A research institute like the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) produces a lot of information. This means we produce also much ‘matter’ for presentations.
And indeed, many ILRI staff attend conferences and events where they ‘give presentations’. But this does not guarantee that the presentations given are of similar (high) quality.
Indeed there is even a big risk of “death by Powerpoint“: an uninterrupted flow of ill-designed and badly-delivered presentations following each other in a long sequence, to the horror of of the audience (who, let’s face it, are increasingly wary of perpetuating this ghastly tradition).
Time to look critically at presentations and public speaking!
Many elements are involved in giving a (good) presentation:
- The content – this is the key, particularly for scientific presentations It includes the facts but also the narrative that brings them to life;
- The design – that captures the attention of the audience and helps it remember the content better (or indeed not);
- The ‘public speaking act’ – which can electrify or dampen the mood of the audience and its appetite for the journey offered by the speaker.
Often, academics giving a presentation quickly put together slides on a blank canvas in a way that mirrors their research paper. Alas, they risk annihilating the value of many months (or years!) of research because they have made the job easier on them to prepare their presentation, rather than making it easier on the audience to understand, like and ultimately use it again.
This presentation is about giving presentations. It’s about constructing, designing and delivering presentations that make a difference. It is based on latest research and information design available.
It proposes nine actions that will mean the research presented in slide decks does not feed yawns but rather seeds of ideas and eventually the mouths of people that will benefit from the application of these ideas.
It’s time to dust off our presenting and public speaking skills, focusing on the outcomes we want . . .