Resources for oral and poster presentations in science

I am scheduled for my first department presentation next monday the 24th.  Although this will be an informal presentation, it inevitably requires a good deal of fiddling with the outline, a great deal of reading, and finally a small bit of nerves in anticipation of standing in front of your peers and colleagues within the field.  Presenting an oral, written or visual explanation of your research is a necessary and valuable part of the scientific process.  As I experienced at the 2010 AGU conference and through reading Randy Olson’s recent book, public speaking and communication (in general) is a unique skill required of a scientist.

It is both an honor and responsibility to be amongst a group of fellow scientists as an invited speaker.  As a graduate student, I believe it is extremely important to take advantage of each opportunity to speak whether formally or informally.  Therefore, I hope these resources will help myself and others to improve our presentations and provide succinct and well designed presentations.  Feel free to leave comments and suggestions if you would like to share related resources.

A few years ago I came across Dr. Purrington’s excellent guidelines for putting together oral and poster presentations.

This great advice is applicable to many fields for different levels of research.  I really enjoy Dr. Purrington’s approach to tackling this subject.  There is also an extremely useful flickr group which allows you to fearlessly post your poster image (in progress or finished) and receive constructive comments.  I find that is the hardest part to constructing either an oral or poster presentation – the feedback part! Sometimes I wish that I had placed an anonymous comment envelope next to my poster or allowed people to give feedback after a presentation.

  • I’d also like to highlight an invaluable resource in the field of oceanography – presented by The Oceanography Society: TOS Scientifically Speaking . This is an excellent reference point for both early and established career scientists.  I prefer to consider the points outlined in this guide as the gold standard of expectations within my field.  I have shared printed versions and pdf’s of this booklet with students as well as colleagues over the years since it was produced.   I highly recommend this guide to students of all ages now that we are expected to facilitate electronic presentations and materials

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About hawright

marine ecologist

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