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Medicine and Society, Stanford News

"Don't decorate," and other tips on creating a successful presentation

58145421_04a322bb0cHow do you hold your audience’s attention with a biomedical research presentation? Simplify, simplify, simplify.

In a recent opinion piece in The Scientist, David Rubenson, associate director for administration and strategic planning at the Stanford Cancer Institute, offers eight tips on how to provide more value to listeners by delivering a clear, uncomplicated message through clutter-free slides, simple graphs and carefully worded transitions between images.

As previously written about on Scope, the author, who teaches a course on presentation at Stanford, argues that “misuse of easy-to-use presentation software packages, like Microsoft PowerPoint, has eroded transparency” in slide presentations in the sciences. (And the joke-newspaper The Onion has run more than one article making light of the programs’s flashy features.)

Rubenson’s latest article helps scientists help their audiences understand the gist of their research while avoiding “slide fatigue” and information overload. His last point, “Prepare in advance,” unleashes the potential of the other seven.

Previously: A call to fix the “crisis of communication” in science and A conversation about the importance of conveying complex scientific concepts to broad audiences
Photo by Computer Joe

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