Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Thoughts on presentations

I'm really slow at putting together presentations. I have to give a 15-20 minute powerpoint presentation tomorrow in class about an article. I think I've spent 5-6 hours on this presentation, and it's not even a big deal!

Things like this make me worry that I'd be a terrible lecturer, or that if I were a good one that I'd have to work 80 hours a week to do good lectures and I'd be totally stressed out and dissatisfied with my lack of a life. I hope I get better at this presentation thing.


sarcozona said...

I think you do get somewhat faster at putting together presentations over time in general, but I think most of the gains come from doing related work for long periods of time - you aren't starting from scratch for every presentation then!

SilverRowan said...

some ms ppt things that you may (not) be doing that can increase the time spent on the presentation physically that I see a lot of people miss.

Are you using master slides, and inserting the right kind of slide? this can save a ton of time as you don't have to format every single slide. For example you can have a text slide format and a text slide with picture format and just paste the infomation into the individual slides.

Are you using those fancy transitions and hiding and re-appearing text? It will add a fair bit of time for a relatively unnecessary (and often even distracting) effect.

Learn shortcuts for commonly used commands, ctrl V, C and X and whatever else you need. Eventually this will be worth it. I also love ctrl arrow to skip whole words instead of individual letters without having to grab my mouse.

i can't really provide any help with the content though, I take forever to put together a presentation.

I'm sure you've thought of this, but I feel like I should say it for completeness' sake:
If you can put together a non-powerpoint presentation fairly quick, it might help to write it as if you would for that and then copy and paste (and summarize) key information from that into the slides?

Albatross said...

Teaching (and things like journal clubs) will take up as much time as you give them. I think that as you get further along, you'll get better and just not be able to spend that much time on things that you feel aren't a big deal. Lots of irons in the fire, right? They will help sort that out!

good luck on the presentation tomorrow!

penn said...

Practice over time will help you speed up. Also, I like SilverRowan's tips. Other ideas that help me doing presentations really quickly:

- I type up an outline for the presentation in MS word. This allows me to edit easily and quickly without worrying about slide format. I just use their outline format (I, A, 1, etc).

- once I'm happy and done with the presentation in MS Word, I just cut and paste sections into PP. It does take a little time to make sure formatting is correct, but it's not bad.

- tab will take you forward in outline format (to the next level down in terms of bullets/numbers), and shift+tab will take you back (to the higher level of bullets/numbers)

there's lots of little PP tricks that can help you save time. Perhaps google? Or take a class? In college, they required me to take a computer skills class (MS Word, excel, powerpoint, access, and SPSS stat software), and it was amazing in terms of speeding up my work.

Alexandra said...

It easily takes me that long to put together a presentation. When I say put together, I'm talking about doing all the extra bits of research too. Though it does become faster with time. At work, we have a lady whose job is primarily to put together presentations for us. We do the research, which takes hours and hours, and then she puts together a presentation with appropriate pictures and such. She is really fast at it and says that is because she does it so often. But I agree that with teaching, when you teach a course for the first time, you'll put tons of time preparing presentations, but you can reuse those with updates for the next time you teach the course, so it'll be less time consuming.

Karina said...

Thanks for all of the comments and suggestions! I am proficient in powerpoint so it's not getting bogged down in the technical assembly, it's deciding how best to present things that takes me a long time. I like the idea of first making an outline in word. I'll definitely try that next time!

It doesn't help that this particular presentation was on an article completely outside my research. The presentation went fine. A little long, but I think that's mainly because people were asking questions during the presentation.

Lindsey said...

You'll get better at it! It really takes times to become accustomed to talking in front of people while ALSO making coherent sense. As with anything, the more you do it the better at it you become :)

Hope it went well!

Karina said...

Gosh, I'm so slow on the replies this past week. The presentation went fine. Thanks for all of the encouragement and suggestions!