Guidelines for spoken presentations Common errors and how to
Transcript Guidelines for spoken presentations Common errors and how to
Common errors and how to avoid them
last revised 19.9.2014
Rule no. 1:
Content is more important
Make sure your content is good before
working on your presentation!
• Your question (interesting?)
• Literature (good? relevant?)
• Thesis (clear? neither trivial nor improbable?)
Text on slides
concise points – say more than you write
acknowledge sources (author, year)
ca. 10-30 words per visual
high contrast between text & background
font size at least 20
appropriate ppt-animation (not too much)
(graphische/schematische Darstellungen, Zeichnungen)
Generally better than text
“A picture paints a thousand words”
Can the audience take it all in?
Draw your own!
• use easy software e.g. Excel
• acknowledge sources
• include only info relevant to your thesis
• audience should understand everything
• no 3D, no fancy tricks
Use clear axis labels
• both measure & unit! (e.g. “joy rating”/”1 2 3…”)
• font size of all text: at least 20
Explain quickly & clearly
e.g. by explaining one point on the graph
Inappropriate for talks!
Avoid them altogether!
Present a graph instead.
• Explain your main question with examples
– summarize what the audience already knows
• Explain background in different disciplines
– refer to general literature (not your results)
(not necessary for SE Music Psychology)
• Highlight the relevance of your topic
– why is it worth spending time (and money) on it?
• Explain the structure of the talk
– what aspects of your question you will address and why
(e.g. relevant independent and dependent variables)
An example at the start!
diagram, graph, objet trouvé...
CD, instrument, voice...
• or both
Youtube: to be safe,
download video in advance,
e.g. using Mozilla addon
The example illustrates the topic* of your research – not the research itself.
Don’t show a video of people talking about your topic. Don’t illustrate methods.
Examples help your
clarify research questions
make arguments concrete
promote realistic generalisation
promote active listening
understand more in less time
The main central part
• divide it into subsections
– each with its own question and conclusion
• present relevant detail
– only info relevant to your thesis
• use graphs and diagrams
– a picture paints…
Other people’s experiments (1)
A theoretical paper combines the results of several
empirical papers to create a new thesis.
Don’t repeat the method sections!
If the paper is in a good journal, we expect the method
was good & the conclusions reasonable.
So: Cut the detail! (not: no./age of participants…)
Instead, explain in your own words (improvise!):
• why the experiment was done
• the main empirical idea (how it was done)
• the main result that is relevant for your thesis
Other people’s experiments (2)
If you talk at length about an empirical study, an expert
audience wants to know: authors, year, title, journal
Solution: reference-list entry in APA format as heading:
Hargreaves, D. J., & North, A. C. (1999). The functions of
music in everyday life: Redefining the social in music
psychology. Psychology of Music, 27, 71-83.
of your presentation
• Repeat your main point or thesis
– Summarize arguments for and against your thesis
– Consider practical implications
(What if your thesis really is true?)
– What further research might clarify your thesis?
• Functions of the conclusion
– summarizes previous detail
– relates to what audience already knows
helps audience understand and remember
Don’t be shy about it!
It’s your main point!
When summarizing arguments for
and against it, put it in the heading!
Otherwise we won‘t know what you are talking about ☺
The last slide
• A summary of your main conclusions
• Stays visible during the discussion
(unless audience wants to see another slide)
Contents of the next few pages:
improvising the text
inform - don’t infatuate!
• clear structure
– help audience to anticipate content
– help audience to organize ideas
rate of information flow – too slow or fast?
emphasis of important points
level: between tutorial and specialist
balance generalities and specifics
Improvising the text
typical at scientific* conferences
invent concise, clear sentences
optional: notes on cards, text on monitor
Expand on each point!
improvise! (If you understand, this is easy!)
pause between sections
• ask a friend or colleague for feedback
*natur-, sozial- oder formalwissenschaftlich
– expression, voice modulation
• eye contact
– with individuals
Respond to facial signals!
Is your presentation…
– too loud or soft?
– too fast or slow?
Waking up your audience
Academic talks don’t have to be boring. You want your
audience to understand your point? First, wake them up!
Enter something like “How to give an exciting research
presentation” into Google and see what you find, e.g.
• “Key Steps to an Effective Presentation” by Stephen Egglestone
• “How To Give A More Exciting Presentation: A Note To Speakers”
Don’t overdo it - if your audience laughs once, it’s enough.
Inform – Don’t infatuate!*
clear, helpful, interesting information
long, complex sentences
*belehren - nicht betören
for a 20-minute talk
about 1 minute per slide
Some common errors
• Structure and timing
– slides: too many, too few, too cluttered
– unclear section boundaries
– not enough time left for conclusion
• Presentation and content
not enough eye contact
too fast, slow, boring etc.
reading verbatim from ppt slide
not understanding own content
More common errors
incomplete (e.g. no example)
• Main part
insufficient relevant detail from literature
distracting new detail
arguments, implications, further research
do not refer directly to your thesis