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May 08, 2013


Zen Faulkes

I've been writing somewhat regularly on this matter in my own blog, NeuroDojo (http://dojo.shorturl.com or http://neurodojo.blogspot.com).

Part 1: *.pps -- http://neurodojo.blogspot.com/2006/01/zen-of-presentations-part-one-blog-ive.html

Part 2: It's all about you --

Part 3: Can you do it on the radio? -- http://neurodojo.blogspot.com/2006/02/zen-of-presentations-part-3-can-you-do.html

Part 4: Title slides --

There are a lot of familiar themes. What has been called "going naked" here, I've called "the Bullock method," for instance. I don't think there's much difference between giving a research talk at a conference and other kinds of talks.

Zen Faulkes

I've just put up a new entry on technical presentations, which argues that they'd be better if they were more like Robin Williams.

Part 5: Legalized insanity -- http://neurodojo.blogspot.com/2006/03/zen-of-presentations-part-5-legalized.html

Arnon Rotem-Gal-Oz

You've asked about great technical presentations
I guess http://www.identity20.com/media/WEB2_2005/ is one of the best I've seen


Kevin Kane

Even in Toastmasters -- an organization devoted to improving its members presentation skills -- I still see mostly boring PowerPoint presentations.

If you can make your presentations and slides entertaining, you really stand out, and people look forward to hearing you present again!

Bogdan Antonescu

"Eloquent Science" by David M. Schultz is an excellent book that covers all the aspects of scientific communication. Part III of this book is about preparing and delivering scientific presentations.


Richard I. Garber


Another excellent free publication is the 2nd edition of Communicating Science: Giving Talks from the Burroughs Wellcome Fund at this web page:



John Ireland

"Death by PowerPoint" used to just be death by slide tray (which goes to show how old my academic career is). As a community college professor in the sciences I am always challenged by presenting complex topics to a very naïve and diverse audience while keeping them engaged. Many pundits talk about active learning, POGIL and the like but fail to realize that these methods do not work well unless the audience does the front-loading (not a common situation now... was it ever, in intro courses). This means that you do spend a lot of time "lecturing" and trying to engage the students. Your ideas have had a huge impact on shaping my lectures and PowerPoints and I am constantly trying to do better. As Bill Burr said, "you just have to keep doing better than the last time."


I don't think I ever saw a mind stunning presentation or talk. It is a pity. The worst thing is that we students learn it the boring way from the beginning .. probably because the teachers learned it the boring way also ..


Great observations! Being active in hi-tech sector for 20+ years I can only confirm that the average engineer is not a great presenter. Some testimonials and advice on how to do it better in my blog posts http://b2bstorytelling.wordpress.com/2013/03/13/trust-me-im-an-engineer/ and http://b2bstorytelling.wordpress.com/2012/11/13/how-to-write-a-paper/


The last few seminars I attended had excellent presentations.
They spoke for around 15 minutes, with powerpoint presentations, and then had approx 2 minutes of something off topic, maybe some humorous pictures, or a lame joke, just to break things up.
I know I didn't nod off that day!

Philipp Niemann

We did a perennial research project at the University of Trier (Germany) on the reception of scientific presentations using eye-tracking technology. Some of the results can be found here:
and here:

Mitch Gallant

Great post and love the excerpts towards the end. Made me chuckle. I felt so privileged to attend an amazing event with some big name speakers. The harvard prof I thought was going to kill it was a complete dud. Strong content with credibility and preparation but read from a paper and fumbled around heavy slides. Was so disappointed she didn't realize what she was doing. Reminds me of your post http://www.presentationzen.com/presentationzen/2013/04/should-be-be-suspicious-of-stories.html, people need to be strong storytellers, so much so that this economist is nervous of the power of story.

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