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Skip Navigation LinksHome > Programs and Activities > ODS Seminars, Conferences, and Workshops > Scientifically Speaking: How to Prepare an Effective Talk

Scientifically Speaking: How to Prepare an Effective Talk

Barrett Whitener, IQ Solutions

Preparation Order Presentation Order
  • Take Home Message
  • Main Question
  • Money Slide
  • Supporting Slides
  • Common Ground
  • Exit Line
  • Title
  • Title
  • Common Ground
  • Main Question
  • Money Slide
  • Supporting Slides
  • Take Home Message
  • Exit Line

The Hour Glass Format
(Presentation Order)

The Hour Glass Format -- A visual representnation of the three sections of a presentation: 
Introduction, Data, and Resolution. Introduction contains Common Ground; Data contains Main Question, Money Slide, Supporting Slides; Resolution contains 
Take Home Message and Exit Line.

Note: the Money Slide may be placed anywhere within the Data section.

Common Ground

The introduction section of the presentation: Common Ground. 1. What is the problem at 
10,000 feet? 2. What scientific _aspect_ of the problem does your project address? 3. _Why_ is this the best/most promising aspect to study at this point?
4. (Main Question)

15 Keys to Public-Speaking Success

  1. Have a short and engaging title.
  2. Speak with a strong voice and precise diction.
  3. Share genuine enthusiasm for the subject.
  4. In the introduction, acknowledge the audience's challenges and give the rationale for your proposed approach to them (Common Ground).
  5. Specify the issue you will be addressing via a clear Main Question.
  6. Feature one Money Slide, describing it particularly well.
  7. Applying the "2 minutes per slide" average, include an appropriate number of Supporting Slides for the time allotted.
  8. Teach the audience, giving them ample time to absorb each piece of information.
  9. To remain in control of the presentation, exhibit minimal reliance on the images.
  10. Preview, highlight and interpret each image.
  11. Synthesize all the points into a brief Take Home Message.
  12. Give future steps/directions succinctly, with a very brief rationale or example for each.
  13. End with a strong Exit Line.
  14. Repeat each question from the audience and keep answers brief.
  15. End the session on (or under) time.