Overview - Bodega Marine Lab

How To Give A
Scientific Seminar
Michelle Chow
Ocean Discovery!
Sebastopol, CA
• Verbal and Nonverbal Communication
• “How To” on Project Presentations
Nonverbal Communication
“body movement and expression”
• Face audience
• Make eye contact
• Appropriate facial expressions
• Body movement (pacing, swaying)
• Dress appropriately
Verbal Communication
• Speak at a reasonable pace
• Intonation (tone of voice, use of voice)
• Pause when needed
• Avoid excessive use of “um” or “like”
or “so”
Suggestions for Practicing
• Practice at least three times!!!
• Get feedback from your peers.
• Before you start to speak take a few
seconds to organize your thoughts,
notes and equipment.
Appearance of your slides
“You want people to focus
on your message”
• Use a simple design for your slides. This is a
professional seminar.
• Text must not fade into background.
• Choose an appropriate font that can be read
from the back of the room.
• Size 32 – 36 for bulleted text
• Size 44 – 48 for titles
• Each slides does not need to have a title.
Especially if a title is redundant or obvious.
• Spread bullets apart to avoid reader’s brain
• Paragraph—spacing—6-12 pt after paragraph.
• Pictures and graphs should take up the whole
slide. Axes text and statistics hard to read
from back of room.
Treatment 1
Treatment 2
Female Response
Male Response
Michelle’s Don’t List
• Clip art when not appropriately used (which
is most of the time).
• Slides and lines that zip in and out of space.
Please have all your text on the slide at the
same time.
• All slides should transition appropriately (use
no transition or fade at fast speed)
• No music, unless you are studying dolphins
and are recording their mating calls.
Planning the package
Know your audience
Define terms
Provide an overview if complex
Integrate text and images
map of study area, distribution
understand overall idea/theory/topic
images of organism/scientific name
repeat the question if necessary
Planning the package
Clear purpose/logical sequence
Consistency in style and language
Bulleted information
Prompts for speaker and audience
Time yourself: 1 frame /minute
Leave time for questions
Don’t read your talk
Techniques that help
• Memorize opening sentence
• Note cards
• Tough question?
anticipate questions that poke holes
anticipate future direction questions
repeat the question
“That’s a good question”
“I don’t know but…”
Advice to Fellows
• Practice within a group and then between
• Bring laser pointer into class to demonstrate
how to use it correctly
• Remind students they will be using a
More advice
• Everything presented verbally or visually
should have a clear role in support of the
central thesis or theses of the talk.
• If anything doesn’t do this, remove it.
borders, animations, clipart, etc
Listener’s Responsibility
• No talking
• Listen closely
• Think of at least one question to ask speaker
• Stay awake (no sleeping) and engaged
during the talk
Presentation Title
your name
School affiliation
city state
• Introduce topic, big picture. Why?
• Explain how you reached your
• Define scientific terms. Use scientific
names for organisms.
• Visual Aids (slides of organisms)
• List questions your study addresses.
• Summarize methods = Use methods as
an explanation of how you addressed
your questions.
• Visual Aids (pictures of study sites or
setup is most effective).
• Organize methods to help audience
easily follow your research.
Flow Chart for Presentation
Question A
Question B
Question C
Method for
addressing A
Method for
addressing B
Method for
addressing C
Results and
Interpretation A
Results and
Interpretation B
Results and
Interpretation C
How all parts fit into:
1. Original questions
2. Big picture
3. Past research
• Use tables and/or figures to present data.
• Avoid verbalizing too many numerical
values (especially without visual aids).
• Show audience only data and results that are
important in addressing your questions.
• Remind audience how each method or
result fits back to the questions of your
• Talk about results with respect to:
Your study’s questions
Past research
• Make logical conclusions about your
research findings.
• Visual Aids (refer back to tables and
figures used in results)
• Visual Aid = Outline of questions from
introduction with acceptance or rejection of
null hypothesis.
• Big picture
• Future research
• Acknowledgements
Your brain starts working the
moment you are born, and
doesn’t stop until you have to
speak in public.

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