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Designing Science Presentations


Author: Matt Carter

Publisher: Academic Press

Publish Date: 9th January 2013

ISBN-13: 9780123859709

Pages: 384

Language: English



Designing Science Presentations guides researchers and graduate students of virtually any discipline in the creation of compelling science communication. Most scientists never receive formal training in the creation, delivery, and evaluation of such material, yet it is essential for publishing in high-quality journals, soliciting funding, attracting lab personnel, and advancing a career.This clear, readable volume fills that gap and provides visually intensive guidance at every step—from the construction of original figures to the presentation and delivery of those figures in papers, slideshows, posters, and websites. It provides pragmatic advice on the preparation and delivery of exceptional scientific presentations; demonstrates hundreds of visually striking presentation techniques, giving readers inspiration for creating their own; and is structured so that readers can easily find answers to particular questions.

Table of Contents

Foreword Acknowledgments Goals of This Book Part 1: Designing Exceptional Science Presentations 1. Scientists as Designers Necessary Ingredients in any Science Presentation Doesn’t Good Scientific Content Speak for Itself? Any Scientist Can Be a Designer What is Design? What Design Is Not Design Is Ultimately about the Audience Embrace Simplicity About “The Rules” Appreciate the Design around You Appreciate the Presentations of Other Scientists Design Is a Continuous Process Summary: Don’ts and Dos 2. Design Goals for Different Presentation Formats Defining the Goals of Presentation Formats Advantages and Disadvantages of Presentation Formats Reasons for Success and Failure Design a Presentation with Your Format in Mind Summary: Don’ts and Dos 3. Twenty-One Characteristics Shared by Exceptional Presenters 1 Choose to Design a Presentation 2 Present to Communicate a Message 3 Know Your Target Audience 4 Demonstrate Care and Respect for Your Audience 5 Declare the Question or Goal that Drives Your Science 6 Inspire Interest in Your Subject 7 Demonstrate Expertise 8 Introduce Your Background and Methods with Clarity 9 Balance Details with the Big Picture 10 Highlight One to Three Take-Home Points 11 Follow Time Restrictions 12 Radiate Enthusiasm 13 Demonstrate Accessibility and Friendliness 14 Read and Respond to Your Audience 15 Design Visual Elements with Care 16 Present Information One Piece at a Time 17 Let Your Narrative Lead Your Visuals 18 Master Your Presentation Technology 19 Master the Written English Language 20 Be Yourself 21 Transform Anxiety into Positive Energy Summary: Don’ts and Dos Part 2: Visual Elements in Science Presentations 4. Color Why We Use Color Color Gone Wild Describing Color The Color Wheel Choosing Color Combinations Using a Color Wheel Warm and Cool Colors Using Color to Highlight Emotional Associations of Different Colors Background Colors and Contrast Color in a Colorless Environment Black and White are Colors, Too How Computers Specify Color What You See Might Not Be What You Get Summary: Don’ts and Dos 5. Typography Decisions about Text Matter Dissection of a Font Personality of Fonts Sizing Up a Font Casing Legibility Typesetting Bullets Numbers Summary: Don’ts and Dos 6. Words Words Matter Avoid Wordiness Colloquialism and Slang Singular versus Plural Active versus Passive Verbs Verb Tense Commonly Misused Words Understand the Distinctions between Similar Words The Burden of Proof Latin Abbreviations Writing about Numbers Summary: Don’ts and Dos 7. Tables Anatomy of a Table When to Use a Table Tables Differ among Different Presentation Formats Logically Formatting a Table Text and Number Alignment Gridlines on Tables Summary: Don’ts and Dos 8. Charts When to Use a Chart Categories of Charts Anatomy of a Chart The Best Chart Titles are Conclusions About Figure Legends 2D Charts are Almost Always Better than 3D General Design Considerations for Charts Designing a Line Chart Designing a Bar Chart Designing a Histogram Designing a Scatterplot Designing a Pie Chart Help Your Audience Visualize What is Most Important Reduce Clutter Wherever Possible Summary: Don’ts and Dos 9. Diagrams When to Use a Diagram Clearly Define the Purpose of a Diagram General Design Considerations for Diagrams Considerations for Labeling Diagrams Designing Venn Diagrams Designing Flowcharts Designing Tree Diagrams Designing Timelines Designing Pictorial Diagrams Designing Maps Designing Sequence Maps Designing Network Diagrams Designing Pathway Diagrams Designing Procedural Diagrams Summary: Don’ts and Dos 10. Photographs Why Show a Photo? Assume That Representative Photographic Data Will Be Harshly Judged Adjust Data Images Ethically Labeling Photographic Images Be Picky about Finding Images Crop Photos to Emphasize What Is Important Use the Rule of Thirds to Improve Your Images Adjust Image Settings to Your Needs Image File Formats Ideal Image Resolutions for Presentation Formats Summary: Don’ts and Dos Part 3: Written Presentations 11. Ten Techniques for Improving Scientific Writing 1 Clearly State Your Scientific Topic and Goal 2 Only Write Statements That Can Be Interpreted in a Single Way 3 Order Information Consistently 4 Use Strong Topic Sentences 5 Use Transitions to Unite Your Paper 6 Avoid Wordiness 7 Own and Use a Style Guide 8 Avoid Reader Turn-Offs 9 Know That Good Writing Is Great Editing 10 Seek Feedback Summary: Don’ts and Dos 12. Research Articles The Purpose of a Research Article The Structure of a Research Article The Title Should Emphasize What is Most Important The Abstract The Introduction Materials and Methods The Results Marrying Figures with Text The Discussion Common Reasons for Rejection Summary: Don’ts and Dos 13. Review Articles The Purpose of a Review Article Different Methods of Presenting the Literature Help Your Readers Advice on the Writing Process Summary: Don’ts and Dos 14. Research Proposals The Purpose of a Research Proposal: To Justify Pleasing Your Reviewers The Structure of a Research Proposal The Logic of Your Experimental Design Enhance the Visual Design of Your Proposals Summary: Don’ts and Dos Part 4: Slide Presentations 15. The Use of Slides in Oral Presentations The Purpose of Slides as Presentation Tools Slides are for the Audience, Not the Speaker Design a Slide Presentation from an Audience’s Perspective Know Your Audience Create Ideas, Not Slides The Relationship Between Slides and Oral Delivery How Many Slides? Exceptional Presentations Require Time and Effort Summary: Don’ts and Dos 16. The Structure of a Slide Presentation A Good Scientific Talk Is a Good Scientific Story Set the Tone of Your Talk with a Title Slide Start a Talk by Progressing from General Questions to Specific Goals Clearly State Your Scientific Goal and Why It Is Worth Pursuing Prepare for Inevitable Shifts in Attention Organize the Presentation of Data into Individual Segments Unite Sections of a Talk Using a “Home Slide” Deliberately Emphasize One to Three Take-Home Messages End a Talk by Transitioning from Specific Details to a Broader Scientific Context Acknowledgments Answer Questions While Showing a Summary Diagram Outline of a Structured Scientific Talk Summary: Don’ts and Dos 17. Visual Elements in Slide Presentations Visual Elements on Slides Add Design Instead of Decoration Backgrounds Color Considerations for Slides Assemble a Unifying Tone Using a Color Palette Fonts Must Be Legible Keep Text to a Minimum Minimize the Use of Lists and Outlines Use Slide Titles to Make a Point Optimize Tables and Charts for Slides Try to Only Present One Table or Chart per Slide Animate Information in Tables and Charts for Maximum Impact Diagrams in Slides Photographs in Slides Video: The Ultimate Presentation Tool Summary: Don’ts and Dos 18. Slide Layout The Importance of Slide Layout Avoid Universal Slide Templates Design a Natural Flow of Information Emphasize Important Elements Align Visual Elements for Harmony Align Elements Using a Grid Embrace Simplicity Split Busy Slides into Many Slides Achieve Harmony with Photographs Summary: Don’ts and Dos 19. Slide Animations and Transitions The Benefits of Using Slide Animation Effects Don’t Be an Animation Show-Off Use Animation to Introduce Concepts at a Time of Your Choosing Use Animation to Relate the Big and the Small Animate Movements Naturally Animate Diagrams to Bring Dynamic Processes to Life Use Animation to Direct the Audience’s Attention Use Slide Transitions Minimally for Emphasis Use Transitions to Create Scenes and Panoramas Summary: Don’ts and Dos 20. Delivering a Slide Presentation To Seem Like a Natural, Design and Rehearse Be Present Be Visible and Audible Cater to a Specific Audience Eliminate Verbal Distractions Don’t Use Slides as Presentation Notes Soliciting and Answering Audience Questions Dealing with Anxiety Summary: Don’ts and Dos 21. Using Technology to Present Like a Professional Know How to Control Your Presentation Bring Your Own Power and Projection Cords Calibrating a Laptop with a Projector Alternate Display Settings Learn the Light Switch Keeping Track of Time Using a Laser Pointer Using a Remote Slide Advancer Considerations for Presenting While Traveling Considerations for Presenting with Someone Else’s Computer Prepare for the Worst Summary: Don’ts and Dos 22. Considerations for Different Categories of Slide Presentations The Research Seminar The Symposium Talk The Data Blitz The Course Lecture The Lab Meeting Presentation The Journal Club Summary: Don’ts and Dos Part 5: Oral Presentations Without Slides 23. Presenting Without Slides You Never Needed Slides in the First Place Communicating Structure without Slides Plan Figures Ahead of Time Maintaining an Audience’s Attention About Presentation Notes Summary: Don’ts and Dos 24. Considerations for Different Categories of Oral Presentations Without Slides The Chalk Talk The Round Table Presentation The Elevator Speech The Speaker Introduction Summary: Don’ts and Dos Part 6: Poster Presentations 25. The Structure of a Scientific Poster The Purpose of Poster Presentations The Paradoxes of a Scientific Poster The First Step: Writing an Abstract The Sections of a Poster The Importance of Reducing Text Advice on Composing the Content of a Poster Summary: Don’ts and Dos 26. The Design and Layout of a Poster There is No Single Way to Design a Poster An Initial Consideration: The “Old-School” Poster Design an Intuitive Order of Information Use Borders to Segregate Sections Make Your Words Easy to Read Let Your Text and Figures Breathe Background Colors Align Elements for Harmony Eliminate Extraneous Elements Choosing Glossy versus Matte Prints Summary: Don’ts and Dos 27. Presenting at a Poster Session Posters are for Personal Interactions Preparing for the Presentation Venue Displaying Your Poster Bring a Poster Repair Kit Giving a “Walkthrough” Knowing Where You Stand Looking (and Smelling) Good Supplementary Information Summary: Don’ts and Dos Appendices Appendix A. Recommendations for Further Reading Appendix B. Learning to Use Illustration and Presentation Software Appendix C. Thoughts on How to Design a Presentation from Scratch Appendix D. Thoughts on Using Design Principles to Market Yourself Index