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Practicing for my talks September 13, 2009

Posted by fetzthechemist in Uncategorized.
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I have three talks to give in the next three weeks. That is a few, but I have given as many as five in a week (as an ACS tour speaker) so it is not a big chore that is upcoming. I never ever script a talk. Those just sound so flat and boring. I never ever use notes anymore, as I found they are as much a distraction as an aid – I’d rely on them too much and lose a natural tone and flow.

So what do I do to practice? I look at the slides several times over to get the main themes down and how I was one to flow into the next. Each slide is designed to be informative and self-explanatory. I found that people read them anyway, so why do I have to say the exact same thing? As I go along, I have points I want to highlight. These are either important bits or information that is possibly interesting. I point things out in my preesentation. I do not lecture off the slices. I am more their visual prop than they being mine.

This sem-extemporaneous style works for me. It sounds relaxed, yet informative, with a touch of polish. It allows me to speak naturally and confidently, focusing on the information much more than the presentation. I do not know if this approach would work for many others, but strictly scripted, memorized talks will not work for me – nor to I think they’ll work for most people.

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