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Workshop on presentation techniques

Report from the PhD students Workshop on presentation techniques

Monday 5th October 2015 the CeMEB PhD students had invited Marie Dacke, senior lecturer from the department of biology at Lund University to inspire and develop their presentation skills.

Marie Dacke is a well-known, well-reputed and well-awarded speaker with several prizes for scientific and popular science presentations.

Leon, Felix, Marie, Alex, Stina, Wouter, Friederike, Anna, Kirsikka and Sussi meet at Ågrenska Villan for a full day of exercises.

Here they share their take-away messages for making good presentations:

♣ The time that has been given too you is a gift from audience, use it well.
♣ The slides should support the talk rather than the other way around.
♣ Flow is important, try to not interrupt it by jumping aimlessly to new subjects or making abrupt changes to the line you’re on.
♣ A paper and a talk are very different. Do not use the classic layout of a paper during a presentation. Be inventive, connect things as much as possible and be mindful of the red line!
♣ Do not be ashamed to show simple things, no one has ever been disappointed because they understood you too well. This also goes for graphics, text and images. Less is more.
♣ If the audience have a hard time understanding you, try to talk slower and do not use extra or overcomplicated words.
♣ Vary the tempo of your speech, and plan this beforehand. Pronunciation and emphasizing some words can go a long way when you try to convey a message.

♣ Involve the audience in your talk. This can be done using questions or references, or simply using the people in the room as a numerical example for describing relations (ie. “The front row, you are the only Littorina from an exposed ecotype with this specific allele, if we count the whole audience…”).
♣ Repeat your important parts, and especially take home messages, but don’t make it boring.
♣ When moving about on stage, use your movements to convey change or transition. To do this unintentionally can cause confusion in the audience.
♣ If about to show a film - explain first what to expect, that way, the audience will pay attention to the important things, and not look around for what they are supposed to look at.
♣ A jump immediately into the topic instead of introduction can save you time and keep the audience interested.
♣ Unexpected references can work to great effect, but you need to be careful regarding their use, they have to fit.
♣ Make reference to real life, but be sure the references are well known. A pop culture image will not work if it doesn’t hit home, and what people think of it might vary.
♣ Use of pictures is a powerful tool, but yet again, they need to fit.
♣ If you can end presentation in a funny way, you might make the audience remember it better.
♣ 8 minutes have been described as an ideal time for keeping the audience interested and on to the subject. Longer and shorter than this time is harder.
♣ Try Keynote instead of PowerPoint some time (as PP does not transfer the films, and crashes often).
♣ If you press B on the keyboard, the screen will go black, and this can switch attention from the screen to speaker.

♣ Train by attending Science Slams where the auditorium assess and give points for presentations – it is a good way to improve ones presenter’s skills.
♣ Rehearse complicated parts of the talk and short talks. Rehearse a lot! Speaking is a trade, everyone can learn it, but practice makes perfect.
♣ Prepare by using your friends as an audience! Ask people to write things that can be improved and how to improve them during your test talks!

Programme and participants

5 October 2015
Ågrenska Villan, Gothenburg

Invited lecturer:
Marie Dacke, Lund University


09.30 – 12.00
Introduction - Scientific slam: making auditorium assess and give points for presentations – a good way to improve once presenters’ skills.

Marie Dacke gives a presentation on dangle beetles
Participants gives feedback on what is great as well as what could be improved. Discussions

13.00 – 16.00
Participants presentations and everyone give comments
Group discussions - improve the presentations

Sussie, Marie, Felix and Friederike 

Kirsikka and Anna

Stina, Leon and Alex


  • Leon Green, Dept Biological and Environmental Sciences, UGOT
  • Felix Mittermayer, GEOMAR, Germany
  • Alexander Ventura, Dept Biological and Environmental Sciences, UGOT
  • Stina Jakobsson, Dept Marine Sciences, UGOT
  • Wouter Visch, Dept Marine Sciences, UGOT
  • Friederike Eimer, Dept Marine Sciences, UGOT
  • Anna Abramova, Dept Marine Sciences, UGOT
  • Kirsikka Silanpää, Dept Biological and Environmental Sciences, UGOT
  • Susanne Gross, Dept Marine Sciences, UGOT
  • Marie Dacke, Docent and Problemet



Page Manager: Eva Marie Rödström|Last update: 11/17/2015

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