Resources for Scientific Presentations
Here is a collection of links to helpful resources for planning and executing verbal scientific presentations, including examples of some of my own posters and talks as well as a slideshow of other examples.
- General Advice
- Kinds of Talks
- Help Picking Colors
- Justin’s Presentations: Posters and Talks
- Slideshow: Scientific Poster Examples
Fortunately, the web hosts a variety of general resources on the topic of scientific presentations. I’ll start by reviewing some of these that are available in two formats, video and articles/blogs.
For those who like video instruction, here is a nice video on designing slides for scientific presentation, and here is a nice labguru webinar on 10 essential components of great scientific presentations. Also, here’s a link to a very popular presentation on designing and giving scientific presentations using Powerpoint. Years ago in 2008 when I started my PhD, I found this latter talk as a PowerPoint file online. I considered it an excellent resource then and it’s still relevant now, only now it is available in video format (link) as well.
Everyone seems to have an opinion on what makes a good scientific talk. It’s worth reading old and new advice, questioning both, and creating the best designs possible. This is only done with much thought and preparation, and of course stealing/mimicking good design. For the first step, here are old, old, old, old, and older articles discussing how to give good and bad talks, including dated “rules” for giving presentations from biologists and computer scientists. Also, here, here, here, and here are some newer tips and discussions on giving good presentations (content from within the last few years), including advice from young professionals and scientists on why You Suck at PowerPoint!, and how to make presentations that don’t suck. I found this discussion on Death to the Outline Slide very useful and engaging.
Kinds of Talks
The Academic Job Talk
Find recent advice on giving job talks here.
Find recent advice on giving technical talks here.
Be well spoken. Don’t look like a noob: to find out how to correctly pronounce biological Latin names and phrases during your talks, click here.
Help Picking Colors
The simplest advice on colors is simply not to use different colored text. However, I like many others like talks with tastefully colored text. On the other hand, no one appreciates talk with arrays of random colors (too many colors), color-coded sections that the presenter simply expects the audience to remember the connections between without reminding them, or common color mistakes/sins, including an awful color scheme. In my opinion, every talk should have a color scheme. I have an artistic eye and know the color wheel, but I still seek advice on colors. There are great resources for those who love colors and want to have great color schemes, including colourlovers and the Adobe Kuler website/tool.
Justin’s Presentations: Posters and Talks
By this point in my academic career, I have now fairly routinely presented the results of my research in oral talk and poster presentation formats. Here, I provide several files that are representative products of this work. Some of these were intended for purely academic audiences of professional biologists, whereas others have been used to explain my science to the general public (in which case, the figures were used to tell a story, and supplemented with anecdotes from the field etc., rather than using the poster to go into the details of the research). Files are given in reverse chronological order in PDF and pptx formats, and they correspond to sections of my CV as well as papers that we’ve published from the studies that can be found on my Publications page.
Here is a slideshow of some of my posters. You can click on the links in the reverse-chronological list below the slideshow to download PDFs of these posters.
III Simpósio de Zoologia Sistemática, UFMG Campus Pampulha, Belo Horizonte, Minas Gerais, Brazil, December 2015: “Sinal biogeográfico de captura de cabeceira: primeiro registro de Phalloceros harpagos Lucinda, 2008 (Cyprinodontiformes: Poeciliidae) em riachos da bacia do rio São Francisco.” PDF.
BYU Grad Expo 2014 poster, BYU, Provo, UT, 2014: “Species delimitation in mollies of the Poecilia sphenops species complex.” PDF.
Evolution 2013 poster, Snowbird Resort, Salt Lake City, UT, 2013: “Paleoclimatic modeling and phylogeography of least killifish: insights into Pleistocene expansion-contraction dynamics and evolutionary history of Coastal Plain freshwater biota.” PDF.
1st Congress on Evolutionary Biology poster, Ottawa, Canada, 2012: “Using comparative phylogeography to understand evolutionary diversification in Central American freshwater fishes.” PDF. (dissertation overview poster)
[More coming soon.]
Slideshow: Scientific Posters
Here is a slideshow of some posters that I liked that I found online. I will try to continually update this when I come across more posters that provide good examples of different styles/formats.
Other posters of interest:
Example ecology poster on killer whales. PDF.