If your university or any local professional groups have brown bag lunches
with presentations, or anything informal and about the same amount of time
as the conference presentation, then you can ask the group if you can do a
dry run there.
On Mon, Feb 4, 2013 at 11:54 AM, Joe Hourcle
<[log in to unmask]>wrote:
> On Feb 4, 2013, at 11:25 AM, Bill Dueber wrote:
> [trimmed (and agreed with all of that)]
> > As Jonathan said: this is a great, great audience. We're all forgiving,
> > we're all interested, we're all eager to lean new things and figure out
> > to apply them to our own situations. We love to hear about your
> > We *love* to hear about failures that include a way for us to avoid them,
> > and you're going to be well-received no matter what because a bunch of
> > people voted to hear you!
> I'd actually be interested in people's complaints about bad presentations;
> I've been keeping notes for years, with the intention of making a
> presentation on giving better presentations. (but it's much harder than
> it sounds, as I plan on making all of the mistakes during the presentation)
> > On Mon, Feb 4, 2013 at 10:47 AM, Jonathan Rochkind <[log in to unmask]>
> >> We are all very excited about the conference next week, to speak to our
> >> peers and to hear what our peers have to say!
> >> I would like to suggest that those presenting be considerate to your
> >> audience, and actually prepare your talk in advance!
> >> Just practice it once in advance (even the night before, as a last
> >> resort!), and it'll go great!
> I did one of those 'Ignite' talks this year; because it's auto-
> advancing slides, I went over it multiple times. My recommendation
> is that you try to get various co-workers as guinea pigs. I even
> subjected one of my neighbors to it, even though he wasn't necessarily
> part of the intended audience.
> They gave me a lot of feed back -- asking for clarification on bits,
> we realized I could trim down a couple of slides, giving me more
> slides to expand other bits. I still screwed up the presentation,
> but it would have been much worse if I hadn't practiced.
> My local ASIS&T chapter used to run 'preview' events before the
> annual meeting, where the local folks presenting at annual were
> invited to give their talks. If nothing else, it forced you to
> have it done a couple of weeks early, but more importantly, it
> gave me a chance to have a similar audience to what would be
> at the main meeting ... one of my talks bombed hard; it was on
> standards & protocols for scientific data, and I hadn't considered
> just how bad a talk that's 50% acronyms would go over. I was
> able to change how I presented the material so it wasn't quite
> so painful the second time around.
> There's only been once when practicing in advanced made for a worse
> presentation ... and that's because when I finished, PowerPoint asked
> me if I wanted to save the timings ... what ever you do, do *not*
> tell it yes. Because then it'll auto-advance your slides, so when
> you skip over one slide during the practice, it'll not let you
> have it up during the real talk.
> (There's a setting to turn off use of timings ... and the audience
> laughed when I kept scolding the computer, but it still felt
> horrible when I was up there)
> And it's important that you *must* practice in front of other
> people. How fast you think it's going to take you, or how fast
> it takes you talking to yourself is nothing like talking in
> front of other people.
> So, all of that being said, some of the things I've made a note
> of over the years. (it's incomplete, as I've still take notes
> by hand, and there are more items on the back pages of the
> various memo books I've had over the years)
> * Get there before the session, and test your presentation on the
> same hardware as it's going to be presented from. This is
> especially important if you're a Mac user, and presenting from
> a PC, or visa-versa. Look for odd fonts, images that didn't
> load, videos, abnormal gamma, bad font sizes (may result in
> missing test), missing characters, incorrect justification, etc.
> * If you're going to be presenting from your own machine, still
> test it out, to make sure that you have all of the necessary
> adaptors, that you know what needs to be done to switch the
> monitor, that the machine detects the projector at a reasonable
> size and the gamma's adjusted correctly. (and have it loaded
> in advance; you're wasting enough time switching machines).
> And start switching machines while the last presenter's doing
> Q&A ... and if you lose 5 min because of switching, prepare
> to cut your talk short, force the following presenters to lose
> * Have a backup plan, with the presentation stashed on a website
> that you've memorized the URL to, *and* on a USB stick.
> (website is safer vs. virus transfer, only use the USB stick
> if there's no internet) And put the file at the top level of
> the USB stick, not buried 12 folders deep.
> * If they have those clip on microphones, put it on your label
> on the same side as the screen is to you. (so whenever you
> turn to look at the screen, it still picks up your voice)
> * If you have a stationary mic, you have to actually stay near
> it or it doesn't work.
> * Hand-held mics suck unless you're used to them, as most of us
> aren't used to holding our hand up like that for the whole
> * Use the microphone, even if you think you have a loud voice.
> It's there for a reason. (the people in the way back not
> having to strain to hear and you not shouting at the people
> in the front).
> And for the actual presentation:
> * Small text is useless. If you have to cram it all on there,
> that means it's all equally useless. If you must have a
> huge block of quoted text, have one slide of the full text,
> show it for a second or two to establish context, then show
> a slide w/ some important bits extracted out. If you want
> extra bits for someone reading it afterwards, put it in the
> 'presenter notes' field, or add extra slides and tell them
> not to show when presenting. (or make a second version
> for distribution). Presenter's notes are a good place for
> citations & acknowledgements to whatever images you've
> included or bits you've quoted, in case you ever want to
> distribute it or turn it into a paper later.
> * If you have tabular data, reduce all cell padding and adjust
> column widths to remove as much empty space as possible,
> so that you can increase the font size.
> * Line graphs don't show up well. Either adjust the line
> thickness, or switch to something else.
> * Use the whole screen. Pictures and tables should be as
> large as possible. If you only care about part of the
> picture or table, crop it or re-work it to summarize.
> (you can do the two-slide thing, as mentioned above
> re: long quotes)
> * Favor putting stuff too high on the slide vs. too low --
> people often can't see the bottom edge of the slide
> because of people's heads in front of them,
> * Make sure that you have sufficient contrast between the text
> and the background it's on. Avoid really busy backgrounds.