On 23/02/2013, Michael Biel wrote:
> 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.
Feel free. I also have fifty years' experience of teaching and
> 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".
Not if you know what your main points are.
>> 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.
Oh, I totally agree with that. My slides are all visuals, except that if
the lecture has two distinct parts I may put up a title.
>> 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
> for exams.
>> 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
> know squat.
I think one should always assume that the audience knows little. This is
why you have to make a clearly structured presentation of the main
points. But NOT read the thing.
>> 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
Why are they not held in college premises? The only professional
conference I have attended in the USA was held at Rensselaer
Polytechnic, using good lecture theatres.
How can anyone demonstrate any audio if the acoustics are so bad?
>> 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
Oh, come on. I don't mean so slow as to be absurd. Just not as fast as
in one-to-one chat.
>> 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.
But you can do that on YouTube. There is something about actually being
in the room with the lecturer that makes it worth while.
>> 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.
I can't imagine an audience concentrating for two hours. But then, this
is an audience of experts. My experience is mainly with students.
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