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, in an effort to improve presentations. Lectures may not be the ideal way to communicate information but, they continue to be ubiquitous. One of our good friends, Ross Fisher, states that every great talk has three core components: the story, the supportive media, and the delivery. All three components are equally important for impactful presentations. Therefore, it’s important to improve our skills to optimize presentations by focusing on these three components of presentation design:

  • The Preparation
  • The Design
  • The Delivery

May 26, 2018

Anyone speaking on the international/national level has run into AV difficulties and there is nothing more stressful than not being prepared to handle it.  In this post, what every speaker needs to have when traveling to a conference, we (Salim Rezaie, Natalie May, and Anand Swaminathan) have listed the things we take with us anytime we travel to speak at a conference to ensure our presentation works no matter what connections a venue may have.

April 5, 2018

Background: Lectures are the most common education form at medical conferences. For simplicity sake, generally, the lecturer stands in front of a group of learners and disseminates information via the use of slides. Learning theories, such as Mayer’s cognitive theory of multimedia learning, have shown that learners can either process visual or auditory information but not both simultaneously. Additionally, this processing is finite. One of the key lessons in presentation design, from psychological theories of learning, is to replace text with visual representations while the presenter tells a story.  This has also been shown to help improve retention of knowledge [2,3].  Most of the studies that show this are supported by medical student classroom learning environments. Little research has been performed in adult learning environments.

February 5, 2018

What’s Wrong With Lectures/Presentations Now?

  • Lecturing style has remained stagnant despite the fact that our understanding of how people learn has changed.
  • Most presentations make the supportive media (i.e. slides) the focus of the presentation without thought about the story or the delivery.
  • Lectures are too focused on the educator instead of focusing on the needs of the learner.

July 10, 2017

It is impossible for the audience to read and listen at the same time.  A person can task switch, but cannot multitask, therefore if they are reading your slides, they are not listening to you.  Vision is one of our most important senses.  It is a well-known fact that the a significant portion  of our brain is wired for vision, therefore, try to find a single image that encompasses the main message of your slide, then use your actual voice to fill in the blanks. It takes our brains longer to process text-based information than it does visual information.

July 6, 2017

If there's one thing that bothers me most in presentations, it's this: the insertion of data tables into slides.  Often times you'll see snapshots of random tables taken from an article PDF filled with rows of numbers, p-values, and confidence intervals, occasionally accompanied by the quote, "As you can clearly see from the data."