Your Idea of a Good Presentation

Find one or two short clips online of presentations you think are good. Spend 5 minutes showing us these clips and telling us why you think they’re good or not.

Comments on my presentation (PDF)

Presentation of an Elevator Talk

You’ve stepped into an elevator with a ‘big’ scientist from near, but not in, your field. Talk for 3 minutes about your research at a very broad level. Your talk should be understandable to any scientist. Make sure to put your work in a context that explains why you’re interested in this problem. Concentrate on focusing on the audience and the ’level’ of your pitch. We’ll follow this with a few minutes of questions and a few minutes of discussion on how everyone does.

Comments on Elevator Presentations (PDF)

Presentation of a Short Talk

You’ve been asked to talk for a few minutes at a departmental seminar. Many students will talk at the same event, so you are given 5 minutes to speak, after which there will be 3 minutes for questions. Concentrate on preparing slides, and using them appropriately. We’ll follow these 8 minutes with a few minutes of comments on how you did and specific suggestions.

Comments on Slides (PDF)

Presentation of Mid-length Talk

You’ve been asked to give a short presentation at a conference about your work. It’s a plenary session, so everyone from the conference is expected to be there, but they are all more-or-less in your field. You have 7 minutes to speak, followed by 3 minutes for questions. Concentrate on making the underlying ideas of your research clear to a broad audience. After these 10 minutes, we’ll discuss your presentation. After this we’ll discuss some ways of dealing with difficult questions.

Comments on Clarity (PDF)

Comments on Technical Details (PDF)

The Great Debate, Part 1

I will give you a general topic that is somewhat controversial. For example: “We should have a carbon tax.” You will pick a side (“we should” or “we shouldn’t”) and will be given 2 minutes to come up with your arguments. The rest of the class will be on the other side. You will then speak for up to 3 minutes on your side of the argument. Concentrate on addressing the questions and keeping control of the situation and your own emotions (including laughter). After this we will aggressively ask you questions. Your answers to the questions are less important than how you handle the questions and the questioners.

Comments on Questions (PDF)

The Great Debate, Part 2

As for the previous class, but now we will add the twist of a very rude person in the audience (you will each also be assigned to be rude to someone else); it is your task to shut this person down. Concentrate on remaining calm and keeping your rude person in check. Afterwards we will talk about combining everything we’ve done so far into an AGU-style talk.

American Geophysical Union (AGU) Talks

You will prepare and present an AGU talk. You will have 12 minutes to speak, and 3 minutes for questions and changeover. This time, you will prepare and rehearse your own talk, this is a presentation session. To give you all some experience chairing a session, you will each chair the talk preceding yours, this means you will have to make sure that person remains in the time allotted and ask a question if there are none from rest of the audience.

Course Info

As Taught In
Fall 2010
Learning Resource Types
Lecture Notes
Presentation Assignments