Communicating effectively

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Lecture 1, The art of presentations.113.jpg
Hi everyone,

I want to thank you all again for such a great class on Thursday. I'm so grateful that everyone came prepared and willing to share their experiences as presenters and members of an audience. I think we're going to have a great time working together over the next seven weeks.

As a reminder, I asked you to complete two exercise prior to our next meeting on Thursday:


Exercise I: Write a biographical sketch of your audience
We talked about the importance of understanding our audience, and the challenge of envisaging our research from someone else's perspective.I'd like each of you to write a brief (300 words or so) biographical sketch of a real audience you may have to face in the future. Alternatively, you can also consider an audience you've addressed in the past and want to reach more effectively.

In your sketch, try to address the '5 big questions' we reviewed in class. What's the setting of your presentation, and who are you addressing? What do they already know about your topic? Are they experts or novices? Where sources do they rely on to get information about your research? What issues are important to them? What preconceptions about your topic or tools that you'll need to fight against?

To support our discussion, I'll ask you to read 'Communicating Effectively With Politicians'. This article (it's really a speech) was given by a prominent retired politician in Canada who had a keen interest in science and wanted to help scientists get their point across to people who think very differently. [PDF]

Please bring printed copies of your sketch to class. We'll exchange them and have a discussion in pairs and after class, I'll ask you to turn them in to me.


Exercise II: Science poetry slam
I've asked each of you to write a haiku-style poem (5-7-5 structure) that sums up one aspect of your research. As further inspiration, here are a couple of examples of poems shared by students in prior years:

No one knows the law
when half of it is divine,
and half is belief.
- Ben (Geography)

Unable to adapt,
within montane coves they wait
for warmer climate.
- Amy (Ecology, Evolution and Behavior)

In case anyone wants to see the complete haiku version of the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the full set of 19 poems can be found here.

Again, please bring a printed copy of your poem to share with a partner, and afterward, with me.

See you next week!

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This is not a comment on the post, but I thought you might all like to know that we have access to the latest edition of Scientific papers and presentations via the Library website. Each chapter can be downloaded as a PDF. Presentation Zen, is not available online.

I'm looking forward to hearing your poetry!

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This page contains a single entry by Scott St. George published on January 24, 2014 11:40 AM.

Welcome to 'The Art of Scientific Presentations' for Spring '14 ! was the previous entry in this blog.

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