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Making presentations

  • 1.  Making presentations

    SENIOR MEMBER
    Posted 12-30-2017 08:48

    When you attend presentations given by our fellow engineers, what is the most common mistake you see them making in their talk?

     

    Bob Bly

    Copywriter

    31 Cheyenne Drive

    Montville, NJ 07045

    Phone 973-263-0562

    Fax 973-263-0613

    E-mail rwbly@bly.com

    Web www.bly.com

     



  • 2.  RE: Making presentations

    COMMITTEE CHAIR
    Posted 01-02-2018 06:53
    ​Robert,

    The biggest mistake we all typically make is what I call the "fitting 10 pounds of stuff in a five pound bag" error.  We want to fill the allotted time and since we are professionals, we over prepare.  I use a simple rule of 1 slide of content should equal 3-5 minutes of presentation.  For a 30 technical presentation, I will have 6-9 slides of content with front matter and a closing slide.  Then I practice the presentation and adjust as needed.

    Our second mistake is that we read what is on the slide.  I use my slides more as cue cards than a script for the presentation. I will paraphrase, reword, reorder and expand on the bullets in the presentation to convey my comfort with the material and the audience.

    Finally, we often forget that our presentation is meant for the audience and not for our supervisors.  The message that we transmit must be in accordance with the folks receiving the message.  All to often we will use terms that are too technical or acronyms that are not universal.

    Hope this helps get the discussion going.

    ------------------------------
    David Hurban CPSP,CSP,PE,PMP
    Principal Engineer
    American Electric Power
    Columbus OH
    ------------------------------



  • 3.  RE: Making presentations

    SENIOR MEMBER
    Posted 01-03-2018 13:00

    I agree with everything that has been said so far. 

     

    ü  Too much information per slide

    ü  Too little font

    ü  Too much bells and whistles

    ü  Too much info and just reading from chart

    ü  Not knowing your audience and their needs/understanding

    ü  Using acronyms or not explaining what they are

    ü  And definitely not having the A/V aids ready before the presentation is to begin.  I think for me, this is the most annoying.






  • 4.  RE: Making presentations

    SENIOR MEMBER
    Posted 01-02-2018 08:00
    Probably the most common error I've seen made by many people, not just engineers, is reading their slides verbatim to the audience.  Better to put up the slide and talk about whatever is being described by the slide using other words and thoughts. A second problem is putting too much material on a slide.

    ------------------------------
    Barry Juran PE
    Retired
    Philadelphia PA
    Chemical Process Engineer and Sr. Biopharm Specialist
    ------------------------------



  • 5.  RE: Making presentations

    SENIOR MEMBER
    Posted 01-02-2018 08:11
    ​Failing to arrive or log-in early enough before the meeting start time to work out technical issues with A/V equipment, screen sharing etc.  Then spending the first 10 or 15 minutes of the meeting working through these issues in front of the audience/participants.

    ------------------------------
    Martin Timm PE,CSP
    Corporate Process Safety Manager
    Praxair, Inc.
    Tonawanda, NY
    ------------------------------



  • 6.  RE: Making presentations

    SENIOR MEMBER
    Posted 01-02-2018 09:48
    Biggest mistake is not evaluating your audience and adjusting to match their interest/knowledge levels.  Some technical speakers just drone on vs. realizing that they are not directing their presentation at the needs/wants of the audience.  







  • 7.  RE: Making presentations

    SENIOR MEMBER
    Posted 01-02-2018 15:59
    Mistakes people make in engineering presentations:

    1.  When pausing or replying to questions say "um" or "ah" when its best to be quiet and say nothing.

    2.  Making obscene vulgar hand gestures or laser beam pointing and use of expressions such as "keep me abreast of the situation" or excessive reference and obscene photos of strippers and packing.

    Regards,

    Lisa Maria Mueller
    BSChE
    MSChE
    Tau Beta Pi OH K '88


    Sent from my LG Mobile





  • 8.  RE: Making presentations

    SENIOR MEMBER
    Posted 01-03-2018 10:09
    ​Wow, Lisa, I'm offended on your behalf as a fellow, er, sister, engineer. So inappropriate! I have been fortunate not to work for companies where that kind of harassment is tolerated, even though I'm often the only woman in the room.

    My biggest objection to PowerPoint slides is when the engineer uses them (at the request of management) as a report when an actual document (you know, a report) would better suit their needs. If it is too small to see on the big screen from 20 feet away, it doesn't belong on the slide. If the information distracts from the speaker, it doesn't belong on the slide.

    My favorite way of giving presentations is informally, where I have no PowerPoint or notes at all. Give me a whiteboard and a marker and then all the attention is on me as the speaker, with nothing on a screen competing for my audience's attention. It helps to have no fear of looking foolish. This style of presenting makes the topic flow very naturally, though I still prepare the content ahead of time.

    I also prefer for people to ask questions as we go, rather than wait till the end. If someone fails to grasp a key concept at the beginning, they will tune out the rest of the presentation. In that same vein, use language and examples that people can relate to, particularly since your audience is not ever as familiar with the topic as you are (otherwise you wouldn't be presenting...).

    A couple of tips if you're not a confident presenter:
    • My first boss used to call it "keep it in your back pocket," by which he meant, don't give the audience EVERYTHING you know (so, not presented on the slides), because then you can't answer their questions. By not presenting everything, you have an answer "in your back pocket" that keeps you from looking foolish when the audience inevitably asks questions.
    • Put  all the too-small-to-read data in the notes, and practice, practice, practice! It helps me to memorize key points and maybe the opening line. If you try to memorize the whole script and your nerves cause you to disarrange a sentence, you don't want to be completely derailed. Instead, you can get back to your key points, rephrase the missed part, and continue unflustered. In practicing, you'll also find that your written narration doesn't roll off the tongue naturally because we can write with much more complexity than we can talk.
    • Apparently many people are more afraid of public speaking than they are of dying. Remember that in the work environment, people are adults. It's not like high school, where people were looking for you to fail so that they could tease or bully you. When you are presenting to colleagues, everyone (from your boss, who looks good when you do, to the other people who are glad they're not presenting) wants you to succeed, and they showed up because you have something important to tell them that they want to know.


    ------------------------------
    Preeti Sharma
    Process Safety Engineer
    Colonial Pipeline Company
    Alpharetta GA
    ------------------------------



  • 9.  RE: Making presentations

    SENIOR MEMBER
    Posted 01-02-2018 16:03
    Wow, you opened a drawer of suppressed irritation.  Here are a few items.  Do hope they will help someone.

    1.  Putting your manuscript on slides, and then just stand there and read up.  Gets dead boring.

    2.  Putting detail on the slides, which are too small for the viewer to read.  "See how much I know about it!  If you don't get it, too bad for you."

    3.  Putting details on your slides, which you will not cover.  You are creating competition for yourself.  "Do I listen to you, or try to understand your slides?"

    4.  Fancy colors and fonts may impress some people.  Not me.  Give me the message as clearly as you can.  If you use colors, be sure that the message is clearly readable, and the colors are different enough to be easily detectable.

    5.  Don't use a light pointer to show details on your slides.  It bounces too much, and irritates people.  Use your hand or a stick.

    Basically, your slides or other visuals should support your verbal presentation.  Not compete with it, or distract from it.  Glance at your slides, to make sure the one that shows is the right one, but then talk to the audience, and maintain eye contact.  Do not turn your back to the audience and look at your slides.

    ------------------------------
    Georg Christensen
    The Woodlands TX
    ------------------------------



  • 10.  RE: Making presentations

    SENIOR MEMBER
    Posted 01-03-2018 00:39
    Echoing what others have said:

    1. Reading slides.   As mentioned, use the slides as cue cards.  Glance at them occasionally to make sure you haven't skipped anything.

    2. Keep your visual materials are readable.  Keep the font's large enough to be legible.  Make sure the colors work. And forget the fancy graphics.  All that counts is the content.  Space and visual impact used by graphics is space and impact that is not making your point.

    3. Know your audience and plan your presentation accordingly.

    4. Rehearse what you are going to say, and check the set up before you arrive.

    Other items to add:

    5.  Use common fonts in your slide deck.  If you upload you slide deck to another computer and that computer doesn't have your font installed, the computer will make a font substitution.  The results can be a mess.  I saw a presentation one time where the computer substituted in a Windings type of font.  The slides were nothing but gibberish.

    6.  Monotone and rote speaking.  This dovetails with using your slides as cue cards, not reading them.  Presumably you are giving the presentation because you have something of value to say and you are excited about the content.  (If not, why waste your time?)  Let your enthusiasm show!!!!  Imagine that you are talking about your project or findings with friends and colleagues, and you want them to know what you have been up to - you wouldn't speak flat or monotone, or read to them from a bunch of slides.  Take the same attitude into your presentation.

    7. Sometimes you have detailed information that is important, such as a table that simply won't project.  In that case, print the table out and distribute it before your presentation so that the audience can refer to it when you reach that point of the presentation.  Then you can refer to the table, and people will be able to follow.  (This is a suggestion I picked up from Edward Tofte, author of the excellent reference book "The Visual Display of Quantitative Information".)

    ------------------------------
    Stephen Nelson PE
    President
    Coal Creek Environmental Associates
    Bellevue WA
    ------------------------------



  • 11.  RE: Making presentations

    Posted 01-04-2018 07:31

    I need to be able to read ALL content on your slides from the last row of the auditorium.  If you have a chart, I need to be able to read the X and Y axes.  If you have data that are presented in units that are not what you can recall from undergrad studies, define the units in simplified terms.

     

    If you have multiple data series on a single chart, consider using symbols rather than colors to distinguish series.

     

    If you are a non-native speaker, ask a colleague for an honest critique of your pronunciation, accentuation and tempo.  If you will not be capable of meeting the language standard before your presentation, consider having a native speaking colleague give the presentation.

     

    Simplify.  These presentations are not dissertations.  Leave the super complex discussions to the publication.

     

    I concur with the earlier comments on tone etc.






  • 12.  RE: Making presentations

    SENIOR MEMBER
    Posted 01-03-2018 09:44
    ​I wanted to see where this discussion was going before adding my $0.25, i.e., inflation factored. There is a very common thread in all of these individual 'mistakes' and the overriding 'one' is . . . not being prepared.  And, I don't mean not practicing.  For many years I attended in-house sales driven technical presentations and was happy to see that after a decade or so of not really improving, someone in our company's publication department decided we needed to make a better impression.  So they hired an experienced presentation trainer who grilled each of us to the point where we became follow-on trainers ourselves.  Several of the readers may remember this effort from the ~1980's, which I will have to say is still the best method I have ever seen.

    I just 'googled' that trainer to see if she was still around. She is, but unfortunately it looks like her politics have gotten in the way of the excellent training service.  So rather than bemoan that turn of events I looked for other technical presentation trainers.  There are some, but I have no specific experience to relate and therefore cannot recommend them.  I would stress that a firm that focuses on getting technical information across to a large audience/cross section of engineers would be a good start, but I have not researched such a service.  Sorry.

    Good Hunting,

    ------------------------------
    Mike Ulowetz
    SIEP - New Orleans
    ------------------------------



  • 13.  RE: Making presentations

    SENIOR MEMBER
    Posted 01-03-2018 13:40
    ​I like what a people have said but I would add define your "Acronyms".  You don' t need the definition on your slide but say it.  People might use it and don't know what it really means.  There was a HAZOP discussion on a different forum.  Someone said HAZOPs have nothing to do with operability.  They did not know HAZOP was short for "Hazard and Operability study".

    Lisa I hope people aren't doing that anymore.  You have to be careful with any humor.

    If you are going to give the slides out at the end, delete your notes!  If you want to have extra data on a slide that no one can read - have that be after your "questions" slide if you are going to hand out the slides.

    ------------------------------
    Douglas Weerts
    PHA Leader
    UOP LLC
    Mount Prospect IL
    ------------------------------



  • 14.  RE: Making presentations

    FELLOW
    Posted 01-04-2018 08:55
    I read the 5 responses on this topic on January 4 -- all good -- and decided to throw in a few things I learned
    over the years  (I'm a young retired 85 yer old).  This daily discussion is a fantastic concept! 
    I chaired an AIChe session decades ago and did not know how to shut 
    down a speaker who went on forever screwing up my session's timing.  Take timing seriously!
    Decide on what you want your audience to remember -- three key points -- and repeat them in different ways.
    Keep an eye on your audience and read their reactions as you speak; be ready to say what you just said in a
    different way if you spot people who you're confusing (that's not easy!)
    Remember your goal is to convey information you think is important that you want the audience to remember
    so don't spend time telling them how smart you are.

    David Richman


  • 15.  RE: Making presentations

    LOCAL SECTION VICE CHAIR
    Posted 01-05-2018 07:44

    All conferences need to have a plan for time management for the speakers in order to maintain the schedule according to the program.  Here is some advice about time management:

    ·         It is necessary to discuss time management with the speaker before the start of the speech.  Prepare a program that includes the allocated time for speeches and meeting breaks.  Each speaker must be aware of the time allocation before the start of each speech.

    ·         Have a stop watch available to time each of the speakers.  When the speaker reaches 2-minutes before the end of the time, then show a hand signal (discussed before the speech).  At the end of the allotted time, another pre-arranged signal to show the speaker that the end of time has been reached.

    ·         If a speaker exceeds the time limit by a significant amount of time, it is necessary for the forum master of ceremonies to stand up and take position next to the speaker, and shutdown the presentation.

    ·         Most speeches are followed by question-and-answer session.  Discuss the plan for Q&A with the speaker beforehand, and understand the time allocation for Q&A in the meeting program.  Often this is short, maybe 5 to 10 minutes.  Know the time allocation and cut-off mark for Q&A before the start of the speech.  If some attendees want to continue Q&A afterwards, then they can do so afterwards at lunch or in a small gathering, so the forum can continue with the other speeches according to the schedule outlined in the program.

     

    Management of speeches at a forum is a skill taught at Toastmasters.  There are various lessons about how to be a master of ceremonies (meeting manager), and about how to handle time allocation.  Not all speeches go according to plan, and it is necessary to have experience about speech management before a forum.

     

    I will tell a story about one forum I attended that suffered from poor speech management of time allocation.  The master of ceremonies wanted to encourage discussion during Q&A.  Only 5 minutes was allocated for this according to the program, but the master of ceremonies allowed the Q&A to continue 10 and 15 minutes for each presentation.  This occurred after every speech, and the accumulated time of Q&A discussion caused the program exceeded the time budget.  The forum was supposed to end at 4:00PM, but the meeting extended onwards until 6:00PM.  It was a long day at that forum, and most attendees grew weary about the extended discussions during Q&A amongst a few people.  Most of these discussions could have been handled in a meeting amongst the interested parties after the meeting at dinner, but instead, the entire meeting went well over its scheduled time allocation.

     

    Best Regards,

     

    _________________________________________

     

    Glenn Shiveler

    Applications Specialist

    Mass Transfer Technology - AME
    Sulzer Chemtech USA, Inc.
    1 Sulzer Way, Tulsa OK 74131
    Tel.:  +1 (918) 447-7623

    Cell.: +1 (918) 729-6211

    Fax:  +1 (918) 447-7616
    E-Mail
    mailto:glenn.shiveler@sulzer.com
    Internet http://www.sulzerchemtech.com
    _________________________________________

     

     

    Visit our website www.sulzer.com

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  • 16.  RE: Making presentations

    DIVISION TREASURER
    Posted 01-06-2018 13:01
        At the 2007 AIChE Leadership Development Conference in Boston there was a presentation called "Death by PowerPoint" wherein, among other things, the speaker railed against the dependence on PowerPoint because it was creating a generation of people who could not make a presentation without it.  I was retired by then; I had never learned to make PowerPoint slides; and I was making few presentations at the time; so I never did learn the technique.  In more recent years I have been making presentations on climate change (and another couple of technical issues of public interest) to community audiences composed of people with little or no technical background and I have done so first with no aids and now with a single slide or one page handout, and I have had no trouble in leaving my audiences with good understandings of the issues.  It is in a different kind of environment than that being considered for all the comments in this thread, but it does point to a direction I think is worth considering, that is, to minimize the number of slides and talk to the audience rather than lecture to them.  Start preparing by trying to envision having no slides at all and then add only those which are absolutely necessary. 
        Neil Yeoman, PE, FAIChE






  • 17.  RE: Making presentations

    SENIOR MEMBER
    Posted 3 days ago

    The rule is never exceed your allotted time or go over your stop time by  more than 1-2 minutes – even if the speaker before you started late and ran over.

     

    Once your time is up, get off the stage and take questions informally one to one until the next speaker is ready to be introduced; you can always invite people to continue out in the hall if you wish.

     

    Bob Bly

    Copywriter

    31 Cheyenne Drive

    Montville, NJ 07045

    Phone 973-263-0562

    Fax 973-263-0613

    E-mail rwbly@bly.com

    Web www.bly.com

     






  • 18.  RE: Making presentations

    LOCAL SECTION VICE CHAIR
    Posted 2 days ago

    Bob,

     

    This is a task for the meeting moderator who should have a stop watch or keep time on a clock.  Asking speakers to abide by the "honor system" never works, as speakers will take as much time as they deem necessary.  A well run public meeting requires a moderator who keeps time, and knows how to stop speaker who exceeds his or her time limit.  It is the moderator of the meeting who keeps the time of the speeches according to the meeting agenda.

     

    Best Regards,

    _________________________________________

     

    Glenn Shiveler

    Applications Specialist

    Mass Transfer Technology - AME
    Sulzer Chemtech USA, Inc.
    1 Sulzer Way, Tulsa OK 74131
    E-Mail
    mailto:glenn.shiveler@sulzer.com
    Internet http://www.sulzerchemtech.com
    _________________________________________

     



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  • 19.  RE: Making presentations

    SENIOR MEMBER
    Posted yesterday

    When I am in this situation, I pull the planner aside and ask whether he wants me to stop on time even though we are starting later.

     

    The typical response is either yes or "you can go 10 minutes over."

     

    But a speaker who does not confirm with the planner is asking for trouble.

     

    Because without knowing your stop time, your pacing is unlikely to be right.

     

    Bob Bly

    Copywriter

    31 Cheyenne Drive

    Montville, NJ 07045

    Phone 973-263-0562

    Fax 973-263-0613

    E-mail rwbly@bly.com

    Web www.bly.com

     






  • 20.  RE: Making presentations

    SENIOR MEMBER
    Posted 01-04-2018 10:35
    I agree with what has been said so far and would like to add one comment.  Often the technical details of a presentation are great, but the big picture is missing.
    • Why should the audience care? 
    • What is the implication of the work? 
    • What problem is being solved? 
    In short... so what?  Who cares?  I find technical people (myself included) can easily get lost in the details, especially when working on a problem for so long that it's easy to forget others may be looking at the material without our own perspective.  A simple statement of why something matters can go a long way.  This works equally well for the presentation as a whole or for a given slide/graph/image.  Don't assume the audience knows why something matters and, if you don't know why it matters, then it might not be worth taking up space on a slide.

    ------------------------------
    Peter Blaser
    VP Engineering Services
    CPFD Software
    Albuquerque NM
    ------------------------------



  • 21.  RE: Making presentations

    Posted 01-04-2018 13:25
    With these tips, I can go through 175 slides in 30 minutes, effectively, if many of them are visuals with only one point and impression to be made by each. 
    Spend more time where concepts must be explained.

    See videos of my conference presentations at www.leightyfoundation.org/earth.php
    Video of my presentation at AIChE 2017, Minneapolis:   https://vimeo.com/241296378

    One objective of any presentation is to establish contacts for further discussion, and for audience members to request your presentation slides, which you may send them as either .ppt or .pdf file.  Invite them to use one or more of your slides in their presos; give them the .ppt file.  Have both files handy in your pocket, in case someone wants it at the meeting.


    1.  Always use external mouse and small mousepad beside the laptop, on podium or on desk on conference room.  Touchpad is poor substitute.  Advance slides with the mouse, left button (but must use left arrow on keyboard to backup).  Carry a small USB wired mouse in your computer bag, so you can quickly plug it into a spare USB port without worrying that your wireless receiver will gum up the system.

    2.  Use the on-screen cursor in PowerPoint:
    •  Instead of a laser pointer, so that you never need to turn away from the audience.  In PowerPoint, after you have started your slide show, you should be able to right-click on screen, select Pointer, select Visible, so that you always know  where the arrow is. Otherwise, it auto-shuts-off in about 5 seconds.  On next slide, you need to use random mouse movement to find it:  distracting.
    •  To  immediately  direct audience attention to what you wish them to focus upon, especially on a complex slide, but also to lead through  a bulleted list, so folks know context for what your talking about
    2.  NEVER gesture at the screen.  The audience has no idea what you're trying to guide us to see.

    3. NEVER begin with a time-wasting "Thanks for the marvelous introduction ..."  or a stupid note that " I'm between you and happy hour ", which diminishes your importance

    4. If you have a laptop screen before you, mouse connected, PowwerPoint pointer on:  NEVER look away from your audience; NEVER look at the screen.  Maintain eye contact.  Trust that the screen shows what your laptop screen shows.

    5.  Rhetoric:
    •  NEVER start a sentence with "What ..." unless it's an exclamation --  "What a great idea !"  or a question -- "What is this ?"  Avoid time-wasting "What this means is ...",  "What we're going to do now is ..."
    •  train yourself to NEVER say "you know" , "yaknow", "yeow"  and other meaningless filler words:  like, "in terms of", even "um", "uh", and "well ...".  Train yourself to hear an awful word whenever you utter one of these forbiddens.
    •  NEVER read slides, although of course you will need to speak some of the words on the slide



    Bill Leighty
    Director,  The Leighty Foundation  (TLF)
    Principal,  Alaska Applied Sciences, Inc. (AASI)
    Box 20993, Juneau, AK  99802-0993
    907-586-1426       Cell 206-719-5554    
    www.leightyfoundation.org/earth.php



  • 22.  RE: Making presentations

    Posted 01-04-2018 13:44
    With these tips, I can go through 175 slides in 30 minutes, effectively, if many of them are visuals with only one point and impression to be made by each.
    Spend more time where concepts must be explained.

    See videos of my conference presentations at www.leightyfoundation.org/earth.php
    Video of my presentation at AIChE 2017, Minneapolis:   https://vimeo.com/241296378

    One objective of any presentation is to establish contacts for further discussion, and for audience members to request your presentation slides, which you may send them as either .ppt or .pdf file.  Invite them to use one or more of your slides in their presos; give them the .ppt file.  Have both files handy in your pocket, on USB stick, in case someone wants it at the meeting.


    1.  Always use external mouse and small mousepad beside the laptop, on podium or on desk in conference room.  Touchpad is poor substitute.  Advance slides with the mouse, left button (but must use left arrow on keyboard to backup).  Carry a small USB wired mouse in your computer bag, so you can quickly plug it into a spare USB port without worrying that your wireless mouse receiver will gum up the system.

    2.  Use the on-screen cursor in PowerPoint:
    •  Instead of a laser pointer, so that you never need to turn away from the audience.  In PowerPoint, after you have started your slide show,  right-click on screen, select Pointer, select Visible, so that you always know  where the arrow is. Otherwise, it auto-shuts-off in about 5 seconds.  On next slide, you need to use random mouse movement to find it:  distracting.
    •  To  immediately  direct audience attention to what you wish them to focus upon, especially on a complex or graphic or visual slide, but also to lead through a bulleted list, so folks know context for what your talking about. Pronounce the axis labels on charts, as you point to them.
    • Never use a laser pointer.  The on-screen pointer is better.  Always face the audience.
    2.  NEVER gesture at the screen.  The audience has no idea what you're trying to point to.  Complete waste of time and break in audience contact.

    3. NEVER begin with a time-wasting "Thanks for the marvelous introduction ..."  or a stupid note that " I'm between you and happy hour ", which diminishes your importance.  You have an important and compelling, perhaps acreer-changing story to tell;  get on with it, with enthusiasm.  Never mind if people sneak out, for whatever reasons; always happens; don't be insulted.

    4. If you have a laptop screen before you, mouse connected, PowerPoint pointer on:  NEVER look away from your audience; NEVER look at the screen.  Maintain eye contact.  Trust that the screen shows what your laptop screen shows.  If you trust that, why would you ever break contact with your audience to look at the screen ?

    5.  Rhetoric:
    •  NEVER start a sentence with "What ..." unless it's an exclamation --  "What a great idea !"  or a question -- "What is this ?"  Avoid time-wasting "What this means is ...",  "What we're going to do now is ..."
    •  train yourself to NEVER say "you know" , "yaknow", "yeow"  and other meaningless filler words:  "like", "in terms of", even "um", "uh", and "well ...".  Train yourself to hear an awful word whenever you utter one of these forbiddens.
    •  NEVER read slides, although of course you will need to speak some of the words on the slide.
    6.  Timing:  What is time allotted for your preso ?  Does that include Q&A ?  Will Q&A be immediate, held until end of conference session, or allowed during your preso ?  Rehearse, so you'll know if you're close to allotted time.  Be prepared to jump to concluding slide(s) if you're out of time.  Use your phone timer at desk or podium.

    ------------------------------
    Bill Leighty
    Director, The Leighty Foundation
    Juneau AK
    ------------------------------



  • 23.  RE: Making presentations

    SENIOR MEMBER
    Posted 01-05-2018 13:33
    Never, ever apologize up front for some of the slides to be shown (graph too small or whatever) or anything about the room or the equipment.  That point has been driven home - be prepared.  If the situation allows, dry run your presentation in a room or the room the day before or hours before to make sure slides can be seen from the back etc.

    Take your keys, jackknife, loose change etc.  out of your pockets and put them away so that you aren't remembered as the guy who rattled his stuff all the way through the presentation.

    If questioners are not microphone equipped and it is a large room, REPEAT THE QUESTION.  Did I mention that you should repeat the question for those who might not be able to hear the questioner?

    Did you know that when Powerpoint is in Projection mode and you would like to have your first slide up but not show it until you are ready to begin, that you can push "b" on the keyboard to go to a blank screen and then when you are ready to start, push "b" again to bring up your first slide already in projection mode.  ??

    ------------------------------
    John Sharland PE
    Bridgewater MA
    ------------------------------



  • 24.  RE: Making presentations

    SENIOR MEMBER
    Posted 01-10-2018 18:16
    Thank you all for great advice on presentations.  I use ppt in presentation style for my lectures teaching senior ChE's about Chemical Process Development.  It is a 3 credit elective and originally 11 years ago I taught it in a 2.5 hour marathon with usually about 40 slides.  This left the rest of the week open for other activities like consulting.  Students didn't like the long session and it was exhausting for me.  This spring I am going to two 1:15 minute classes.  The dilemma I face is that I have yet to find a proper text book for this largely heuristic aspect of ChE.  I do draw excerpts from a book that is about the topic and the rest is built from my experience with examples of process development that I was involved in.

    My wife is a good presenter and she is always after me to reduce the information density.  I resist partly because, I provide the slides in handouts to the students as a stand in for lack of proper text.  I try not to read the slides verbatim unless it is a notable quote.  If I convert 40 slides to 150 or so as suggested by another poster, my handouts would break the copy machines.  That stuff is expensive and can be a waste of paper.  What the students like is when I venture off from the literal text and relate stories associated with the examples I present.  Sometimes students ask questions that lead to helpful discussion and I am not afraid to not know the answers.  Process Development is all about identifying unknown values and parameter interactions and devising experiments at suitable scale to obtain the needed information.  The important thing is to learn how to ask the right questions.

    As for presentations at technical meetings, I find a 15-20 minute presentation is just too short to learn anything useful.  All it does is raise questions that can only be answered by getting the authors paper when and if it is published.  All of the advice given here is constructive for presenting in that constrained venue.  When I have done this at ACS meetings, I practiced to get the timing right and I kept the slides simple.  Those sessions had short and longer papers to go along with the oral presentation and they help with details of methods used, etc. valuable to people with deeper interest.  But by the  time proceedings are available, most of us have been swamped by more immediate interests and the value of a good presentation and papers may be lost.  That is a shame considering the amount of work that people put into the papers and the expense of putting on a national meeting.

    ------------------------------
    John Rudesill
    UMBC
    Columbia MD
    ------------------------------



  • 25.  RE: Making presentations

    SENIOR MEMBER
    Posted 01-10-2018 18:52
    Hi, everyone.  I'm going to be giving the presentation at this month's Virtual Local Section meeting on January 25 and this thread has been of particular interest to me, many thanks to those who posted.  The Virtual Local Section meetings use WebEx and I've attended many webinars but this will be my first time giving a webinar.  Webinars are incredibly convenient, but I find that attending them is tedious compared to being in the room with the speaker.  It has to be worse for the presenter. I'm not looking forward to droning on and on and not being able to see the folks in the front row fall asleep as I speak.

    Nobody has posted advice for someone giving a webinar, does anybody have any?  I did some digging and recommendations for good webinar slides include all of the general ones about not trying to present too much information on a slide and not reading from your slides and having an organized structure, but they have a few tweaks, because a large ppt file can gum up the works for audience members who have slow connections or slow computers.  I've learned that for webinars, backgrounds (if used) should be a solid color (not shaded) and that images should be small.  Transition effects should be avoided and animations should be simple.

    I, too, like to take questions during a talk.  It's much better for everybody when it's a conversation and not a lecture.

    -Kirsten

    ------------------------------
    Kirsten Rosselot PE
    owner
    Process Profiles
    Calabasas CA
    ------------------------------



  • 26.  RE: Making presentations

    SENIOR MEMBER
    Posted 01-12-2018 21:46
    I've never been the presenter in a webinar, but I can easily imagine those potential issues.

    One thought that comes to mind is to have someone in the room with you who is viewing the webinar as you are presenting and not listening to you as an "in-person" speaker.  That person should be someone who should be somewhat representative of your target audience - particularly regarding subject matter familiarity. Then get your visual audience cues from that person.  And that person could also pass messages to you about the presentation.

    ------------------------------
    Stephen Nelson PE
    President
    Coal Creek Environmental Associates
    Bellevue WA
    ------------------------------



  • 27.  RE: Making presentations

    SENIOR MEMBER
    Posted 01-15-2018 04:31
    I have delivered almost 300 webinars, and I have learned the best way to run them is like talk back radio.

    --
    Best Regards....
    John Westover (BSChE - Ariz, M Eng Sci - Monash) CEng FIChemE AAIChE
    Chairman and Managing Director, John Westover Pty Ltd
    Phone inside Australia 04-2348-9955
    Phone outside Australia +61-4-2348-9955

    Please visit our website at www.process-engineers.com

    ABN 53 133 399 783

    Profile: (http://au.linkedin.com/in/johnwestover)





  • 28.  RE: Making presentations

    Posted 01-15-2018 15:47
    Kirsten,  See my suggestions a week ago.  Use the on-screen cursor as pointer so that you can use a large number of slides in your time slot, pointing to the key item(s) on each as you speak about them.  That should help keep attention.  In PowerPoint after you start SlideShow:  right click on screen.  Choose Pointer Options ---> Arrow Options --->  Visible    The cursor arrow is now always visible, rather than disappearing after 5 seconds.  You can leave it at the slide abject you're describing, as long as you want.  When you change no next slide, you don't need to fumble on-screen to find the pointer arrow.  Practice this as you rehearse your slides.  Add some graphics slides if you've now gained some time advantage.  Good luck !

    ------------------------------
    [Bill Leighty]
    [The Leighty Foundation www.leightyfoundation.org/earth.php]
    [Director]
    [Alaska Applied Sciences, Inc. www.AlaskaAppliedSciences.com]
    [Juneau] [AK 99801]
    [Principal]
    ------------------------------



  • 29.  RE: Making presentations

    SENIOR MEMBER
    Posted 01-15-2018 00:49
    Hi John Rudesill
    For your course on Chemical Process Development, you could make a separate  Handout for the Course work and have your  Class presentations as a different PowerPoint File which won't be text heavy. You could refer to relevant sections in the  Handout in your Presentation.
    This way the handout can be dense with all the information / case studies you want to share while you can redesign the Class presentation to proceed at a comfortable pace.
    Hope this helps.
    Regards
    Suchismita


    ------------------------------
    Suchismita Bhattacharya

    Navi Mumbai, India
    ------------------------------



  • 30.  RE: Making presentations

    SENIOR MEMBER
    Posted 01-11-2018 10:36
    I make the slides for ME, not the audience. They are my "notes". I glance at them, and they prompt me what I want to talk about. If people read and not listen, they get content. If they listen and not read, they get content. If they listen and take notes on prints of the slides, they get more content.

    My rule of thumb is 3 minutes per slide. Seems to work well enough for academic lectures (55 minutes) or industrial presentations (2-5 days).

    Someone said "Did you know that when Powerpoint is in Projection mode and you would like to have your first slide up but not show it until you are ready to begin, that you can push "b" on the keyboard to go to a blank screen and then when you are ready to start, push "b" again to bring up your first slide already in projection mode." Correct. And ... if you press "w" instead of "b" you get a white screen.

    ------------------------------
    John Westover
    Managing Director
    John Westover Pty Ltd
    Northcote
    ------------------------------



  • 31.  RE: Making presentations

    SENIOR MEMBER
    Posted 01-12-2018 03:33
    I am not sure whether to call it a mistake or a habit...but something that I do not like is the habit of reading the contents of the slides verbatim and move on to the next slide. And most people, having this habit, may also end up thrusting too much info. on a slide ....

    ------------------------------
    Alok Pandit
    Director
    Equinox Software & Services Pvt. Ltd.
    Pune
    ------------------------------



  • 32.  RE: Making presentations

    SENIOR MEMBER
    Posted 17 days ago
    One of the most common mistakes include:
    1. Not explaining well the purpose and benefits of the work
    2. Discussing too much detail, especially if management is the audience
    3. Not driving home key points and summarizing findings, recommendations


    ------------------------------
    Denis Fallon
    Engineering Fellow
    Celanese Corp
    Blacksburg VA
    ------------------------------



  • 33.  RE: Making presentations

    SENIOR MEMBER
    Posted 16 days ago
    When I start a presentation of any type - be that an executive briefing, a technical presentation at a conference, or a sales presentation - I have about 90 seconds in which to persuade the audience that it's worth their while to continue to invest time and energy in what I am presenting.

    If I don't accomplish that, then I've pretty much lost the audience.  The presentation might continue for some time, but the interest will be lost.  And if it's a sales call, it's a lost cause.

    ------------------------------
    Stephen Nelson PE
    President
    Coal Creek Environmental Associates
    Bellevue WA
    ------------------------------