Communicating science-made easy

Writing science (or shall I say communicating science in general?) can turn into a dreadful, long-term process. Only those who have thought it carefully, can really perceive the art of writing by all its full mean.

One can be a rocket scientist, but it is only worth it to be one if the same person knows how to communicate his/her own findings. I really think that the ability of putting science into words is an art. I have been attending some really helpful lectures, meetings, and workshops on communication, from writing scientific papers, to media articles, “power point” presentations, or just the simplicity of “how to grab your audience”. I have listened to Keith Brander, Lotte Krull, Annette Ryhede, Linda Greve, and John Smol, and happened to came across some interesting models on how to approach issues I have never thought of.

I have then decided to make a good summary of what I have learned in just a few points.

When making oral presentations
- Focus on getting your message across (make sure it is clear to you first);
- The more specific, straight-forward, you are, the easiest it is to get across your audience;
- Remember to breath;
- Connect with you audience (eye contact, body language, etc.);
- Acknowledge that nothing goes the way you planned. Let go of control;
- Accept and embrace the situation. Feel the ground!

“Planning is everything. The plan is nothing.”
by Dwight Eisenhower

Take into account the following points:
1. Invent
1. Speaker
2. Audience
3. Subject
2. Dispose
1. Message
2. Agenda
3. Arguments
3. Relate
1. Language. Make sure you use the proper terms, specially if you are not talking on your 1st language.
2. Appeal
3. Body language
4. Remember
1. Visual aids. Put your presentation in grey scale. Still works?
2. Memo techniques
3. Rehearsal. As Aristotles claimed, one should rehearse, at least, 6 times.
5. Act
1. Errors
2. Nerves
3. Evaluation

Do not get attached to your slides, or bored by them. Your audience will see that.
Before you begin to make up your slides, make sure you know your message, your audience, and your time frame first! Make it as if you were a movie director, with a structure that makes sense.
However, a “power point” presentation is not good when it is like a movie just to entertain you. You are just there watching. No!

1. Grab attention with a picture, a claim, a joke. Show them what you have to offer. The floor is yours and your audience should perceive that from the very first slide.
2. Have a defined agenda, even if not clearly stated in a slide or in words, make sure you are making sense, that there is an understandable flow in your talk.
3. Present yourself. Show them why you are good in what you do. Why are you the best person to talk about this?
4. Present your content.
5. Before the last slide: repeat your take-home message.
6. Have a recognizable last slide (with your e-mail perhaps?)

Remember to reduce noise from irrelevant items, such as pictures as backgrounds, complex graphs that cannot be quickly read.

The big four:
1. Contrast: grey scale
2. Repetition: once is never enough
3. Alignment: asthetics standards
4. Proximity: close in space means close in mind (scale your objects!)

Allow 3 min per slide. Have a plan and then lose it!

I will leave the notes from John Smol talk for later. Think on these ones for now, and good talks!

They fly and I watch them passing by.

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