This timely and hugely practical work provides a score of examples from contemporary and historical scientific presentations to show clearly what makes an oral presentation effective. It considers presentations made to persuade an audience to adopt some course of action (such as funding a proposal) as well as presentations made to communicate information, and it considers these from four perspectives: speech, structure, visual aids, and delivery. It also discusses computer-based projections and slide shows as well as overhead projections. In particular, it looks at ways of organizing graphics and text in projected images and of using layout and design to present the information efficiently and effectively.
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A revolution is occurring in the way that scientists and engineers are making presentations. The revolution is small, but many of the scientists and engineers breaking away from PowerPoint's default structure of a topic-phrase headline supported by bulleted points are making names for themselves: Janine Benyus, Brian Cox, Jill Bolte Taylor. This book tries to present the essence of that revolution by showing you what distinguishes the excellent scientific talks on TED.com as well as excellent presentations at scientific conferences and in technical meetings. After reading this book, you will know when to blank the screen during a scientific talk and how to empower that part of the presentation. Also, for those occasions in which you do use slides, you will create scenes that are truly for the audience, rather than the sad practice of projecting slides that simply present the speaker's notes. If you want to give a mediocre presentation, do what everybody else does. If you want to communicate your science and engineering in an understandable, memorable, and persuasive way, consider this book.About the Author:
Holding a master of science in electrical engineering from Texas Tech and a master of fine arts in writing from the University of Alabama, Michael Alley is an associate professor of engineering communication at Penn State. He is the author of The Craft of Scientific Writing, 3rd ed., and The Craft of Scientific Presentations, 2nd ed. (2013). Over the past twenty years, he has taught writing and presenting courses to scientists and engineers across the United States and in Europe, Asia, and South America. Sites include Penn State, MIT, Virginia Tech, the University of Texas, the University of Illinois, Harvard Medical School, Sandia National Laboratories, Los Alamos National Laboratory, Lawrence Berkeley Lab, Lawrence Livermore Lab, United Technologies, Areva Nuclear Power, the Army Corps of Engineers, Simula Research Laboratory (Norway), the Institute for Energy Technology (Norway), the European Space Organization (Chile), the University of Sao Paulo, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, Seoul National University, the University of Osaka, the University of Oslo, the University of Barcelona, and the University of Seville. Alley's web-site on writing is the first Google.com listing for the topic of "engineering writing" and his web-site on speaking is the first Google.com listing for "presentation slides." When not writing or teaching, he can be found hiking through forests with his wife and dogs.
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