David Winter at The Atavism shares tips for giving a great talk this week. Much like blogger Notorious PhD recently noted, Winter also emphasizes the importance of considering the needs of your listeners. "Think about your audience, then tell them a story," he says. While you're well aware of why you chose to interrogate a particular protein, it's not a sound idea to assume that everyone in the audience is. "A week after you’ve given your talk, no one is going to remember the degree to which transcript NM_091299.1 was over-represented in your second experiment, but if you told them a really good story about how you found out how a certain gene plays a role in a disease it will stick with them," Winter adds. While some of his tips mirror those Notorious PhD shared — practice out loud and be confident, among others — Winter also adds suggestions specific to slide design. Keep charts and graphs as simple as possible, he says. For example, "do you need a legend for your bar chart, or can you directly label the bars?" he asks, adding that it's imperative that every image is easily discernable. "You don’t want to end up saying 'I know this is hard to see, but...' at any stage" of your talk, he says. As for the Q&A portion of your talk, Winter says it's a good idea to number your slides and keep the page numbers for your "big data" slides at the ready, so that when someone asks about a particular figure or data point, you can quickly navigate to it before you begin to answer. "In PowerPoint, typing the number of a slide lets you jump to that slide. … you can skip write to it when you are asked a question about it and look like a pro," he says. Finally, Winters adds that when answering an audience member's question, honesty is important. Should someone ask about something you do not know, or haven't though of yourself, "it's much, much better to say 'I hadn’t considered that, do you want to talk about it later?' than to extemporise a wild and whirling answer," he says.
Talk Tips, Take Two
Apr 06, 2011