The Craft of Scientific Presentations: Critical Steps to Succeed and Critical Errors to Avoid / Edition 2

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Overview

The Craft of Scientific Presentations, 2nd edition aims to strengthen you as a presenter of science and engineering. The book does so by identifying what makes excellent presenters such as Brian Cox, Jane Goodall, Richard Feynman, and Jill Bolte Taylor so strong. In addition, the book explains what causes so many scientific presentations to flounder.

One of the most valuable contributions of this text is that it teaches the assertion-evidence approach to scientific presentations. Instead of building presentations, as most engineers and scientists do, on the weak foundation of topic phrases and bulleted lists, this assertion-evidence approach calls for building presentations on succinct message assertions supported by visual evidence. Unlike the commonly followed topic-subtopic approach that PowerPoint leads presenters to use, the assertion-evidence approach is solidly grounded in research.

By showing the differences between strong and weak presentations, by identifying the errors that scientific presenters typically make, and by teaching a much more powerful approach for scientific presentations than what is commonly practiced, this book places you in a position to elevate your presentations to a high level. In essence, this book aims to have you not just succeed in your scientific presentations, but excel.

About the Author

Michael Alley has taught workshops on presentations to engineers and scientists on five continents, and has recently been invited to speak at the European Space Organization, Harvard Medical School, MIT, Sandia National Labs, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, Simula Research Laboratory, and United Technologies. An Associate Professor of engineering communication at Pennsylvania State University, Alley is a leading researcher on the effectiveness of different designs for presentation slides.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

From the reviews:

Praise for Michael Alley's THE CRAFT OF SCIENTIFIC PRESENTATIONS:

PHYSICS TODAY

"Alley's [book has] elements of conversation that engage a reader in ways a list of rules would not. [It] can be profitably read from cover to cover, but [it] can also be opened to a specific section for reference ... The Craft of Scientific Presentations is informal in tone but serious in intent. Alley makes the reader think about the point of a presentation, about different kinds of presentations, about different techniques - from writing on a blackboard to using computer slide shows. He shows how to think about finding the right words, structure, and images. He is at his best discussing well-chosen examples from both great and lesser-known lecturers, and his counsel to anticipate what could go wrong is sage advice ... Spending time with [this book] will give you food for thought and the encouragement to practice, practice, practice!"

PHYSICS WORLD

"The book does contain much good advice. This is summarised in useful tables and checklists that are easy to locate and refer to subsequently. Having just returned from a large international conference, I only wish that many of the speakers had studied Alley's book."

THE JOURNAL OF THE EUROPEAN ASSOCIATION OF SCIENCE EDITORS

"A book that one can read for pleasure and self-improvement, as well as utilize as a manual... A valuable addition to the libraries of scientific institutions and I have already recommended it to several of my research organization clients."

DANIEL J. INMAN, DIRECTOR
CENTER FOR INTELLIGENT MATERIAL SYSTEMS

"Alley has revamped the way our research center makes presentations—particularly the way we design our presentation slides."

CHRISTENE MOORE, COMMUNICATION INSTRUCTOR
UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS AT AUSTIN

"This book fills a void by illustrating key issues and difficulties in oral presentations with the experiences of others."

"Scientific presentation, whether for a gathering of colleagues or a general audience, benefit from techniques of stagecraft and rhetoric. … The Craft of Scientific Presentations is informal in tone but serious in intend. Alley makes the reader think about the point of a presentation, about different kinds of presentations, and about different techniques … . He is at his best discussing well-chosen examples from both great and lesser-known lecturers, and his counsel to anticipate what could go wrong is sage advice." (Chris Quigg, Physics Today, July, 2004)

"The author, an experienced teacher, adds numerous examples not only from his praxis, but found in many biographies, memorial books, and articles of well known scientists and speakers. … Due to the applied form the book presents amusing reading for everybody … . Forty-one illustrations accompany the text … . Beginners in presenting speeches will find the book a source of both useful and interesting information, experienced lecturers can learn many amazing stories from the history of science." (Z. Šesták, Photosynthetica, Vol. 41 (4), 2003)

"What makes an oral presentation effective? The Craft of Presentations considers presentations made to persuade an audience to adopt some course of action (such as funding a proposal) as well as presentations made to communicate information … . Its goal is to provide you with the insights and tools to let you learn from your own presentations until they become outstanding." (Meteorology and Atmospheric Physics, Vol. 84 (1-2), 2003)

"A failure to communicate the principal message of a scientific presentation can have literally catastrophic consequences. … the book does contain much good advice. This is summarised in useful tables and checklists that are easy to locate and refer to subsequently. Having just returned from a large international conference, I only wish that many of the speakers had studied Alley’s book." (Keith McEwen, Physics World, October, 2003)

"Rather than present a list of simple rules for giving scientific presentations, this book looks at the styles of successful presenters such as Boltzmann, Einstein, Feynman, Levi-Montalcini and Linus Pauling … . The bulk of the book considers in detail ten critical errors that undermine the performance of the speaker, from giving the wrong speech to not preparing enough to not paying attention and loosing composure." (Book News on the Internet, June, 2003)

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781441982780
  • Publisher: Springer New York
  • Publication date: 12/31/2012
  • Edition description: 2nd ed. 2013
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 286
  • Sales rank: 219,262
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Holding a Masters of Science in Electrical Engineering and a Master of Fine Arts in Writing, Michael Alley is an Associate Professor of Engineering Communication at Pennsylvania State University. He is the author of three popular textbooks: The Craft of Scientific Presentations (2003), The Craft of Editing (2000), and The Craft of Scientific Writing (1996).

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Table of Contents

Introduction.- Speech: The Words You Say.- Structure: The Strategy You Choose.- Visual Aids: Your Supporting Cast.- Delivery: You, the Room, and the Audience.- Conclusion: Aim High.

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