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Inspiring scientific presentations

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I'm John Clare and I've been coaching people all over the world to make scientific presentations from more than 20 years.

In my last posting I said that the three elements of a great presentation are:

Inform     Engage    Inspire

In this posting I want to show you some examples of great scientific presentations which illustrate all three elements. I have no doubt they will engage you…I also hope they inspire you to be an even better presenter.

TED talks have grown into a worldwide phenomenon since they were first staged in California in 1984, when the visions of the future on show included a Compact Disc and an e-reader.   Now the organisation puts on talks on Technology, Entertainment and Design that are watched online by millions of people.  Their success is based on two factors: Brilliant ideas and brilliant presenters illustrating their passion.

My first example shows how pictures can make a complex subject understandable.  Drew Berry’s clear style, with touches of self-deprecation (‘I used to sit in molecular biology lectures and not understand a thing’) build an instant rapport with the audience.   His topic is ‘Animations of Unseeable Biology’:  https://www.ted.com/talks/drew_berry_animations_of_unseeable_biology

Michael Pitchard offers a scientific, adult version of the schooldays’  ‘Show and Tell’.  He has invented a way to prevent water-borne diseases by making filthy water drinkable.  He’s an engineer, and his manner is different from many other scientists. His suppressed anger is compelling, and he is direct and forthright. He also uses the ultimate guinea pig to demonstrate the test his invention…himself: https://www.ted.com/talks/michael_pritchard_invents_a_water_filter

The third example is from former Merck scientist Dr Stephen Friend.  This starts with a great illustration of ‘Make it Personal’ which I talked about in my e-book The 7 Deadly Sins of Scientific Presentations (and how to avoid them). Dr Friend starts with a personal situation, and uses that to explore the idea that if we want to learn about disease we should look at people who are healthy as well as those who are sick: https://www.ted.com/talks/stephen_friend_the_hunt_for_unexpected_genetic_heroes

Professor Hans Rosling achieved worldwide recognition after his great presentation at TED in California in 2009.  His topic was ‘Trends in Global Health since 1962’. This would be a dry topic for most, but not the way Prof Rosling presents it. At the time of writing it’s had more than 8,000,000 views. https://www.ted.com/talks/hans_rosling_shows_the_best_stats_you_ve_ever_seen

Finally, another example from Prof Rosling. Here he shows that you don’t need a stage with slides or video to make a compelling presentation. In three and a half minutes, he explains the problems of population growth and climate change…illustrated by Lego bricks and plastic counters: http://www.theguardian.com/global-development/video/2013/may/17/population-climate-change-hans-rosling-video

I always love to watch great scientific presentations, so please send me the links to any others you find inspirational…and a short note about what you found so good about it:

John.clare@lionsdencommunications.com


There is much more on this and similar topics in my book Communicating Clearly about Science and Medicine:

http://www.ashgate.com/isbn/9781409440383

Over the last 20 years I have helped to prepare thousands of scientists, physicians and pharmaceutical executives for major presentations, media interviews and regulatory hearings.

Find out more here: http://www.lionsdencommunications.com

If you have a particular question or a topic you would like me to address, please email me: John.clare@lionsdencommunications.com

If you have colleagues who would benefit from these tips, please send them the link to my free e-book, The 7 Deadly Sins of Scientific Presentations (and how to avoid them).



http://www.lionsdencommunications.com/download-free-book

Thanks for dropping in.

If you have colleagues who would benefit from these tips, please send them the link to my free e-book, The 7 Deadly Sins of Scientific Presentations (and how to avoid them).



http://www.lionsdencommunications.com/download-free-book