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In this session of The Engineering Career Coach Podcast, I interview a dynamic speaker who has lectured at Harvard Medical School, the New York Academy of Sciences, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). She has performed an extremely TED talk, “Talk Nerdy to Me,” which has been watched by more than one million people (and counting). And today she joins us as a special guest to give you five tips for drastically improving your engineering presentations.
“No one can remember more than three points.” ~ Philip Crosby
Melissa Marshall is on a mission to transform how engineers and scientists present their work. She believes that even the best engineering designs and science research is destined to remain undiscovered unless it’s presented in a clear and compelling way that sparks innovation and drives adoption.
In the Take Action Today segment at the end of the show, Melissa gives two actionable pieces of advice to help you with your content and your slides.
Listen to this session and learn from Melissa as she details these five tips on improving your speaking and presentation skills as an engineer:
- Start with the end in mind – Think about where you want to end up at the end of your presentation and force yourself to articulate that in one single sentence and build your presentation around that theme.
- Filter your PowerPoint slides – Use the Assertion Evidence slide design concept (see link below for more information on this) where you have a concise full sentence at the top of a slide and then a visual below it like drawings, charts, images, graphs, etc.
- Use Notes pages in your PowerPoint file – Use the Notes pages in PowerPoint and put all the bullets there instead of on the slide. That way you can still provide people with a PDF of the notes pages of the PowerPoint file with all the bullets or information of your talk.
- Use Presenter View on your laptop – Approach the talk with a more audience-centered viewpoint. When you use the presenter view on your laptop, you will not only see the slides that your audience is looking at, but you can also see the Notes pages for that slide which contain all your bulleted lists or reminders.
- Don’t be afraid to blank the screen at times – If there is no visual, it is okay to not have a slide showing for every second of every your talk. By blanking the screen, people are actually going to focus more on you.
Resources and links mentioned in this session include:
Melissa’s TED Talk – Talk Nerdy to Me
The Assertion Evidence Slide Design – visit http://writing.engr.psu.edu/slides.html
Click Here for Session #57 Transcription
Do you already practice any of Melissa’s recommendations in your engineering presentations? What other tips do you have for powerful presentations?
Please leave your comments or questions in the section below.
To your success,
Anthony Fasano, PE, LEED AP
Engineering Management Institute
Author of Engineer Your Own Success