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Panel discussion presented by Tracy Voltz at the 2010 NSF ADVANCE Workshop: Negotiating the Ideal Faculty Position, A Workshop for Underrepresented PhDs and Postdocs in Science, Engineering and Psychology September 19-21, 2010

High impact presenters

  • Size up the situation
  • Organize an argument
  • Convey confidence
  • Integrate visuals
  • Handle questions
a woman giving a presentation

Analyze audience

  • Who is your audience?
    • Why are they interested?
    • How much do they know?
    • What criteria do they use to make decisions?
    • How will they benefit?
    • What are their concerns?

Two men standing at a board discussing.

Tailor message to audience

From: Barrett, Deborah (2007). Leadership Communication .
  • Make it interesting
  • Provide background
  • Define terms
  • Distinguish between fact and opinion
  • Use examples, analogies, visuals
  • State how and why
  • Present limited background info
  • Use language of discipline
  • State assumptions and conclusions
  • Cite references

a large audience

Mixed audience strategy

  • Define key terms
  • Signal section headings
  • Support points with specific examples
  • Use analogies
  • Mention in-depth points periodically
  • Reiterate your main points as you proceed
  • Avoid jargon
  • End with a general summary

Academic job talk

  1. What problem are you investigating?
  2. Why is it important?
  3. How does your work fit into the context of your field?
  4. What’s your approach?
  5. What did you find that was significant?
  6. What are the implications of your findings?
  7. How is your work novel?

Typical but difficult

  • Chronological narratives
  • Inductive organization
 a cartoon with the captions 'as you can see in slide 397' 'gaaaaaah' 'powerpoint poisoning.

Inductive example

a diagram of a slide presentation showing that the thesis has been introduce too late.

Deductive example

a diagram of a slide presentation showing that the thesis has been introduced early in the talk.

The challenge

a chart diagramming audience attention

Start strong


  • Motivate interest
  • State key point(s)
  • Preview topics
  • Establish credibility
  • Memorize opening


  • No apologies
  • No reintroduction
  • No “Today I’m gonna talk about . . . ”
Hans Rosling
Hans Rosling, TED conference 2006 (External Link)

Wolfe’s strong start

a picture of a TED talk
(External Link)

Directional hypercomplex wavelets for multi-dimensional signal anlysis and processing

three hypercomplex wavelets
Candidate’s name

Directional hypercomplex wavelets for multi-dimensional signal analysis and processing

a diagram of a wavelet

Candidate’s name

Electrical and Computer Engineering

Sept. 20, 2010


  • Introduction
  • Methods and applications
  • Results
  • Conclusions


  • Diagnosis of air quality priorities
  • Primary and secondary pollutants
  • High-order direct sensitivity analysis: Methods and applications
  • Uncertainty analysis
  • Optimization
  • Integrated air quality management: Experiences in Georgia
    • Challenges, priorities, planning
  • Vision for future research


  • Diagnosis of air quality priorities
  • High-order direct sensitivity analysis: Methods and applications
  • Integrated air quality management: Experiences in Georgia
  • Vision for future research

End strong

people clapping


  • Memorize
  • Send cue
  • Restate&summarize
  • Spell out implications


  • No “That’s it.”
  • No exaggerating
  • No ?s slide


clipart of a humanoid character sitting in a question mark.


  • The network is capable of identifying the behavior of the family curve.
  • The amplitude and frequency values obtained with the ANN are close to those obtained by means of the 2-DOF model.
  • The accuracy in the results obtained can be improved if a greater number of samples is used.
  • Other combination of network parameters could allow getting better results.
  • The reduction in computation time is drastically reduced when using the ANN.
  • Identifies behavior of the family curve
  • Closely approximates amplitude and frequency of 2-DOF model
  • Drastically reduces computation time


  • Create coherence
  • Make intuitive connections explicit
  • Weak verbal cues
    • “And another thing”
    • “So”
    • “Next”
  • Strong verbal cues
    • Sequence
      • “First”
    • Contrast
      • “However”
      • “On the other hand”
    • Causality
      • “Therefore”
      • “Consequently

Sample transitions

a picture of a transition from a mac slide to a windows slide.
  1. “So let’s jump into parts I thought were interesting.”
  2. “Next I’m gonna talk about Microsoft.
  3. “In contrast to Apple’s focus on ordinary consumers, Microsoft targets business users.”

Presenting data

  • Relevant results that support key points
  • BIG picture little picture
  • 4-step explanation:
    • Question
    • Describe
    • Report result
    • Interpret result
a chart

Leadership presence

a picture of Barack Obama
(External Link)
  • Enter with authority
  • Focus your energy
  • Pause before starting
  • Establish eye contact
  • Limit movement
  • Speak confidently

Convey confidence

a man and a suit
a woman giving a presentation
(External Link)

  • Stance
  • Gestures
  • Eye contact
  • Voice quality

Stance and posture

Bill Gates giving a presentation
(External Link)

 Steve Jobs giving a presentation
(External Link)

Stance and posture

  • Worst Practices
    • Block screen
    • Stomp feet
    • Cross feet
    • Rock, sway, pace
    • Slouch
    • Lean
  • Best Practices
    • Chin up
    • Feet under hips
    • Shoulders relaxed
    • Weight distributed
    • Knees slightly bent

stick figures demonstrating different postures

Gestures to avoid

  • Fidgeting
    • Fingers
    • Pen or laser pointer
    • Pockets
    • Hair
  • Hands on hips
  • Crossing arms
  • Gripping podium
  • Clasping hands
    • Fig leaf
    • Behind back
men standing giving a presentation
(External Link)

Effective gestures

a person pointing
Steve Jobs holding an iPod

Bill Gates gesturing
  • Power gestures
  • Concept gestures
  • Process gestures
  • Position
  • Scale

Practice gestures

  • “An atom consists of a dense, central nucleus surrounded by a cloud of electrons.
  • “A low pH indicates a high concentration of hydronium ions.”
  • “The particles must be dispersed evenly in the fluid.”
  • “It’s about the size of a quarter .”
  • That is unacceptable !

Eye contact

  • Worst practices
    • Stare at screen
    • Glance at floor or ceiling
    • Read slides or notes
  • Best practices
    • Direct
    • Sustained
    • Distributed

a man looking down while presenting
a woman presenting
(External Link)

Voice quality

  • Volume
  • Pacing
  • Inflection
  • Articulation
  • Fillers

a woman presenting

Handling questions

Google's founders presenting
(External Link)


an arrow showing the flow of a presentation.


the cover of Leadership Communication
Barrett, Deborah, Leadership Communication. McGraw-Hill, 2007.

logo for the Cain Project
Materials developed by Cain Project in Engineering and Professional Communication, www.cnx.org

cover of slide:ology
Duarte, Nancy. Slide:ology. O’Reilly, 2008.

Cover of Technically Speaking
D’Arcy, Jan. Technically Speaking. Columbus: Battelle Press, 1998.

Cover of How to Say it with your Voice
Jacobi, Jeffrey. How to Say It with Your Voice. Paramus: Prentice Hall, 2000.

the TED logo
Repository of interesting talks: Hans Rosling “The Best Stats You’ve Ever Seen” (External Link)

Image references

  • Eric Schmidt

(External Link)&imgrefurl=http://www.mediabistro.com/baynewser/google_stuffgoogle_ceo_defends_company_against_wall_street_journal_in_pages_of_wall_street_journal_144817.asp&usg=__3mt9PhrO_oWQ7ikSSioN2WzemCc=&h=334&w=500&sz=80&hl=en&start=16&um=1&tbnid=Uo8sDZW4wbUrjM:&tbnh=87&tbnw=130&prev=/images%3Fq%3Deric%2Bschmidt %26hl%3Den%26client%3Dfirefox-a%26rls%3Dorg.mozilla:en-US:official%26sa%3DN%26um%3D1

  • Steve Jobs

(External Link)

  • Bill Gates (Jeff J Mitchell / Getty Images)

(External Link)&imgrefurl=http:www.newsweek.comid142537&usg=__kZaLDBaXZY0ztGbJYA71P990hfE=&h=422&w=300&sz=20&hl=en&start=80&um=1&tbnid=vqtK6g2kFK_sSM:&tbnh=126&tbnw=90&prev=/images%3Fq%3Dbill%2Bgates%26ndsp%3D20%26hl%3Den%26client%3Dfirefox-a%26rls%3Dorg.mozilla:en-US:official%26sa%3DN%26start%3D60%26um%3D1

Questions & Answers

Calculate price elasticity of demand and comment on the shape of the demand curve of a good ,when its price rises by 20 percentage, quantity demanded falls from 150 units to 120 units.
Helen Reply
5 %fall in price of good x leads to a 10 % rise in its quantity demanded. A 20 % rise in price of good y leads to do a 10 % fall in its quantity demanded. calculate price elasticity of demand of good x and good y. Out of the two goods which one is more elastic.
what is labor
Grace Reply
labor is any physical or mental effort that helps in the production of goods and services
what is profit maximizing level of out put for above hypothetical firm TC = Q3 - 21Q2 + 600 + 1800 P = 600 MC = 3Q2 - 42Q + 600
Sosna Reply
consider two goods X and Y. When the price of Y changes from 10 to 20. The quantity demanded of X changes from 40 to 35. Calculate cross elasticity of demand for X.
sorry it the mistake answer it is question
consider two goods X and Y. When the price of Y changes from 10 to 20. The quantity demanded of X changes from 40 to 35. Calculate cross elasticity of demand for X.
The formula for calculation income elasticity of demand is the percent change in quantity demanded divided by the percent change in income.
what is labor productivity
Lizzy Reply
if the demand function is q=25-4p+p² 1.find elasticity of demand at the point p=5?
Puja Reply
what are some of the difference between monopoly and perfect competition market
Obeng Reply
n a perfectly competitive market, price equals marginal cost and firms earn an economic profit of zero. In a monopoly, the price is set above marginal cost and the firm earns a positive economic profit. Perfect competition produces an equilibrium in which the price and quantity of a good is economic
what are some characteristics of monopoly market
Obeng Reply
explicit cost is seen as a total experiences in the business or the salary (wages) that a firm pay to employee.
Idagu Reply
what is price elasticity
it is the degree of responsiveness to a percentage change in the price of the commodity
economics is known to be the field
John Reply
what is monopoly
Peter Reply
what is taxation
is the compulsory transfer of wealth from the private sector to the public sector
why do monopoly make excess profit in both long run and short run
Adeola Reply
because monopoly have no competitor on the market and they are price makers,therefore,they can easily increase the princes and produce small quantity of goods but still consumers will still buy....
how to identify a perfect market graph
Adeola Reply
what is the investment
investment is a money u used to the business
investment is the purchase of good that are not consumed today but are used in the future to create wealth.
investment is the good that are not consumed
What is supply
 Supply represents how much the market can offer.
it is the quantity of commodity producers produces at the market
what is the effect of scarce resources on producers
Phindu Reply
explain how government taxes and government producer subsidies affect supply
what is economic
Charles Reply
what are the type of economic
macroeconomics,microeconomics,positive economics and negative economics
what are the factors of production
process of production
Basically factors of production are four (4) namely: 1. Entrepreneur 2. Capital 3. Labour and; 4. Land but there has been a new argument to include an addition one to the the numbers to 5 which is "Technology"
what is land as a factor of production
what is Economic
economics is how individuals bussiness and governments make the best decisions to get what they want and how these choices interact in the market
Economics as a social science, which studies human behaviour as a relationship between ends and scarce means, which have alternative uses.
Economics is a science which study human behaviour as a relationship between ends and scarce means
Economics is a social sciences which studies human behavior as a relationship between ends and scarce mean, which have alternative uses.....
types of demand elasticity
Farouq Reply
what is competitive market?
Shantal Reply
a compataive market is when there are many producers competating to provide consumers with a goods and services needed
Researchers demonstrated that the hippocampus functions in memory processing by creating lesions in the hippocampi of rats, which resulted in ________.
Mapo Reply
The formulation of new memories is sometimes called ________, and the process of bringing up old memories is called ________.
Mapo Reply
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