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Here is a copy of the Teaching Evaluation Form we use for our residents.

TEACHING WORKSHOP – Presentation Tips

  1. Slides and other visuals are an aid, not the main act.
  2. Slide Background
    1. Use a light font on a dark background (preferred) or a dark font on a light background
    2. Avoid backgrounds with a combination of light and dark colors
  3. Organization
    1. Hit the key points early and often.
    2. Consider an outline at the beginning of the talk, and come back to it each time you move to the next point on the outline.
    3. Focus your content. Trim, edit, trim. It has been said that people can learn no more than 2-3 things from an hour long talk. Make sure you pick out which 2-3 things those are, and drive them home.
  4. Font
    1. Your font should never be smaller than 20 point. A 32 point font or bigger is ideal.
    2. Pick a neutral font and use the same font throughout the presentation. (And please, if you have any respect for me at all, don¿t use ¿Comic Sans.¿)
  5. Text
    1. No more than five points per slide. Less than that is good, too.
    2. Bullet points should be words or phrases, not complete sentences
    3. Don¿t show a busy slide and then apologize for it. Just don¿t show a busy slide!
    4. Don¿t use abbreviations unless you are certain every person in the room knows what they mean, including people who came in late.
    5. Check your spelling twice.
    6. Capitalize brand name drugs, and don¿t capitalize generic drugs. Generally, you don¿t want to use brand name drugs in formal presentations.
  6. When showing a video, move the mouse off the video while it is playing.
  7. Timing
    1. Plan for an average of 1 minute per slide.
    2. Allow time to start late and finish early for questions.
    3. Practice ahead of time to get a feel for the timing.
  8. Emphasis
    1. Animations
      1. Keep text animation to a minimum, and use only the most basic animations (i.e. ¿Appear¿, rather than ¿Zooming Swooshy Boomerang.¿)
      2. Don¿t animate pictures unless the movement is necessary to get the point of the slide across
    2. Laser pointers
      1. Build your slides with the goal of making a laser pointer unnecessary
      2. If you do use them, don¿t point at or circle text.
    3. Silence
      1. If you stop talking, people will pay attention. If you ask the audience a question and no one is answering, say your favorite nursery rhyme in your ahead before moving on. The silence makes them uncomfortable too, and they will almost always answer.
      2. If you turn the screen off (visual silence) the audience will have to pay attention to you rather than the screen.
    4. Repetition. Anything worth saying is worth saying 2-3 times
    5. Change your pace or tone.
    6. Preface your statement. (¿It¿s critical to understand one thing...¿)
  9. Vacation pictures, cartoons, and pictures of your family. Use these sparingly and only if you think it adds something to the talk.
  10. Practicing your talk.
    1. Practice a ¿radio¿ version of your talk (minus visuals). It helps you sharpen your delivery, and is useful in case of total A/V catastrophe.
    2. Rehearse!
    3. If you need an outline, prepare a sheet with brief reminders & talking points.
  11. Delivering Your Talk
    1. Psych yourself!
      1. You will be at least a little nervous. Accept it.
      2. Your talk will not be perfect. Accept that, too.
      3. Be yourself. Don¿t be dry just because your topic is. Don¿t try to be formal just because your attire is. Don¿t try to suppress (or manufacture!) humor, gestures, or personality. Be natural.
      4. Be positive and enthusiastic about your material! The person having the most fun should be you.
    2. Be loud. Try to talk to the person in the back of the room.
    3. Interact with your audience.
      1. Know your audience and connect with them at the outset. Use your opening to establish common ground.
      2. Learn to make eye-contact. Don¿t get into the habit of talking to your slides, or to a socket on the rear wall.
      3. Ask your audience questions. Pause to let them think about it. When appropriate, encourage a response (verbal or show of hands).
      4. Try to read your audience and respond flexibly. If they appear confused, slow down and clarify, or allow for an audience question.
    4. Don¿t be afraid to break tradition.
      1. It¿s okay to keep house lights on for better eye contact.
      2. It¿s okay to not use the lectern.
      3. It¿s okay to just use a chalkboard or overhead.

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