Re: Presenting at histology conferences

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From:Ian Montgomery <> (by way of histonet)
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At 22:33 13/11/99 -0500, you wrote:
>Help!  Does anyone out there in Histo Land know of a written guide for
>first time presentors?  I am contemplating giving a short lecture in Nov
>2000 at the annual Mohs conference in Denver.  Save for extreme stage
>fright and no experience speaking to large groups of people I would just
>plough through this challenge except I am one of those types who is never
>too prepared for anything.  Any suggestions, ideas, etc would be
>appreciated. Also how does one go about making overheads from notes?
>Thanks in advance.
>Sue Becker, HTL
>Albany, NY

	A short lecture - how long is short 10-15 minutes, 30 minutes.
Tailor the
talk to the time.

	Oveheads, pretty easy. If you have a computer prepare the text for the
overhead here then use a xerox with transparency sheets. KEEP THEM SIMPLE,
don't cover the overhead with text, your audience with still be reading it
when you move on. The overhead is also your guide to the lecture, use it,
each of the headings will allow you to expand on the theme and keep the
audience with you. DON'T have masses of overheads, keep the number down to
a minimum, your audience can only absorb so much in the time allowed. Also,
with overheads, don't switch from pointing at the overhead on the tablet
then on the projection screen, stick to one method. Depending on the
overhead point at the tablet. Personally I don't point at all with
overheads, I keep them simple enough for the audience to read clearly, but
I use them as the guide to my lecture while I wax lyrically on each
heading. As a guide, they help you relax and follow the flow of the
lecture. Oh, keep your eye on the audience and make sure they have finished
reading the overhead, someone may be taking notes. If you want a couple of
extra seconds don't whip the overhead away simply say 'Now in the next
overhead blah, blah, blah', then take it away. I know it's easy to say but
if you give the impression of being relaxed you'll actually relax yourself.

	Slides, again don't have to many, keep to the minimum, but choose your
best. One good slide is worth several interesting but not so good. Again
structure the talk around the slides and use these as reminders. If the
lecture theatre has 2 screens USE THEM, a 2x2 slide on one and an overhead
on the other, both directly relating to each other. Then you simply become
the story teller in the middle. Pointer technique. - Whether a wooden
pointer or laser, DON'T let the pointer wander around the screen. Point
directly and hold it there. If the pointer wanders the eyes of the audience
will wander and you can cause confusion as to what you really mean.

1.) Make an outline of the entire lecture then decide what overheads and or
slides would illustrate the major points. KEEP THE NUMBER WITHIN LIMITS.
Now write the lecture. Read it over slowly and time the entire talk, giving
yourself an extra couple of minutes for slide and overhead changes. As you
develop your style you will be able to continue talking as these change. If
you are within time, good, but if out either way then revise accordingly.
Now write again as you will say it, spoken English differs slightly from
written. Check the new time. Commit to memory with the images of the
slides/overheads coming in and out as necessary.
	People have various styles. Some come in with the entire lecture
out then proceed to read it out verbatim, BORING. Others have cards with
the important points. Ok ,but you can lapse and start to read these out in
a list, BORING. Plus, if a beginner you might mix them up then waste time
sorting them out again. Be confident, practice beforehand and use the
overheads/slides as your giude to the lecture (number the overheads).
Benefits, your audience is at ease, this girl knows her subject , let's sit
and enjoy the talk.
2.) Speak SLOWLY and CLEARLY, don't mumble, talk to the audience, keep your
head up and look at them. Please, please, avoid the usual grammatical
faults of, ah, mmm, you know, you know, (what do we bloody know) after 10
minutes of you know or some other grammatical absurdity your audience will
be driven mad. Practice the lecture in front of your mum, dad, partner,
anybody friendly, get the timing correct plus for every time you say ah,
mm, you know, give them 10$, then at the end see how much you have lost.
This can be very salutary. It also has the benefit of getting rid of these
habits if you have picked them up over the years.
3.) SMILE, look confident, as if your an old timer at this game. Never ever
say that this is your first time. If there is questioning after the talk
you can be picked on, but if you look and sound confident then potential
troublemakers will be afraid just in case YOU, make them, look foolish.
4.) Have a few 'sucker slides or overheads'. If something hasn't come out
clearly and you have examples of a feature in greater detail use them.
Simply say that in the time allowed you didn't have time to present this
data but if the questioner wants to speak to you in person please contact
me after. That usually shuts the buggers up.
5.) Go for it, the first is always the worst and after the event not as bad
as you thought. Indeed, it is actually quite thrilling and you'll probably
get a 'high' doing it. The majority of audiences are friendly, even 240
medical students can be a good bunch. I once gave the same lecture 9 times
a week over a term so you can imagine by Friday afternoon I was telling
jokes and moonwalking, but, those were the good old days.

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