As a public speaker and educator for fifty years, and a five-time
program chair at ARSC conferences, I disagree with just about everything
Don Cox said.
From: Don Cox <[log in to unmask]>
> NEVER read a lecture word for word from a text. Never, EVER.
Although I do weekly broadcasts without a script and never used a script
in the classroom, to not use a text when giving a formal conference
presentation, almost without exception, results in a rambling in-exact
wandering around that tries peoples' patience as they think "get on with
your point already".
> Usually, the slides are enough to remind you what you
> are going to say next.
The sign of a poor public speaker is one who has everything they are
going to say up there on the screen in bullet-points. Who needs the
speaker when it is on the screen??? The invention of power-point was
the worst thing to happen to public speaking -- it should be used for
PICTURES and DIAGRAMS, never words.
> If not, a simple list of topics in order may help.
That's what I used in class, but that is not a formal situation. I
often made the list of topics available afterwards as my study guides
> After all, you are talking about something you know and care about.
But your audience might not give a rat's patoot about it, and you have
to keep LOGICALLY on your subject so they can understand it. If you
know your topic TOO WELL, you might not realize your audience doesn't
> If possible, avoid using a microphone. It distances you
> from the audience. (It is like a jazz band using a PA setup.)
A sure bet that you have not attended professional conferences. These
are rarely held in "lecture theaters" or theaters of any kind. They are
held in hotel ballrooms with thirty-foot high ceilings, square or
rectangular boxes that have no sound carrying properties whatsoever.
You cannot hear someone speaking normally fifteen feet away. This is
why 47 different conversations can go on at the same time in these
> Nor do you need to shout to be heard. If you talk, slowly and
> with longish pauses, to the people in the back row, then
> everyone will hear you, even in a large lecture theatre.
S.l.o.w.l.y . . . . . . . with longish . . . pauses. . . . . . so
that every one can hear you? This is the worst
technique to try to make your talk interesting in a three
day conference where everybody has heard seventeen other talks
already and are looking forward to the coffee break coming
up. And the longish pauses are the invitation to check your
email, twitter or text message, look thru the conference guidebook
to decide what talk to go to next, or to check with your
buddy two rows up for dinner plans.
> The whole point of a live lecture is that it is directly personal.
NO! That is NOT the point of a live lecture. That is the point of a
personal conversation over lunch or during the coffee break. Or a group
of four or five to have a discussion after the presentations. The live
lecture is to IMPART INFORMATION EFFICIENTLY.
> Otherwise the audience may as well stay at home with Wikipedia
> and YouTube.
If your topic has already been covered by Wikipedia or YouTube
correctly, we do not want your presentation at a conference.
> 45 minutes is long enough. Regards Don Cox [log in to unmask]
Our time slots at ARSC are now, unfortunately, a choice of 20 or 35
minutes, which is why several have mentioned to carefully watch your
time. Since a good ARSC presentation is giving information that has not
yet been the subject of Wikipedia or YouTube -- or else is a CORRECTION
of the drivel that has been posted and needs to cover details of why
those jerks were wrong -- these time slots we have now are often way too
short. This is why Tom on Thursday night gave a 2-hour version at
NYC-ARSC of his 35 minute conference presentation.
Mike Biel [log in to unmask]