample Presentation What’s the problem? TGCTA TGGTC CGATA AGCTC ACCGC AGCTT TCGCG CAGTT CAGTG Figure: Phylogeny:Illustration.

Sample Presentation

What’s the problem?

TGCTA TGGTC CGATA AGCTC ACCGC AGCTT TCGCG CAGTT CAGTG
TGCTA
TGGTC
CGATA
AGCTC
ACCGC
AGCTT
TCGCG
CAGTT
CAGTG

Figure: Phylogeny:Illustration.

Sample Presentation What’s the problem? TGCTA TGGTC CGATA AGCTC ACCGC AGCTT TCGCG CAGTT CAGTG Figure: Phylogeny:Illustration.
Sample Presentation What’s the problem? Phylogeny From the Tree University of the Life of Website, Arizona

Sample Presentation

What’s the problem?

Phylogeny

From the Tree University of the Life of Website, Arizona Orangutan Gorilla Chimpanzee Human
From the Tree University of the Life of Website, Arizona
Orangutan
Gorilla Chimpanzee
Human
Sample Presentation What’s the problem? Phylogeny From the Tree University of the Life of Website, Arizona
Sample Presentation What’s the problem? Phylogeny From the Tree University of the Life of Website, Arizona
Sample Presentation What’s the problem? Phylogeny From the Tree University of the Life of Website, Arizona
Sample Presentation What’s the problem? Phylogeny From the Tree University of the Life of Website, Arizona
Sample Presentation What’s the problem? Phylogeny From the Tree University of the Life of Website, Arizona
Sample Presentation What’s the problem? What’s so hard about reconstructing a tree? We can’t verify the

Sample Presentation

What’s the problem?

What’s so hard about reconstructing a tree?

We can’t verify the answer! We are trying to predict the past.

The number of possible trees for n organisms (or taxa) is (2n 5)!! = 1 × 3 × 5 × 7 × · · ·(2n 5).

How many possible hypotheses are there for 500 taxa?

Sample Presentation What’s the problem? What’s so hard about reconstructing a tree? We can’t verify the
Sample Presentation What’s the problem? Number of trees for 500 taxa 101152636853253307474012545536814184545953595103177817441326760 575354540027354239923185120850729281452188845672454906078405199 548334663555835357748979700404888152382777235828789778883827083 879520379654335442692118284017668933765146297741290321491422188 461934211322520490553755930128491420943083731473702853911575459

Sample Presentation

What’s the problem?

Number of trees for 500 taxa

101152636853253307474012545536814184545953595103177817441326760

575354540027354239923185120850729281452188845672454906078405199

548334663555835357748979700404888152382777235828789778883827083

879520379654335442692118284017668933765146297741290321491422188

461934211322520490553755930128491420943083731473702853911575459

092790187541739039779539968260469372709754907153967724213213301

619211242677711757042116860278030246424393282604683928277544702

004024525439745312625940855936045351781359433925232787668240389

543059720773515213084928436546402475634030885682876051282569771

792020997072230898150513179396946394522142159208349384664346962

256120104483730916485543102772698545449577536942796787841027981

718342034235251080912363733252495409554975559313272782465380621

055314336272287166870064159034339277014925661499965120537691592

061432825699618256792894495401900633880555360239418241295638642

828064143651877071620389850413570868327006823979839417007571891

860810831375937653051279717486968104181402271737999015446125297

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920259212050615153793334686404827729255644086503451717362622730

433940887451171875

Sample Presentation What’s the problem? Number of trees for 500 taxa 101152636853253307474012545536814184545953595103177817441326760 575354540027354239923185120850729281452188845672454906078405199 548334663555835357748979700404888152382777235828789778883827083 879520379654335442692118284017668933765146297741290321491422188 461934211322520490553755930128491420943083731473702853911575459
Sample Presentation What’s the problem? What do we do now? The problem isn’t going away. Grand

Sample Presentation

What’s the problem?

What do we do now?

The problem isn’t going away.

Grand Challenge problem: Tree of Life Evolutionary history of all known species on the planet (estimates between 10 to 100 million)

We need heuristics!

Recast as a optimization problem. Optimization criterion of interest: maximum parsimony

Sample Presentation What’s the problem? What do we do now? The problem isn’t going away. Grand
Sample Presentation What’s the problem? Remainder of Presentation What am I Doing? (Experiment and Method) What

Sample Presentation

What’s the problem?

Remainder of Presentation

What am I Doing? (Experiment and Method)

What Have I Found and What Does It Means? (Results and Discussion)

Take-Home Message (Conclusions) Who Did and Paid for the Work? (Acknowledgements)

Sample Presentation What’s the problem? Remainder of Presentation What am I Doing? (Experiment and Method) What

Part V

Visual Aids: Your Supporting Cast

Part V Visual Aids: Your Supporting Cast
Visual Aids: Your Supporting Cast Software Presentation Software PowerPoint The most frequently used software for creating

Visual Aids: Your Supporting Cast

Software

Presentation Software

PowerPoint

The most frequently used software for creating presentations. “Power corrupts. PowerPoint absolutely corrupts.” – Edward Tufte

Keynote (only available on Mac OS X) Latex-based tools

Prosper Beamer (used for this presentation)

Visual Aids: Your Supporting Cast Software Presentation Software PowerPoint The most frequently used software for creating
Visual Aids: Your Supporting Cast Software Keep It Short and Simple (K.I.S.S.) Some people cannot resist

Visual Aids: Your Supporting Cast

Software

Keep It Short and Simple (K.I.S.S.)

Some people cannot resist the temptation to assert their mathematical superiority.

Consider the following equation

ln(e) + sin 2 x + cos 2 x =

inf

  • 2 n

n=0

and its more “trivial” form

1 + 1 = 2.

Visual Aids: Your Supporting Cast Software Keep It Short and Simple (K.I.S.S.) Some people cannot resist
Visual Aids: Your Supporting Cast Plots 4 7 0.1 0.0 0.2 n-gram, unrelated n-gram, permuted similarity

Visual Aids: Your Supporting Cast

Plots

4 7 0.1 0.0 0.2 n-gram, unrelated n-gram, permuted similarity score n 15 60 2 1.0
4
7
0.1
0.0
0.2
n-gram, unrelated
n-gram, permuted
similarity score
n
15
60
2
1.0
0.9
0.8
0.7
0.6
0.5
0.4
0.3

Figure: A poorly designed plot.

Visual Aids: Your Supporting Cast Plots 4 7 0.1 0.0 0.2 n-gram, unrelated n-gram, permuted similarity
Visual Aids: Your Supporting Cast Plots 0.8 n-perm, unrelated n-perm, permuted similarity score n 100 60

Visual Aids: Your Supporting Cast

Plots

0.8 n-perm, unrelated n-perm, permuted similarity score n 100 60 30 15 10 7 5 1.0
0.8
n-perm, unrelated
n-perm, permuted
similarity score
n
100
60
30
15
10
7
5
1.0
0.9
0.7
0.6
0.5
0.4
0.3
0.2
0.1
0.0
2
3
4

Figure: Another poorly designed plot.

Visual Aids: Your Supporting Cast Plots 0.8 n-perm, unrelated n-perm, permuted similarity score n 100 60

Part VI

Delivery: It’s Showtime!

Part VI Delivery: It’s Showtime!
Delivery: It’s Showtime! Speech
Delivery: It’s Showtime!
Speech

Show enthusiasm. Speak freely. Speak clearly. Speak slower than you would in a normal conversation. Make sure you are speaking the audience’s language.

Delivery: It’s Showtime! Speech Show enthusiasm. Speak freely. Speak clearly. Speak slower than you would in
Delivery: It’s Showtime! Stay on Track! Don’t go over your allotted time!

Delivery: It’s Showtime!

Stay on Track!

Don’t go over your allotted time!

Delivery: It’s Showtime! Stay on Track! Don’t go over your allotted time!
Delivery: It’s Showtime! Stay on Track! Don’t go over your allotted time!
Delivery: It’s Showtime! Surviving the Discussion Period Handling Questions You say: That’s a very interesting question.

Delivery: It’s Showtime!

Surviving the Discussion Period

Handling Questions

You say: That’s a very interesting question. You mean: You obviously didn’t listen properly.

You say: I’m glad you raised that point. You mean: I’ll say it again, so listen this time!

You say: I’m afraid I don’t know the answer to that one. You mean: Why did you have to ask that? It’s irrelevant here.

You say: Yes, the additional experiments you suggest are very appropriate. You mean: I don’t care about running more experiments. I simply want to graduate!

Delivery: It’s Showtime! Surviving the Discussion Period Handling Questions You say: That’s a very interesting question.
Delivery: It’s Showtime! Surviving the Discussion Period Don’t forget ... You are the expert! A few

Delivery: It’s Showtime!

Surviving the Discussion Period

Don’t forget ...

You are the expert! A few people ask questions to be obnoxious.

Many people ask questions because they are interested in your work.

The sign of a good presentation is a lively discussion afterwards.

Delivery: It’s Showtime! Surviving the Discussion Period Don’t forget ... You are the expert! A few

Part VII

Wrap-Up

Part VII Wrap-Up
Concluding Remarks Summary
Concluding Remarks
Summary

The key to an effective presentation is concern for your audience.

Don’t overwhelm them, but don’t underwhelm them either.

Say what you need to say and sit down. Everyone’s internal clock is ticking.

Relax, stay calm, and remember you are the expert!

Concluding Remarks Summary The key to an effective presentation is concern for your audience. Don’t overwhelm

References

Michael Alley, The Craft of Scientific Presentations: Critical Steps to Succeed and Critical Errors to Avoid, 2003.

Claus Ascheron and Angela Kickuth, Make Your Mark in Science, 2005.

Edward R. Tufte, The Cognitive Style of PowerPoint, 2003.

Peter Turchi, Maps of the Imagination: The Writer as Cartographer, 2004.

Justin Zobel, Writing for Computer Science, 2004.

References Michael Alley, The Craft of Scientific Presentations: Critical Steps to Succeed and Critical Errors to

Thank you for your attention

Thank you for your attention