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Step Away from the PowerPoint

Most scientific talks involve a PowerPoint slideshow that walk the listener through the steps experiments and the overall story. But as Vicki Doronina notes at Bitesize Bio, there are other ways to give a presentation.

While she says there are alternative presentation software to PowerPoint — like those from Open Office, Google, and LaTeX — Doronina writes that there are also different presentation styles than the linear one offered by PowerPoint.

She points to presentation software called Prezi that allows its users to organize their talk more like a poster, and then they can zoom in on each part as they go. She adds that this approach can be "eye-catching and original."

However, that "is still a visual crutch," Doronina says, adding that some spots in the US and the UK are limiting prospective students or employees to a whiteboard or paper for their talks.

"It is very important to keep your presentation skills flexible, and to always think carefully about the best way to approach your presentation, rather than going for the default all of the time," she says. "I certainly remember an explanation of DNA super-coiling that was demonstrated with the help of a rope much better than numerous PPT presentations I’ve seen on the same topic."