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Panel discussion presented by Tracy Voltz at the 2010 NSF ADVANCE Workshop: Negotiating the Ideal Faculty Position, A Workshop for Underrepresented PhDs and Postdocs in Science, Engineering and Psychology September 19-21, 2010

High impact presenters

  • Size up the situation
  • Organize an argument
  • Convey confidence
  • Integrate visuals
  • Handle questions
a woman giving a presentation

Analyze audience

  • Who is your audience?
    • Why are they interested?
    • How much do they know?
    • What criteria do they use to make decisions?
    • How will they benefit?
    • What are their concerns?

Two men standing at a board discussing.

Tailor message to audience

From: Barrett, Deborah (2007). Leadership Communication .
  • Make it interesting
  • Provide background
  • Define terms
  • Distinguish between fact and opinion
  • Use examples, analogies, visuals
  • State how and why
  • Present limited background info
  • Use language of discipline
  • State assumptions and conclusions
  • Cite references

a large audience

Mixed audience strategy

  • Define key terms
  • Signal section headings
  • Support points with specific examples
  • Use analogies
  • Mention in-depth points periodically
  • Reiterate your main points as you proceed
  • Avoid jargon
  • End with a general summary

Academic job talk

  1. What problem are you investigating?
  2. Why is it important?
  3. How does your work fit into the context of your field?
  4. What’s your approach?
  5. What did you find that was significant?
  6. What are the implications of your findings?
  7. How is your work novel?

Typical but difficult

  • Chronological narratives
  • Inductive organization
 a cartoon with the captions 'as you can see in slide 397' 'gaaaaaah' 'powerpoint poisoning.

Inductive example

a diagram of a slide presentation showing that the thesis has been introduce too late.

Deductive example

a diagram of a slide presentation showing that the thesis has been introduced early in the talk.

The challenge

a chart diagramming audience attention

Start strong


  • Motivate interest
  • State key point(s)
  • Preview topics
  • Establish credibility
  • Memorize opening


  • No apologies
  • No reintroduction
  • No “Today I’m gonna talk about . . . ”
Hans Rosling
Hans Rosling, TED conference 2006 (External Link)

Wolfe’s strong start

a picture of a TED talk
(External Link)

Directional hypercomplex wavelets for multi-dimensional signal anlysis and processing

three hypercomplex wavelets
Candidate’s name

Directional hypercomplex wavelets for multi-dimensional signal analysis and processing

a diagram of a wavelet

Candidate’s name

Electrical and Computer Engineering

Sept. 20, 2010


  • Introduction
  • Methods and applications
  • Results
  • Conclusions


  • Diagnosis of air quality priorities
  • Primary and secondary pollutants
  • High-order direct sensitivity analysis: Methods and applications
  • Uncertainty analysis
  • Optimization
  • Integrated air quality management: Experiences in Georgia
    • Challenges, priorities, planning
  • Vision for future research


  • Diagnosis of air quality priorities
  • High-order direct sensitivity analysis: Methods and applications
  • Integrated air quality management: Experiences in Georgia
  • Vision for future research

End strong

people clapping


  • Memorize
  • Send cue
  • Restate&summarize
  • Spell out implications


  • No “That’s it.”
  • No exaggerating
  • No ?s slide


clipart of a humanoid character sitting in a question mark.


  • The network is capable of identifying the behavior of the family curve.
  • The amplitude and frequency values obtained with the ANN are close to those obtained by means of the 2-DOF model.
  • The accuracy in the results obtained can be improved if a greater number of samples is used.
  • Other combination of network parameters could allow getting better results.
  • The reduction in computation time is drastically reduced when using the ANN.
  • Identifies behavior of the family curve
  • Closely approximates amplitude and frequency of 2-DOF model
  • Drastically reduces computation time


  • Create coherence
  • Make intuitive connections explicit
  • Weak verbal cues
    • “And another thing”
    • “So”
    • “Next”
  • Strong verbal cues
    • Sequence
      • “First”
    • Contrast
      • “However”
      • “On the other hand”
    • Causality
      • “Therefore”
      • “Consequently

Sample transitions

a picture of a transition from a mac slide to a windows slide.
  1. “So let’s jump into parts I thought were interesting.”
  2. “Next I’m gonna talk about Microsoft.
  3. “In contrast to Apple’s focus on ordinary consumers, Microsoft targets business users.”

Presenting data

  • Relevant results that support key points
  • BIG picture little picture
  • 4-step explanation:
    • Question
    • Describe
    • Report result
    • Interpret result
a chart

Leadership presence

a picture of Barack Obama
(External Link)
  • Enter with authority
  • Focus your energy
  • Pause before starting
  • Establish eye contact
  • Limit movement
  • Speak confidently

Convey confidence

a man and a suit
a woman giving a presentation
(External Link)

  • Stance
  • Gestures
  • Eye contact
  • Voice quality

Stance and posture

Bill Gates giving a presentation
(External Link)

 Steve Jobs giving a presentation
(External Link)

Stance and posture

  • Worst Practices
    • Block screen
    • Stomp feet
    • Cross feet
    • Rock, sway, pace
    • Slouch
    • Lean
  • Best Practices
    • Chin up
    • Feet under hips
    • Shoulders relaxed
    • Weight distributed
    • Knees slightly bent

stick figures demonstrating different postures

Gestures to avoid

  • Fidgeting
    • Fingers
    • Pen or laser pointer
    • Pockets
    • Hair
  • Hands on hips
  • Crossing arms
  • Gripping podium
  • Clasping hands
    • Fig leaf
    • Behind back
men standing giving a presentation
(External Link)

Effective gestures

a person pointing
Steve Jobs holding an iPod

Bill Gates gesturing
  • Power gestures
  • Concept gestures
  • Process gestures
  • Position
  • Scale

Practice gestures

  • “An atom consists of a dense, central nucleus surrounded by a cloud of electrons.
  • “A low pH indicates a high concentration of hydronium ions.”
  • “The particles must be dispersed evenly in the fluid.”
  • “It’s about the size of a quarter .”
  • That is unacceptable !

Eye contact

  • Worst practices
    • Stare at screen
    • Glance at floor or ceiling
    • Read slides or notes
  • Best practices
    • Direct
    • Sustained
    • Distributed

a man looking down while presenting
a woman presenting
(External Link)

Voice quality

  • Volume
  • Pacing
  • Inflection
  • Articulation
  • Fillers

a woman presenting

Handling questions

Google's founders presenting
(External Link)


an arrow showing the flow of a presentation.


the cover of Leadership Communication
Barrett, Deborah, Leadership Communication. McGraw-Hill, 2007.

logo for the Cain Project
Materials developed by Cain Project in Engineering and Professional Communication, www.cnx.org

cover of slide:ology
Duarte, Nancy. Slide:ology. O’Reilly, 2008.

Cover of Technically Speaking
D’Arcy, Jan. Technically Speaking. Columbus: Battelle Press, 1998.

Cover of How to Say it with your Voice
Jacobi, Jeffrey. How to Say It with Your Voice. Paramus: Prentice Hall, 2000.

the TED logo
Repository of interesting talks: Hans Rosling “The Best Stats You’ve Ever Seen” (External Link)

Image references

  • Eric Schmidt

(External Link)&imgrefurl=http://www.mediabistro.com/baynewser/google_stuffgoogle_ceo_defends_company_against_wall_street_journal_in_pages_of_wall_street_journal_144817.asp&usg=__3mt9PhrO_oWQ7ikSSioN2WzemCc=&h=334&w=500&sz=80&hl=en&start=16&um=1&tbnid=Uo8sDZW4wbUrjM:&tbnh=87&tbnw=130&prev=/images%3Fq%3Deric%2Bschmidt %26hl%3Den%26client%3Dfirefox-a%26rls%3Dorg.mozilla:en-US:official%26sa%3DN%26um%3D1

  • Steve Jobs

(External Link)

  • Bill Gates (Jeff J Mitchell / Getty Images)

(External Link)&imgrefurl=http:www.newsweek.comid142537&usg=__kZaLDBaXZY0ztGbJYA71P990hfE=&h=422&w=300&sz=20&hl=en&start=80&um=1&tbnid=vqtK6g2kFK_sSM:&tbnh=126&tbnw=90&prev=/images%3Fq%3Dbill%2Bgates%26ndsp%3D20%26hl%3Den%26client%3Dfirefox-a%26rls%3Dorg.mozilla:en-US:official%26sa%3DN%26start%3D60%26um%3D1

Questions & Answers

find the 15th term of the geometric sequince whose first is 18 and last term of 387
Jerwin Reply
I know this work
The given of f(x=x-2. then what is the value of this f(3) 5f(x+1)
virgelyn Reply
hmm well what is the answer
how do they get the third part x = (32)5/4
kinnecy Reply
can someone help me with some logarithmic and exponential equations.
Jeffrey Reply
sure. what is your question?
okay, so you have 6 raised to the power of 2. what is that part of your answer
I don't understand what the A with approx sign and the boxed x mean
it think it's written 20/(X-6)^2 so it's 20 divided by X-6 squared
I'm not sure why it wrote it the other way
I got X =-6
ok. so take the square root of both sides, now you have plus or minus the square root of 20= x-6
oops. ignore that.
so you not have an equal sign anywhere in the original equation?
is it a question of log
I rally confuse this number And equations too I need exactly help
But this is not salma it's Faiza live in lousvile Ky I garbage this so I am going collage with JCTC that the of the collage thank you my friends
Commplementary angles
Idrissa Reply
im all ears I need to learn
right! what he said ⤴⤴⤴
what is a good calculator for all algebra; would a Casio fx 260 work with all algebra equations? please name the cheapest, thanks.
Kevin Reply
a perfect square v²+2v+_
Dearan Reply
kkk nice
Abdirahman Reply
algebra 2 Inequalities:If equation 2 = 0 it is an open set?
Kim Reply
or infinite solutions?
The answer is neither. The function, 2 = 0 cannot exist. Hence, the function is undefined.
Embra Reply
if |A| not equal to 0 and order of A is n prove that adj (adj A = |A|
Nancy Reply
rolling four fair dice and getting an even number an all four dice
ramon Reply
Kristine 2*2*2=8
Bridget Reply
Differences Between Laspeyres and Paasche Indices
Emedobi Reply
No. 7x -4y is simplified from 4x + (3y + 3x) -7y
Mary Reply
how do you translate this in Algebraic Expressions
linda Reply
Need to simplify the expresin. 3/7 (x+y)-1/7 (x-1)=
Crystal Reply
. After 3 months on a diet, Lisa had lost 12% of her original weight. She lost 21 pounds. What was Lisa's original weight?
Chris Reply
what's the easiest and fastest way to the synthesize AgNP?
Damian Reply
types of nano material
abeetha Reply
I start with an easy one. carbon nanotubes woven into a long filament like a string
many many of nanotubes
what is the k.e before it land
what is the function of carbon nanotubes?
I'm interested in nanotube
what is nanomaterials​ and their applications of sensors.
Ramkumar Reply
what is nano technology
Sravani Reply
what is system testing?
preparation of nanomaterial
Victor Reply
Yes, Nanotechnology has a very fast field of applications and their is always something new to do with it...
Himanshu Reply
good afternoon madam
what is system testing
what is the application of nanotechnology?
In this morden time nanotechnology used in many field . 1-Electronics-manufacturad IC ,RAM,MRAM,solar panel etc 2-Helth and Medical-Nanomedicine,Drug Dilivery for cancer treatment etc 3- Atomobile -MEMS, Coating on car etc. and may other field for details you can check at Google
anybody can imagine what will be happen after 100 years from now in nano tech world
after 100 year this will be not nanotechnology maybe this technology name will be change . maybe aftet 100 year . we work on electron lable practically about its properties and behaviour by the different instruments
name doesn't matter , whatever it will be change... I'm taking about effect on circumstances of the microscopic world
how hard could it be to apply nanotechnology against viral infections such HIV or Ebola?
silver nanoparticles could handle the job?
not now but maybe in future only AgNP maybe any other nanomaterials
I'm interested in Nanotube
this technology will not going on for the long time , so I'm thinking about femtotechnology 10^-15
can nanotechnology change the direction of the face of the world
Prasenjit Reply
At high concentrations (>0.01 M), the relation between absorptivity coefficient and absorbance is no longer linear. This is due to the electrostatic interactions between the quantum dots in close proximity. If the concentration of the solution is high, another effect that is seen is the scattering of light from the large number of quantum dots. This assumption only works at low concentrations of the analyte. Presence of stray light.
Ali Reply
the Beer law works very well for dilute solutions but fails for very high concentrations. why?
bamidele Reply
how did you get the value of 2000N.What calculations are needed to arrive at it
Smarajit Reply
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Source:  OpenStax, 2010 nsf advance workshop: negotiating the ideal faculty position. OpenStax CNX. Feb 11, 2011 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col11275/1.4
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