Developing the Art of Scientific Presentation

Nippon Medical School, Edo, Tōkyō, Japan
The Journal of hand surgery (Impact Factor: 1.67). 12/2012; 37(12):2580-2588.e2. DOI: 10.1016/j.jhsa.2012.09.018
Source: PubMed


Few guidelines exist regarding the most effective approach to scientific oral presentations. Our purpose is to (1) develop a standardized instrument to evaluate scientific presentations based on a comprehensive review of the available literature regarding the components and organization of scientific presentations and (2) describe the optimal characteristics of scientific presentations.
At the Sixty-sixth (2011) Annual Meeting of the American Society for Surgery of the Hand, 69 presentations were evaluated by at least 2 independent observers. A rating instrument was developed a priori to examine presentation content (background, methods, results, and conclusions), presentation style (speech, structure, delivery, slide aesthetics), and overall quality. We examined correlations between reviewers' ratings of each component as well as overall perceived quality of the presentation using regression analysis. Intraclass correlation coefficients were calculated to measure the degree of variation because of reviewer disagreement and identify the aspects of presentations that contribute to overall quality.
Reviewer agreement was high for presentation content, and less than 1% of variation was caused by reviewer disagreement for background, methods, and conclusions. With respect to presentation style, reviewers agreed most frequently regarding speech and slide appearance, and only 9% and 13%, respectively, of the variation was caused by reviewer disagreement. Disagreement was higher for delivery and presentation structure, and 21% of the variation was attributable to reviewer disagreement. Speaker delivery and slide appearance were the most important predictors of presentation quality, followed by the quality of the presentation of conclusions and background information. Presentation of methods and results were not associated with overall presentation quality.
Distinct aspects of presentation content and style correlate with quality, which can be reliably and objectively measured. By focusing on selected concepts with visually simple slides, speakers can enhance their delivery and may potentially improve the audience's comprehension of the study findings.
Economic and decision analysis III.

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    ABSTRACT: Any science practitioner is constantly exposed to public speaking (PS) situations: conferences, congresses, symposia, workshops, etc.; thus it is essential to communicate our ideas in a clear and convincing manner during an oral presentation. Professionals and students alike, often assume that the skills for PS are achieved and developed only by practicing. However, in PS situations it is common that experienced professionals deliver deficient oral presentations. The hypothesis of this study is that experience by itself is not the only way to acquire such skills, but it is possible to improve the presentation skills of a group of science students by learning the scientific rationale of PS. We applied a public speaking performance test (Rapee test) to a group of 15 postgraduate students of marine sciences, after a brief presentation, before and after taking a course on PS. During the course we examined the science underlying the PS, PS protocols in science and the application of graphic design principles into visual supporting material of oral presentations. The results of the Rapee test applied before and after the course were compared using a test for difference between means of independent samples (p value of 0.05). The groups’ average grade before the course indicated a low performance (48 points out of 68). After taking the course of PS, this average grade significantly increased (from 48 to 57 points), which allows to not reject the hypothesis. These results suggest that the students, regardless their previous experience, can improve their PS performance and develop efficient oral presentations if they are properly instructed with the basic scientific principles of the PS. If a constant practice is also considered, the result will likely be an evident control of PS situations, At least within the scientific community, there are too few individuals that have developed skills for PS, that for the vast majority it is recommendable to receive an appropriate instruction of the scientific rationale behind the PS.