I learned that doing a PhD means you constantly challenge yourself and improve your skills.
Let’s be honest, most of us don’t like speaking in public because we all fear to completely embarrass ourselves. As soon as you have created your plan, work from one step to another without thinking of more than one step at a time. The best thing is to create specific times in your schedule for your talk preparation and stick to them. Knowing your audience and their background has a high impact on the quality and structure of your talk.
The amount of introduction required for your field, each technique and each problem will depend on how much the audience knows about your topic.
If your audience comes from a broad range of backgrounds you will have to introduce your field of research saying what it is about and why it is important to do research in your field. If most of your audience consists of scientists in your field you can skip introducing it and spend more time on the novelty of your research. A great speaker gets the attention of the audience very quickly at the beginning with either a personal story or with addressing an issue the audience faces. Talks can come in different forms: journal club, seminar series, annual society talk, conference talk, even a guest speech at the last wedding you attended is a talk. If you work at a university you will usually find talk announcements in your email newsletter.
Collecting ideas in slides can produce a chaotic presentation. Do you want a more organized way to create your slides? Create the slides with the methods that people need to hear to understand how you reached your results. It’s important to check the spelling and make sure you add some details apart from the title, such as institution, your name, your email address and funding sources.
Put in your title as many keywords as possible so people can guess what your talk is about.
You might be able to understand your data easily but for the audience you are often the expert in your field. It might sound too simple but the best thing is to put only facts on your slides you want to mention during your talk. What you write on your slides should only support what you say and not the other way around.
If necessary raise rhetorical questions or ask questions to keep your audience concentrated.
The more complex your topic is the more important is the use of analogies and metaphors instead of jargon definitions.
Use pictures while explaining a difficult topic: A picture is often worth a thousand words. If you are presenting pictures or figures that are not yours please make sure you cite the source. As a tip: If you want to present data from a paper have a closer look on the website that published the paper. During talks I often imagine explaining the topic to a child which loses attention rather quickly and thus repetitions in between are necessary to keep up the interest. Keeping your summaries short also prevents you from overdoing repetitions which might make your presentation boring. This message can take up to 2 slides. During your summary try to avoid repeating too many results and generalise as much as possible. Acknowledgements are important as they show your audience that you don’t take more credit than you should.
This doesn’t have to take up too much time and one short sentence for each person is plenty. Microsoft PowerPoint SmartArt allows you to create flow charts, lists and arrange pictures in an easy and quick way.
Luckily there are several things we can do to gain confidence and become a comfortable speaker and to rock our scientific talks.
Giving presentations is a stressful situation for most people because after all public speaking is NOT a talent but a learned skill (only practice makes perfect).
Giving your talk in front of an audience (your group members) helps to get honest feedback. Learning full sentences often ends up sounding like you are reading from a book and if you forget only a few words you will panic. If during the presentation some slides don’t show up as they should, don’t panic!
If you are unsure about anything, like the length of time for question, you can ask the chair in advance.
Also, arriving early will give you a chance to get used to the room itself and its surroundings. Your notes but only BEFORE the talk. I tend to repeat some passages in my mind before the talk and not remembering some things can create panic. Expression of power (body language: You take up the space of the room you are in and basically open up your posture). The feeling of powerless (body language: You close-up, wrap yourself up and make yourself small).
Only 2 minutes of keeping a powerful pose are enough to make your hormone levels switch significantly. Take your time to breath properly in between and don’t rush through the talk as if it is a race. If you are very nervous it might be better to get the talk over and done with and leave the questions until the end. Keep in mind that allowing questions during your talk will make your presentation last longer. While being in a stressful situation we tend to lose track of reality and that’s why we panic because of a lot of minor things. If you can’t look at people directly during your presentation you can look at the horizon line just above the heads. After your talk comes one of the most scary moments for PhD students: Questions and Answers.
Depending on the audience, leave at least 10 minutes for questions at the end of your talk. If you are too shy looking people directly into the eyes, concentrate on a point between their eyes. This trick of suggesting to discuss further after the talk works like a charm when the person asking gets too pushy.
The time after your talk offers you a good chance to do networking by exchanging contact details, discuss experimental settings or setting up possible collaborations. After the stress is over and the audience is gone, find a moment of quiet and analyse yourself: Which things could you do better the next time?
It’s important to create a relationship with your audience by understanding their background and knowing their needs. While presenting, be confident and don’t panic in between because everyone makes mistakes, even the most experiences speakers.
Presentation skills are really helpful for the peoples who really wanted to grow in there career.
Can I simply say what a comfort to uncover an individual who really knows what they are discussing on the internet. If you are facing a specific presentation, a job interview or an important meeting that is causing you problems, individual coaching is for you. It is a fact that for most people – even quite experienced presenters – giving a presentation in front of an audience can be a daunting experience.
Couple that with the fact that many people are slightly put off by the prospect of public speaking and it’s no wonder we place such a high emphasis on presentation skills. Lets face it, a lot of us can give a decent presentation – but you can always make it better and sharpen your skills. But, to get warmed up, let’s look at some of the amazingly simple things you can do to improve your presentation skills here. Presenting is a skill, obviously, so the more you can practice – the more you can improve. We’re going to explore the things you can do to in your presentation that will make it more effective. There are several things you can do with your hands to improve presentations that are very simple.
Neutrality – If you’re worried about your hands during a presentation, remember that neutrality is the key. Remember Your Body Language – The classic example of bad body language in a presentation is the ‘arms crossed’ pose. Generally speaking, you should just try and maintain an awareness of yourself – imagine how you come across to others.


Try and look at your body language from an external point of view, put yourself in other people’s shoes and imagine how you come across. Hand positioning, movement and gestures are complicated – but the key is remaining relaxed and open with them. Things to avoid would be fiddling with any props you might have (like notes or cards) and other fidgeting.
One thing that is very good for more effective presentations is not saying ‘Um’ or ‘Er’ when you’re presenting. Always remember you’re trying to compel and persuade the audience, and you will need to convince them.
Presenting to an audience is a high-pressure situation, which will naturally lead to nerves in some cases. Warm Up – Presenting is a physical act, as a result some light exercise can get you warmed up and ready to go. Hydrate – When nerves hit your mouth can get dry, you can start feeling croaky and shaky.
At Business Training MadeSimple there are so many valuable courses available to help train you in digital skills, check them out and improve your digital experience. This entry was posted in Tips, Training, Uncategorized and tagged business training, Business Training courses, business training made simple, digital training courses, presentation courses, presentation skills on April 1, 2015 by Alex Novakovic. Creating and delivering successful presentations is a skill that requires some serious practice and learning. University of British Columbia Learning Commons has this wonderful poster featuring some of the core presentation skills you need to keep in mind when preparing for your next presentation.
In my usual hurried way I had thought I was going to review a book with 50 fun ways to do a good language presentation, PPP, or perhaps even along the lines of Ur, Rinvolucri, Puchta or Medgyes.  But instead to my great disappointment, here I was with a book for people who do business presentations. Well, I do have to occasionally present at English-teaching conferences and I have not really been happy with my performance. Well, the type-print was already a pleasant surprise, with key words in a calming blue, I could discard my old yellow highlighter pen as I sat down to read.
As I was reading the first section “It’s all about planning” I realized that Bob was talking to me. I had, in the first hour, used a guided visualization with that class of teenagers for the first time. The wonderful thing about “Fifty Ways…” is that instead of feeling guilty and defensive when you understand your shortcomings, this book actually makes you think you can do it.
My next thought was to see if anything caught my eye in the Contents and there it was in the non-verbal communication section, or “It’s not only words” – “Goodbye to stress”, number 29.
Bob, first names do somehow seem to be in order here, has managed to make a potentially heavy and cold subject something that is extremely user-friendly. All I can add is that this Friday, in the next training workshop I lead here at International House in Pisa, I will be entrusting the performance assessment “presentation feedback” sheet, from pages x and xi, to one of my colleagues.
Apart from managing your PhD research project and science writing, you are also faced with the big challenge to present your research to a wider audience by holding scientific talks. You might be showing the highlights of your PhD to 500 people at an international conference. Don’t worry if these steps seem ridiculously small like choosing your outfit for the talk.
In a normal state your mind is full of different emotions and thoughts so writing helps putting your thoughts into a right logical order. What exactly made these talks great? What were the mistakes in awful research presentations? Only by analysing these talks you might already get hints on improving your presentation style. In these first slides of your talk you motivate the audience to listen, show the importance of your research and explain the choice of methods that will come later in your talk.
If you write everything on your slides and you don’t add anything extra in your speech, why are you giving the talk anyway?
Instead, explain the 1st experiment in more detail and while explaining the 2nd experiment concentrate on the differences to the 1st one. So if you have 10 slides including the title page you will probably talk around 10 minutes because you can explain some slides quickly while others need more time. Therefore, it’s again very crucial to know your audience members and their background knowledge. There, you can often download the specific picture as PowerPoint slide (with references already included). This type of folder is very useful to find inspiration and you could use slides as templates or re-use them completely. If you don’t have slides of your own yet, ask colleagues for their slides as source of inspiration.
We think they will discover our fears by the tone, or by the accelerated breathing, or by our sweaty foreheads. To transform yourself into a confident speaker you should try to fake it until you finally become it. As you give your presentation the audience not only listens to you but also analyses your non-verbal communication. You could try to cut your repetitions gradually from one talk to another until you reached a healthy number below 10 times. Let them shoot at the design of the slides, the content, your articulation, your rhythm and anything they think will improve your presentation. After several iterations you will fine-tune your message so it fits in the time you have for your talk.
In addition, PowerPoint allows to move to the next slide after the same amount of time you did while practicing at home. Simply tell the audience at the right time about the faulty slide by mentioning what they should see and move on. Thereby you avoid looking confused and panic during your talk because of unexpected things, such as the chair stopping you to answer questions. It often helps to ease my tension and makes me realize that the audience consists of normal people and not of monsters waiting for my mistakes.
It’s one of the most important presentation skills of PhD students (and any presenter!). Try to find a middle point where you avoid overly dramatic hand gestures or keeping your arms as still as if they are dead. Otherwise you tend to lean your body too much forward, which looks awkward for the audience.
Your audience will recognize this falseness and won’t trust you and your competence very much.
If you know you usually talk too fast during talks make the conscious decision to speak slower than it might feel right for you.
Being upfront gives my audience the chance to raise awareness and I won’t get paranoid by questioning myself all the time. If the chair of the session is strict with the time allotted to each talk you might find yourself out of time before you presented your most interesting findings. This goal is impossible to reach and you will likely start to panic during your talk when you make even minor mistakes, for example miss-spell a word or say a sentence in a wrong order. This task takes the pressure of being perfect and at the same time it prevents myself from treating the talk lightly. In this way everybody in the audience can hear it and you double-check that you understood it. This might not necessarily mean they are picky, maybe they were simply to shy asking questions in front of others.
I agree, it’s very important to be prepared because people are different and their outlooks can be the opposite of your own opinion. Glossophobia (the fear of public speaking) is surprisingly common – with Nick Morgan reporting for Forbes in 2011 that it affects 80% of people and makes them “get butterflies, get anxious” and not “sleep much the night before”. So even if you’re not too fazed by standing up and delivering a pitch to a client, a debrief to your department or even a keynote speech – you can always improve.
It’s one of the many digital training courses that Business Training MadeSimple offer and it covers many aspects of enhancing your presentation skills in great detail, focussing on the nature of your audience, your body language and much more. It can be difficult to figure out at first, but keep these points in mind and you might find the matter a little bit more easy to manage. This makes you seem unapproachable and standoffish – which is something that will negatively affect your presentation. If you have your hands on your hips whilst delivering a presentation you might give people the impression you’re talking down to them, like a schoolteacher.
But you should also be expressive, if you want to make a gesture then do it – so long as it’s natural. It’s easy to subconsciously fiddle with something, so keep it in the front of your mind and try to catch yourself doing it.
You need to modulate your tone, from higher levels to lower levels, during your presentation.


This doesn’t mean personally, it’s in terms what they want and what they are looking to take from your presentation. There are a lot of things that can make your presentation great, but good preparation is always required. Even if you’ve done all your preparation and practiced all of your gestures and tones, when the moment comes to do the presentation there can be a few jitters. Take a few deep breaths in through your nose, fill up your lungs slowly and exhale through your mouth.
Find a quiet area and do some light stretching, this will loosen you up and get your oxygen levels elevated pre-presentation. There are a range of different ways that this can help you, from things like software use to meeting new people and colleagues.
For a more detailed experience with experts and fellow professionals the Presentation Skills Workshop from Business Training MadeSimple is ideal – so sign up today! Make sure you see the rest of the Business Training MadeSimple blog for all the latest hints, tips, tutorials, news and updates.
The role includes coming up with content, managing campaigns & pitching in wherever possible for the Marketing Team. In the course of our work as educators and teachers, we are all likely to be in positions where we have to present in front of an audience.
I had all too hastily read the title when choosing a book to review and had been attracted by the humorous “afterthought” the author had added,  “… without too much effort”.
Never having read a book on business presentation skills, I had no idea what to expect, except perhaps for something rather cold and board-room-like.
I was actually between classes at a secondary school where twice a month I am supposed to help the students practise their English.
He was not only talking to me but also asking me to look at my performance and understand what it was that I was, or wasn’t, doing.
You can dip into the different sections of the book to help yourself with a particular problem area and find an answer to your question there. And as I present the teaching or language issue required, I shall try to be excited, as Bob suggests, and remember his TIPS.
I still have another 40-odd tips to read and, yes, thank you Bob, I’ll be even better next time, after this.
Supervisors and PI focus mainly on science, not on making the presentation skills of PhD students better. Practice and good advice will turn you from a passing out presenter into the Obama of scientific presentations.
The goal is to have a few days to rehearse your talk and change little details in your slides.
Editing yourself is always easier than sitting in front of a blank page and trying to come up with perfect ideas. This will help you understand their mindset and see your presentation from their perspective. If you tend to get stiff try to loosen up a bit and if you are often overexcited make an effort to relax.
Also, smiling relaxes your body because it goes both ways: We smile when we are happy but when we force ourselves to smile we start feeling happy. If you do have to use a pointer use two hands, one for the pointer and the other one to hold your wrist; this will reduce the shaking. In contrast, if you tend to speak slower try to speak faster than it feels correct for your own instincts. Susanne believes it is important to educate people from various backgrounds about different aspects of science, such as cutting edge research. I don’t see the point of using this particular one and alienating (at least some) people in the process. I present in March (2 weeks) and am very nervous, however will meet up with a friend and go through what I have written so far, thanks to your advice! With good slides, you have a tool that can help you maintain the interest of the audience and sell your message. Even people who don’t find the prospect of public speaking completely horrifying will often find the practice “unpleasant but not debilitating”, as Nick Morgan pointed out.
Not only that, good use of your hands can enhance the effectiveness of your presentation overall. Hands cupped together in front of you is a solid way to show that you’re agreeable as a presenter – which is something the audience will recognise. You could do the presentation for a friend or colleague first to get their feedback, or perhaps even film yourself doing it so you can see. You might think that you can’t really change your voice, but there are actually quite a few techniques you can use to make your voice more effective during your presentation. This is great for emphasis and helps make the vocal content of what you’re presenting more engaging – it makes your point sink in more. It’s also important to not mumble, you can help this by making sure your head is up and you’re projecting your voice outwards – try not to look down as this can affect the auditory impact of your speaking. Just don’t do it, try and catch yourself and remember that it is perfectly okay to have a pause or moment of silence in a presentation. You need to be completely ready to deliver your presentation, but it can be difficult to know where to start. Break them down and define them before you start preparation, this will help you create a more audience specific presentation overall. Remember that if you use software you must know how to use it expertly, avoid fancy animations and transitions – the simpler the better. Just make sure you take the time to do it – and be prepared further in advance if possible, this will give you the ability to adapt your presentation if anything comes up. So, determined to fight off the inevitable yawns it was with some trepidation that I first opened Bob Dignen’s book. Moreover since the book was not turning out to be your everyday, straightforward book of theory but one that was interactive, and very user-friendly at that, I felt I had to try out what he was suggesting. Improving the presentation skills can reduce your public speaking anxiety and increase the joy of giving talks. Its speakers come from different backgrounds and are given up to 20 minutes to describe their projects.
Sometimes you will need to introduce your whole field of research, other times just the narrow problem you are tackling. For instance, if you want to show that number A is 20% increased versus number B, then use a 20% in green.
Even if you’re mostly pointing at parts of your presentation, like with slides, hand movement can still make an impact.
If you can do it in front of a practice audience, even if it’s just a few people, you can get a feel for what it will be like – and they can give you feedback to help hone your presentation further. People can easily get distracted especially if your presentation is not intellectually and visually attractive. I was expecting too much of myself, why did I expect my presentations- or my lessons for that matter – to be 110%? Looking at page 3, I began by asking myself how I could have improved my last presentation with TIPS (Target, Information, Process and Style).
How long has it been since I have seen humour as an integral part of an English language teaching book?
I read the two pages avidly and by the time I had got to the Hot Tips I really was feeling positive about myself and others and I definitely spread that positivity around me that day at work. And what a good idea to make it such an important part of a business book for learners of English, with its cartoons sprinkled at regular intervals throughout the book. At the end everybody was ready to join in the speaking activity and it was very productive.
Bob’s writing style is also humourous so that while you are in the throes of wrestling with your self-assessment, Bob’s non-judgemental acceptance of our weaknesses makes it that much easier to be honest. Would it have helped to consider my target better and to give them the necessary information? I now know that the next step is to use TIPS with the teacher I work with at the school as well.
I can only imagine the relief a business person whose first language is not English will indubitably feel when they leaf through the pages. I did want them to, let’s say, “buy” my guided visualization as a way to use their English. They will find that there really is practical advice, in black and white and blue, from someone who is not a superior-sounding Englishman telling them to be a photocopy of him. Why had they giggled and forced the teacher to shout at them in the middle of the visualization, that they must be quiet and that this was not a game?



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