Tips To Prepare Your Presentation

Written by: Sara Wasserbauer, MD, ISHRS 2022 World Congress Chair

As is the case with most people who are suitable to be World Congress Chairs, it is hard to get me to stop talking. I am persistent and I tend to ramble on and on… This is why I would be a poor selection for a speaker at the Panama 2022 World Congress, but why YOU might be a great one!

The human attention span is about 5-7 minutes, so you will be asked to keep your presentations short for this ISHRS meeting. After all, you want people to walk away having learned your information and thinking about your amazing presentation – not about the nap they had while you were giving it!

If your presentation gets selected – CONGRATULATIONS! Only a small fraction of the submitted abstracts are chosen for live presentation. However, no matter how interesting your presentation is, the moderators will stop you when you reach your time limit. Be prepared!

Your moderator may ask you to limit the number of slides and clean up the text –because a more streamlined and consistent presentation will also allow the audience to focus on YOU. Fewer slides are the hallmark of an expert – which is why presentation competitions in which you are limited to 15 or 20 self-advancing slides are so popular. You want people to see you as the source of authority – not that you were just reading off a slide deck.

Please DO include less text and more high resolution photos. When thinking about how much text to include, definitely avoid including an entire paragraph – because, in all honesty, no one in the audience will read it and – if they attempt to – they then will not be listening to your words. The brain cannot do two tasks simultaneously and if you still think you are the special exception to this rule, consult the “Brain Rules” book reference at the end.

If you have not taken the time to review the legendary presentation Mastering Clinical Photography in HRS by Robert S. Haber, MD (2011), use your next 6:44 minute coffee (or tea, or chai, or whatever…) break to watch this brief but classic video that will change your approach to your work. Ask anyone you know in hair and they will tell you it should be required as part of the ISHRS membership application…(right up there with taking the ABHRS exam!)

Charts and illustrations and diagrams are crucial to communicating complex medical ideas. If you do not have the time to create them yourself, people around the world are willing to help you! Look for the expertise you need for thorough online forums like Upwork or Toptal. Very reasonably priced freelancers can deliver several versions of your idea in the time it would have taken you to just learn how to use the software.

Movies and music and humor will help you tell your story! Studies show that all of these techniques will help your audience remember not just WHAT you say but WHO you are. Movies and music and humor do this by engaging more of your senses. Former ISHRS President Arthur Tykocisnski is a master at this and will likely tell you that Brazilian Jazz (https://www.accuradio.com/channel/brazilian-jazz/915/) is a hypnotic choice.

Get your audience to move and make it fun! Your presentation for Panama 2022 may be hard science, but the seriousness of your scholarship will have more impact when people remember it. Learning experts will tell you that stimulating as many parts of your brain as possible is what cements a memory.

These meetings are conducted in English, but we all know there are many ways to speak this particular language. If you speak heavily accented English, consider pre-recording your presentation or timing yourself in a mirror or on Zoom to allow for a slower delivery. Your points will be remembered, and your ideas understood more accurately.

If you do not speak English, medical translators can help you share your science. Translated.com will get your translation to you in 1-2 days for $50-$150 (same as Euros and multiple other currencies are accepted).

Fear of public speaking is the number one fear reported worldwide. Fear of Death is third on that list. This means most people would rather die than speak in public.

…but how else can you communicate your unique ideas to help others? The answer is to speak in your own home or office instead and pre-record your video! Programs like Prezi, Loom, and even Zoom allow you to pre-record your video which has the added advantage of keeping you within your time limit.

Giving a presentation is a skill, and the only way you get good at it is to practice. Seminars, YouTube tutorials, and online workshops in every variety are available. I searched on YouTube alone and thirty+ video tutorials of every length (and each with over a million views) were offered to me for my education. There are no excuses for a dull presentation when this sort of personal coaching is openly and widely available.

With these tips in mind, I am reviewing my own presentation submissions and you can too. Repetition is key to learning, so if you take away anything from this essay, it should be these points;

  • Use less text. If you have a paragraph of information, then people will read it and not listen to you.
  • Use great photos. Poor photos waste everyone’s time, so stick with high resolution, consistently cropped and sized images.
  • Incorporate a short video clip to convey vast quantities of information, and
  • Use music and humor to “lock in” how pleasant the experience of your presentation is for the audience.

We are looking forward to a meeting that will be packed with information, so open up that Powerpoint and get it ready for the “Panama Marathon” of fascinating and engaging learning.

References:

https://medium.com/swlh/how-to-optimize-your-presentation-design-ea837df43824

Brain Rules by John Medina (www.brainrules.net)

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