John Daly, Ph.D.
The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center
Hi! Hi Smithville! Hi Bastroff! Let's all say hi to them, by the way, since they're far away. One, two, three!
Okay. I want them to feel welcome, all right, electronically. My name's John Daly, I teach at U. T. Austin. I've been there a long time now. I teach a graduate course we call Advocacy, which is how people sell ideas inside organizations. If you got a great idea, how do you convince people it is a good idea? I teach a course in kind of customer focus, and a lot of communication sorts of things. Today we're going to be talking about, I would argue as one of the most important things you do, which is to simply make a good presentation. How many think that's important? How many?. How many of you seen job talks go bad before? You can ruin your entire career with one talk. Think truth? You can also make your career with one talk. Thing about presentations is we don't do many of them, but the ones we do have profound consequences. You can ruin your career; you can enhance your reputation enormously simply based upon one presentation of an hours time. Some of you will get a job in the future if you're looking at it, simply because you've done a great job talk. And others you will have published incredibly good research, but you make a presentation about the research and all your credibility goes away almost instantaneously. So it's really consequential this thing. It's something we don't get much experience with, but we do. How many of you have seen some bad talks before? All right. Tell me some things that make a bad presentation. Name me, tell me some things you've seen that make it really bad. Think of the worst presentation you've ever seen. What was bad about it? Yes mam.
Blah, blah, blah, like this. Mumble, you can't even hear them, right? What's another thing?
No message. There's no point to the presentation. How many of you have sat through an hour and say, I have no idea what I'm supposed to get out of this thing? There was no point. It's not, you just wasted your time. What's another bad thing? Yes sir.
Lack of interactivity.
Lack of interaction with the audience, right? They were, you didn't, How many of you folks sometimes the person was talking to a hole in the back of the room, and they wouldn't even, the audience could have left and they wouldn't known the difference. What's another thing? Yeah?
Awful visual aids. How many have seen visual aids go a muck? They have too much. They don't have enough. The visual aids say one thing; they're saying exactly the opposite in front of you. How many of you old enough to remember slides? Oh, Those were even worse when you think about that. And they were so damn expensive. Fifty dollars a slide, okay? And everyone saved them for years. After you did one presentation you saved it so you could use it for another presentation. So what happens, you've got like 20 different colored slides. You don't have that problem anymore. So presentations are better than they used to be when it comes to visuals. What's another thing that goes wrong in presentations? Yes mam.
Lack of confidence on the part of speaker.
Yeah. Speaker doesn't have confidence. Here's an interesting finding, if I had a whole day for this I'd show you a videotape at one point. And I'm gonna talk about the research in just a few minutes. But one of our findings is this, I would show you a video tape of maybe 10 or 12 people making presentations at an academic conference; these are actually chemists. And I'd say, I want you to rate each person on their confidence. How confident do they appear when they're talking? I'd only give you maybe 5 second segments. Then I would rewind the tape and say I want you to watch this over again. And now I want you to rate them on their competency. How competent do they appear? What's the correlation between people's perceptions of confidence and perceptions of competence when they don't know people? It's almost perfect with reliability, it’s virtually perfect. If you sound confident you are perceived to be competent. And if you don't sound confident people are suspect about your competency. Now obviously once you get to know somebody you know it's just B.S. so you don't need to trust the person. But initially when you don't know somebody, confidence really seems to matter an enormous amount. And lucky there's a lot of research on how to sound confident and we'll spend a little bit of time talking about it. What's another thing? Yes sir.
They talk like this the entire time and you really get bored very quickly, don't you? And you don't know why you're listening to them. It's nice, because it does put you to sleep. What's another thing? Yes sir, mam.
They read everything off of a slide.
Yeah, they read their slides. How many see people read slides? They get up and, how many have you seen people? My favorite is nor do they read, but they look surprised when they see the slide. Like, Wow! Where did that come from? What makes for a poor presentation? Damn! I'll read it aloud to you guys. It's a stunning experience. All right, we're gonna talk about some of those things. We can make up a list of a thousand things. Let me tell you one thing though, it's okay to make some mistakes. Most people will forgive you immensely if you're perceived in a positive way as presenter. All right? No one expects kind of academy award presentations. So what we're gonna do is just highlight some skills you might want to think about. I'm gonna use a couple metaphorical examples. One would be a job talk; one would be a conference presentation. Because that what I think most of you do. A few of you might do community presentations, but it seems to me most of you are doing other conference stuff, job talks, some grand rounds kind of presentations too in some cases. Let's talk about those.
First, preparation matters. What do you want to know? First, who's coming to the session? Who's gonna be there is a very simple of a basic question. Let's take a community presentation that's kind of a difficult one. How many of you done a community presentation before? Somebody calls you up and says, we need you to come talk about what you do. That is a very difficult one, because you don't know who's gonna be there. So what you want to do is ask a lot of questions. Why are they coming? Are they family members of cancer patients? Are they reporters? Are they Ph.D. Biochemists? Why are they coming in the first place? What's the size of the audience? A big audience versus small audience. Classic job talk situation. You go to a university, shall we say, They say we want you to do the job talk. You say great, and you expect 20 people there. They take you to a lecture hall filled with 500 undergraduates who have no desire to listen to you in the first place. You don't know that you got real problems. Or you think you're gonna be talking to a large audience and you walk in at a conference and you discover there's six people there, because everyone else wants to go to the receptions. All right? You've always gotta know how big the audience is.
What do they already know about the topics obvious? Interesting, it's very easy to talk to an audience that knows a lot or an audience that knows a little. A heterogeneous audience is the difficult audience. When you have some experts and non-experts that's a much more difficult presentation thing. Who do they know in the audience is a real good one too. What does that mean? Choice one, everyone in the audience knows each other, but you don't know them. Choice two, no one knows anyone in the audience, no one knows each other. Which is the better audience? Choice B. All right? Choice one is an awful experience, because they all talk to each other while you're talking. All right? How many of you sitting next to a friend right now? Yeah, and guess what? You can gossip. I have no idea what I'm talking about. You do a job talk at a university or in a medical center, okay, and they all know each other, it's an inside jock, and you don't even know what they're talking about sometimes. It's often times much easier to talk when people don't know each other, because they're all focused upon you. Big question, What's their interests?
There's a wonderful communication concept called WIIFM. WIIFM stands for What's In It For Me. And if somebody can see it's relevant they'll pay attention. If they can't see it's relevant they're not gonna worry about it. How many of you have some classes in school who you kind of knew it was important to know, but you couldn't figure out why. And therefore you didn't listen. How many of you all start classes where you said, Wow, this is important I gotta get this down! How many of you liked it when a professor said it will be, this will be on the test. How many of you recognize immediately what happens. Every hand starts taking notes, because there's something relevant at this point. If you can show people relevance they'll pay attention. Also they'll, oppositely you also want to know the hot buttons. What are hot buttons? Things that turn people off. Let's suppose, what's a case in point? A lot of times when you teach presentations to people you say, what you want to do if you go into a community where you're unfamiliar with the community is get a copy of the newspaper from the day before and the day of your presentation and scan it.
See what's going on in that community. Not necessarily didn't know a lot about the community, but to see if there are like headlines you should be aware of. So what's a case? I was doing a talk at the University of North Carolina a few months ago, all right. And it was about something had to do with advocacy and selling ideas and so on with that. It was a research presentation. But luckily I, I always had a joke in there about stealing other peoples ideas, which was find for the example I know I'm a use, but they were having like this major plagiarism crisis on that campus at that point. I thought it was really wise not to use that joke that day. I don't know if it would upset people, but it might. Hot buttons are very important. By the way, one thing about humor, let's agree on one thing right now. None of you are funny. Just accept it. All right? None of you are funny. Don't use humor it doesn't work. All right? You can use humor, of course in the situation, but planned humor gets in trouble most of the time. All right?
Unless you're very good as presenter, avoid humor at all costs. Also, how will they react? Logistical issues. What's the room size? What's the seating arrangement? You walk in, you expect a small room, it's a giant room. You're gonna have to present differently. It's a long room versus a wide room, you're gonna have to present differently. One thing you need to know is all those things. And by the way, big question, When is this presentation happening? How many seen people at a conference forget when their presentation is. Like I thought it was at nine o’clock. No it starts at eight, I'm sorry. And the person walks into the end. It's simple things like that could embarrass people. When you are looking at the session a couple of things you want to do. Always preview the setting. Walk in and say to yourself, What could get me in trouble? Who's around me? What's neighbors mean? I was in Galveston, Texas once doing a program for another medical center here in Houston, all right? And it was on kind of patient center care, customer service sorts of things. It was gonna be a fun session for a day, except it was Hotel Galvez I have it down Galvez. All right?
I happen to get there early enough that I noticed on one side they had the Houston beer distributors plan to meet that day. They already had kegs of beer set up and six packs cooling away. On the other side for the old Houston football team they were having cheerleader tryouts next door. I decided I'm not gonna compete. I simply asked to move the room. How many have you been in a presentation before and there's an enormous noise, the setting up a banquet on either side and they drop a table of stuff. How many of you been in a room where you must have a humorist next door, and everyone's laughing, and your audience is longingly looking towards that room saying if only we could be there? If you don't know your neighbors you're gonna run into problems. So what do you do when you first walk in a room? Walk around to see who the neighbors are. Make sure you understand the equipment. And most importantly, own your territory. The moment you walk in to make a presentation this room is yours. If you're going to be using something in the room get rid of it. All right? So what don't I need up here? I left a couple of things up here. What could I get rid of very easily that I'm probably not going to be using? I don't need the bag here. Okay? I get the bag and make it go away. You expecting me to bring out treats or something like that? What else could get in the way up here?
The water! Absolutely! Even when you drink it I want it put away where it's not gonna harm my computer or embarrass me. I don't need this thing right here, do I? And this kind of instrument of torture I don't need either. Here's the thing a lot of speakers are bad at. You're doing a conference presentation, your number three on the podium, all right? First guy gets up, and what does he do? He brings water up with him and he happens to leave it up here. Second person gets up; she leaves her notes here. And by the way, she's six foot four, so she makes the microphone like this. Now you happen to be five foot two, all right? What do you do? If you get up there you're gonna be really embarrassed unless you say I gotta own my territory. You stand up, you adjust the microphone, you take the water you're not gonna use, the coffee, and give it back to that person. You pick up their notes and hand them the notes.
Take a minute to own your territory, otherwise you're gonna get embarrassed sometimes. If you want to screw up somebody that's gonna follow you leave your junk up there. All right? It does screw them up sometimes. All right? You ask, what's necessary? What could get in the way? Now what materials do you need to make this presentation? A couple of little things to think about. First, always imagine the worst. Question, what happens, what could go wrong in this room right now? I loose electricity, could I still make this presentation? Of course I could. If you can't you're not ready to do it. Now a day, now a day's people trust their computers too much. How many have seen people trust their computer too much. It's a bad experience for everyone. It doesn't work. Somehow the colors change, don't they? All of a sudden you have these beautiful color documents, but they change when they get up on the wall. Or for example, the hard disk shuts down.
Good presenters always imagine the worst that could happen, says how do I cope? So, for example, I have plastic overheads of this presentation. I could easily use plastic overheads instead if there nothing else worked. In fact, I could give this presentation with anything if I had to. You imagine the worst that could happen every time. Have your back up material. One thing you always should do also, have two presentations ready. You always want your big presentation, your show so to speak. But you also want a presentation that lasts about one-forth as long. How many have you done convention presentations, you're number five on the panel, and number one person and number two persons both took an extra five or eight minutes. Now what happens? The programs due to end at ten AM, it is now nine fifty four. You're the last one up there. You were supposed to have fifteen minutes, but you were luckily gonna have at most six minutes before people have to pour out of the room.
You can torture people by saying, lock the doors you're stuck here for my fifteen minutes. Or what do you do? You gotta be able to adapt real quickly. You never know when your presentation should be cut short. And by the way, people always enjoy a shorter presentation over a longer one. So you almost always want to have two ready. Now interesting about job talk presentations and first research presentations. Some of the research suggests that the first time you do a presentation it will generally go shorter than you anticipate. You'll work on your slides. You'll work on your notes. You'll get up, you'll say this will last at least an hour. And after twenty minutes you're done. Now when you do the same presentation seven, eight, twelve times, what happens? It begins to grow on you, doesn't it? How many of you have a canned presentation you've done enough that, guess what? You originally thought it would take an hour, now it will take two hours if you let it go. So when you initially prepare your first time to do this presentation of research you want to prepare a lot more than you anticipate you're gonna be using, because time will fly.
But when you do ten of these in a row, the examples will pop in minds, the stories. You answer other questions. So you're gonna have to actually prune your presentation. All right. How do you prepare? There are lots of research on how to prepare presentations. Here are six typical ways presentations are prepared. The easiest one is called the scientific method. The scientific method. How many of you write research articles? Okay, that's easy to present, isn't it? There's, everyone knows the structure. What do you have? A review of literature, a rational hypothesis, number one. Number two you have methodology. Number three you have the results. And number four you have discussion, implication, and limitations kind of thing. Right? That's a very easy canned presentation to make. Typically many job talks surround that. That's a very simple way to do it. Second way of doing it is called the sorting method. Congratulations sir, you've been invited to make a presentation of the worldwide construction business about construction M.D. Anderson.
All right? You say, I don't know much about it, but okay, I'll be willing to do it. What I want you to do is I want you to go out and buy a stack of index cards about this high. And I want you to start carrying those index cards around with you. And anytime you get an idea, anytime you get a great word, a great metaphor, something that you think is useful, write one idea down per card. No more than one idea per card. Now two days before the presentation what I want you do to is take this stack of cards where you've got things written down, I want you to sort them into piles based upon their similarity. And what you have discovered very quickly is you'll probably get five or six piles. Thus you have your organization of your presentation. How many of you get ideas you really wish you could remember in the shower, for example? Or in the middle of the night? Or sitting in the elevator, okay? Something pops into your mind. If you have this you write it down. Don't try to store it all on your computer. Instead just put them on cards and then sort the cards. That's how spotter speakers get good presentations organized quickly. It's a very inductive one. Third one, outlining. Just like a paper outline. By the way footnote, How many of you know people pair their presentations by preparing their PowerPoint's? Don't do that! How many of you recognize the problem with that?
Your slides drive your presentation. Smart people say, what is it I want people to remember? What do I want them to know? Where can I put slides that will help? There's a difference there isn't there? Now many of us get very busy, so we just take an old presentation, cut and paste slides back and forth? All right, well that works. I know it does. But it doesn't make your presentations as effective as if you say, what is it I want people to remember? Where do I put slides to enhance it? Forth one, writing the case method. Case method's a very simple one. It's a narrative one. A narrative we're gonna talk about in a few minutes, but it's a very powerful way of communicating. Case studies, everyone likes to listen to more than almost anyone else. Fifth one is called the written message. When you write your entire presentation out word for word. Is that a good way of doing it, by the way? How many written presentations are really great? How many of you like it when somebody's written the entire thing up, gets behind the podium and literally reads their paper? How many heard people do that before though?
All right, now there are times to do this. John Mendelsohn has to have written presentations. Cause if he says something he'll be misquoted. He has to be careful. When you know you're gonna be quoted on this you want to be very careful about what you say. So you want to write if you have a major discovery that is really crucial and you have to say it exactly the right way so that it doesn't get misunderstood, sometimes it's very good to have it written out. When else is it good to have it written out? It's good when you want to really sound flowery. When you want great metaphors, great analogies, beautiful language. Some of you may have a natural ability with language, but most of us don't have that. So if you really want to do a very fancy presentation that uses lots of fancy words said wonderfully, you probably want it written out. When else is it good to think through your ideas? How many of you know people who sound real good, but when you actually listen to the, read the transcript there's not much there? Sometimes writing forces you to think more logically. All right? It forces you to see the gaps in your argument when you're writing an article, for example. So some nice presenters will write it out, but they don't take the presentation with them.
You never want to bring the presentation up with you unless you're very, very good. Cause the moment you get nervous what do you do? You begin to hug your presentation, and you literally start reading it, and people notice. Finally method is called the problem solver method. Problem solver methods a wonderful one. Especially when you're doing community stuff. Who's gone and talked to the community before about cancer or something else? You know that's problem solving. You don't go with a full presentation. You might say listen, I've done this for a number of times, and it seems to me people always have questions that are quite common. Let me answer the most common questions I run into. Question number one is this. Question number two is this. Question number three is this. Question number four is this. You identify ahead of time the problem people have and you answer them. I have a Master in Statistics before I got my Ph.D.
I used to teach statistics many times. You do a review session for graduate students about statistics, you know the problems they're gonna run into. And so rather reviewing the whole thing before the exam, you say listen, normally people have problems with these five things. Let's review these five things. It's a nice way of organizing presentations sometimes, just focus on the problems. Stage fright. How many of you had stage fright in your life? If you're not raising your hand you're either lying or there's something deeply wrong about you. Stage fright is absolutely normal. In fact it's the number two fear after snakes of Americans these days. Used to be number one. So have the same impact. All right? All right? But more people are afraid of snakes than of public speaking. But 41% of Americans say, public speaking, it's awful. Accept it as normal. We know how to help you get over your stage fright in some ways, by understanding what causes it. Number one, when you feel evaluated you'll feel more stage fright. Talking to your peers is often more nerve racking than talking to strangers. It's sometimes easier to talk to your bosses or your subordinates than is to your peers, because you're peers are evaluating you more.
You want to make somebody nervous? Say, I'm gonna be judging your presentation. One of the lines of one of my friends she likes to say, don't worry, you too can ruin your career by making this presentation right before somebody gets up. When you, job interviews are terribly evaluative situation. So when you can reduce the sense of evaluation by saying I actually know more than everyone else, it's better. Novelty. New things make us nervous. Familiar things make us less nervous. You're getting sued, they put you on the witness stand. If you have a good attorney what she'll do is take you to the courtroom the day before, have you sit in the witness box, have you sit in the jury box, give you some familiarity with the situation, because it makes you less nervous. New situations make us nervous. Clearly this is the most [unclear] on conspicuousness. Most the research on stage fright says the following now, people have great stage fright when they feel like they're conspicuous. When they feel like everyone's looking at you. Right now there are probably 220 plus or minus eyeballs looking at me. All right? If I begin to think that all of you are staring at me, I'm gonna start getting really nervous. You don't want the sense of conspicuous. Conspicuous leads to self-consciousness. Self-conscious leads to self-focusing. So you stop talking to your audience, and you start listening to yourself. In fact, the more you listen to yourself, the less effective you're gonna be as a presenter. Try this. Everyone say, How now brown cow.
How now brown cow.
Say it real fast.
How now brown cow.
Okay now feel your mouth, and tongue, and lip moving as you're saying it. Think about every word you're saying. It's messing you up isn't it? You can't do it in fact. The more you begin to think about yourself, the more tongue-tied you literally get. How do we see this many times? Stage shows, comedy shows. Who's been at a comedy place before in your life? Where do you never want to sit in a comedy place? Right up front. Why? Because they're gonna pick on you, aren't they? Immediately gonna pick on you. It's a real interesting discovery. Every good stand up comedian has some jokes that are guaranteed to work, and they always save them until they can use them on somebody up front. If nothing else is working, the audience is completely cold; they'll immediately jump into a joke about her. And what does everyone do? Every head cranes to look at her, and the comedians going, Ah, it's so relaxing. Why does, why do all these night time talk shows, Leno, Letterman, always have a side kick. Konan had way? What was Konan? Andy. Remember Andy Richter?
Why did Andy Richter ever exist? Why do they have bandleaders in these shows? Because what they do is they literally shift attention over to them to take the intensity away from them. So how do you use this notion conspicuousness to get rid of your stage fright? Talk to a person. Find somebody in the audience and say, who, whose taught before? Any of you had teaching experience here? Anybody have any teaching? If you teach you recognize there's always a head nodder in every room. There's always two people, three people always nod their head. Make them your best friend. all right? If you can't find no head nodders look at somebody and say, I'm gonna talk to her until she smiles. Smile at her. She doesn't want to smile. There she goes, she's smiling. Then you switch the rest, I'm gonna talk to him until he nods his head. He doesn't want to do it, but there he goes, I got him doing it. All right? What you're doing is you're literally shifting attention away from yourself over to the other person. How do we know there's another way? Watch presentations.
Most people are better at answering questions than making a presentation. They sound far better when they're answering the questions session than they do when they make the presentation. The reason why is when you're answering questions you're carrying a conversation with somebody, so you're only focused on them. When you make your presentation you forget that. You also can get rid of what we call inaccurate audience perceptions. What does that mean? A study done at Penn State many, many years ago, fascinating study. They took people with strong stage fright and people with kind of average stage fright, and they had them make presentations. But when they made the presentation afterwards they said listen; fill out this little questionnaire. And they asked them how nervous they thought they appeared. How effective they thought they'd done at a presentation?
They also asked audience members to rate the same characteristics of each speaker, how nervous they appeared, the speaker appeared, how comfortable the speaker was, and how good the presentation was. What they found is people with normal stage fright were relatively accurate in their perception of how they played out in front of the audience. People with high levels of stage fright were terribly inaccurate. They thought they looked a lot worse then they were really were. How many of you made a presentation before and your friends come up afterwards and said that was really good. You said, Oh, you're just being nice. It was an awful presentation. My hands were like shaking. They go, no, no it looked perfect. You said, I don't believe you. What happens is when you have stage fright you have inaccurate perception of the audience. Get more egotistical, think everyone loves you. Another thing, learn to cope with the arousal. Stage fright is just physiological arousal. You can call it lots of different things. Who likes roller coasters in here? Who enjoys roller coasters? Very good! Who, you like roller coaster a lot? What's your name?
Dawn. Okay. I've seen you before. Who does not like roller coasters in here? You know what your name is? Okay, let me show you what Dawn does every time she's gonna go, this gonna be great, I cannot wait, Oh, you ought to believe it. Seth's comparing notes. Jesse's six five. Hershey Park, Kinds Dominion, Fiesta Asteroid, the roller reached the apex, what do you do Dawn? YAHHH! Like this, right? I knew I'd seen you before. All right, Dawn will you do me one favor the next time you roller coaster, please? I want you to say one phrase for me three times. Words can't hurt, now can they? So I want you to put the bracelet on, start comparing notes. But as you approach the top, the apex of the roller coaster, I want you to say the phrase; I'm going to die! I'm going to die! I'm going to die! I want you to go on with a terminal fatigue and know what it means. Talk to an actual scientist: one in a million that one can happen.
Look at the person behind you and imagine getting sick. Understand the familiar work ROT has meaningful consequences if the roller coasters made out of wood. This sounds real doesn't it? You get close you say I'm gonna die, I could get sick, you gotta be kidding? But physiologically if you remember your basic physiology, fear and excitement isn't that much different. Both of you have butterflies in your tummy don't you? You say I'm excited. You say I'm getting sick. Both have sweaty palms. One of you go, Oh, God I might slip off. You go, better cool these palms off. Labeling is a very important skill when it comes to arousal. How you label something matters. Now one way of overcoming stage fright is say, this is not gonna be bad, this is gonna be exciting. It's hard to do, but people do it. And when you label it, I'm gonna have an impact, they're gonna listen to me. I'm gonna change the way they think about something, rather than I'm scared to death. You literally talk yourself into it. Also rigid rules.
Rigid rules is a very, who's had writers block before? Mike Rose has studied writes block for like 20 years. That's a long time to study anything I think. But he's like the worlds expert on writers block. He's discovered something. People with writers block know the rules, and the rules run them. They think they gotta have a perfect first sentence, so they spend hours looking for that perfect first sentence. If only I could get the right words. So they literally have wads of paper piled up around them. People without writers block know the rules, but they use the rules. That is, they know you should have a good first sentence, but they can't get it. They go and write other stuff and they come back to it. How many of you write research articles? How many of you start doing the methods first, then the results, then you get to the rational afterwards. It's because it's easier to do that first, right? And I think it's because it's very formulaic writing. What happens is you know you need to have a good introduction, but you can wait on that.
Let's get something done first. What happens is with people with stage fright have too many rules is what the research is showing also. They believe a perfect speech must have three points. There must be a joke at the beginning. No, not true! There's gotta be a closing. There's gotta be great slides. No, not necessarily. I give, I teach this. I give you permission to do anything that helps you communicate. Yes, you can put your hands in your pocket, it's okay. I give you permission. You can cross your arms like this, I give, I feel like the Pope right now. I give you permission. All right? You can do whatever it takes. You can move around the room if you want, that's okay. Anything that helps you communicate. But a lot of people with stage fright have a ridged rule. And by the way, when they validate that rule they get real nervous. Like, Oh my God! I only have two points. What am I gonna do? And they get nervous. Final thing in terms of stage fright is getting rid of potential problems. How many seen people who just are really stupid when they make a presentation. What do I mean by this? They don't think ahead of time what's gonna get them in trouble. Let me give you a few examples.
Who has a problem sometimes of blushing when they get nervous? They start getting red and splotchy, and it starts working it's way up like this. If you have that problem, once in a while do me a favor. From now on whenever you make a presentation wear either a scarf or a turtleneck. Okay? It's one of those simple things people don't think about. Don't wear tight clothes if you gesture a lot. Things can come undone in front of people. It's embarrassing. All right? What's another one? Who shakes a little bit when they make a presentation? When you're holding something you begin shaking a little bit. How many of you had that experience? Like this. All right? What's the answer? Don't hold it. Put it down. Well you say, I gotta be able to read it. What do I do? Buy a clipboard. Okay? A clipboard is that way. If that shakes bring a cinder block. All right? You see people don't think ahead of time what could get in my way. So if you need to read your notes make them big, don't make them smaller. How many of you seen people seen do, would try everything to fit on one little 3 by 5 index cards and they go like this. Make it giant if you have to. Think of what gets in your way and say; What could I do you sir?
How about the pointer?
I hate the pointer. Get rid of the pointer at all costs. Pointers are one of the worst things you could ever have in a presentation.
How about it in a large room?
Large room. Okay, if you're gonna. A screen could be huge, okay? You can use the screen to highlight things. What's the problem with this thing for most people? How many recognize you have any caffeine in the last six days you're gonna look bad with this thing. All right? What you gotta do is give up all caffeine if you're gonna use one of these for two days ahead of time. How many recognize this does nothing but make you a little bit nervous most of the time. And how many of you also understand people use the pointer as a crutch at this point. How many recognize some of these hold looks like a prayer book, I will never let it go. It's my. How many realize when they say any questions, Yeeehh. All right? All right. If you gotta use one make yourself good at it. You can use your slides as pointers. You can do things with slides, put arrows into your slides to highlight things. You use colors to do it.
Pointers are very; they're a crutch for most people. The other thing is people don't put them down. How many see people literally walk out of the room holding this? Who's been on a panel and guess what, the first person took the pointer away, and now everybody's trying to find out where it is. All right? You can use one, but you gotta be very careful with it. Trouble is, these are good for one thing, these kind. When you want to show patterns. If you want to say look how this area here compared to this area here, that's very good. But if you're just gonna point at words, people can read it in some ways and you can highlight stuff. Pointers often times add to nervousness, rather than make people down with it. Well how many remember those old pointers you could get they were like pens. They would expand if you kind of pull them out. Remember that thing? I saw a Lieutenant General in the Army, and this is true, I have a tape of this. I promised never to show it. Someday I will when he passes away, okay?But he's up there presenting to the Joint Chiefs of Staff, he has this pen and he keeps opening it and closing it, all right? And at one point he says, this is really exciting. This is some of the most interesting stuff. And the pointer grows in front of him as he talks about; it's really obscene.
All right? By the way, if you're gonna use a pointer that's made out of wood or something like that, what you want to do is what? Rest it on the screen if you can in a small room. When you rest it on the screen it almost always works better than when you try to hold far away, because it at least takes your nervousness away. Critical thing with a pointer, when you're done with it put it down. Don't carry it with you everywhere. Cause it becomes a nervous crutch very quickly. How many seen somebody walk like this, na, na, na, as they're talking. Okay. Then they kind of move like this, and you go, ah, I wonder when they're gonna hit me. Okay? Next can go for the eye, all right? Pointers are good for something's, but we use them too much in most cases. You can use the slides to have just the same impact.
All right? Next characteristic, how do you deliver your presentation? Almost every presentation has a very simple structure, an opening, the body, and a conclusion like you learn in 8th grade education with writing. Huh? Key thing about a good presentation is it bookends. How you begin is how you end. All right? You do a job talk, you do the introduction explaining stuff, ask a question, you end by saying, and we've answered the question this way. People get a sense of completion when you bookend. Introductions are key, why? People make a decision about you as a speaker within the first 30 seconds. So you want to make sure you have a great introduction ready for yourself or somebody else. If someone's giving, introducing you, couple ground rules. All right? You first want to meet the person.
How many of you gone to conference presentations before, and the present, the chair of the conference or the chair of the panel gets up and says, and now we have doctor such and such. Is doctor such and such here? And you say, Oh, it's me. I'm sorry. I forgot to tell. Always go up and meet the person ahead of time that way they at least know what you look like. You also want to make sure you understand how they're setting up the program. How many been in a program where the order is you're supposed to be the fourth speaker, but the first two have asked the presenter if they can go late, because they're gonna be running from another meeting. And you were planning to actually get your presentation done while the other three talked ahead of you. And they say, now it's your turn to get up. Bad move if you don't know that ahead of time. You also may want to have a prepared presentation. Let's take a case in point. Let's take this fellow right here. You're famous, right?
He's being famous in fact. All right? He's so famous that every time somebody calls on him to make a presentation he says, you need to talk to my assistant for scheduling. And then one thing his assistant does is say, well doctor such and such will be here to make a presentation, I'm gonna fax you or email you introduction. The more famous you get, the more you want to make sure there's a canned introduction for you. Something that you send ahead of time so people know how to introduce you. John Mendelsohn has a canned introduction, he used it ten times and it's always virtually the same introduction. The reason why is what? Two reasons. Number one, how many seen introducers take up too much time? They introduce you and say, let me tell you the whole history of this person, and they go for like 45 minutes. You only had 50 minutes the first case. But even worse than that, sometimes introducers trap you. They talk about what you're gonna be talking about, and that wasn't what you planned to talk about. Then we have John Mendelsohn here talking about corporate greed. All right? He wasn't planning; he was talking about cancer research. Now what the hell is gonna do?
What happens is if you don't know what the presenters gonna introduce you as you're stuck. So every politician has a canned introduction done. All right, now, once you do it you want to have an opening. A couple of things you want in the opening given the time. First, don't apologize for being dumb and stupid. How many heard presenters going up and saying, all of you are much smarter than me, but I want you to listen to me any way. Why do that? If you're the expert you've been asked to talk. You supposedly know more than most the audience. Secondly, don't over promise. Today you're gonna learn more than you've learned in your entire lives. That's really dumb. And thirdly, never be cowered by the audience. Never be too impressed by the audience. You go to a university to make a job talk and there's some world famous people sitting in the room, guess what? You're gonna be their colleague in six months time, forget it, don't be impressed by them. All right? They're just like you in many ways. How many seen somebody too impressed by the audience and it really gets in the way of their presentation?
All right? Now once you're making your presentation, key, have a point. Have something you want people to remember that you can summarize very briefly. In the technology world they call this the elevator speech. The elevator speech is a wonderful concept. Who would like to get filthy rich here? Two of you, that's it? Okay. Your name is sir? Chino? Okay, Chino has this brilliant idea. It is an idea that can make him wealthier than Bill Gates and Michael Bell combined. All right? You like this idea, okay? Trouble is no venture guy will give you any money. Tough! But you know it's a great idea. One day you're visiting this fellow here in this high-rise office building, he's on the 18th floor. You get off; you're getting on the elevator to visit with him. You get on the elevator, the elevator doors about ready to close when Mr. Venture Capitalist gets on the elevator with bag fulls of money in both arms. He's getting off on the 5th floor. Question, could you explain your idea succinctly enough, persuasively enough, and informative enough that he would say, why don't you get off and talk to me some more by the time he got to the fifth floor.
You've gotta be able to communicate your idea very, very briefly. How many of you look at abstracts in journal articles sometimes? How many recognize most people do not write good abstracts. What do you want in abstracts? You want the result, don't you? You want the elevator pitch. You want the point of the article. How many seen people try to make an abstract of seduction by refusing to reveal what they found? All right? Drives you nuts, doesn't it? What we know is you want the point right away. Always know what the point it. If somebody said, what's your presentation going to be about? Can you summarize it in a conversation at a social gathering in less than a minute's time? That helps you understand. Now when you're doing that you gotta know there are three circles in any presentation. One circle is a very small circle, what people must know if they walk out of this room.
Second circle of things they should know, nice to know, ought to know, but are not essential. And finally, nice to know. How many of you see people spend too much time in the nice to know and not enough time in the must know? For anything you're talking about, what is critical? Who's had to write a journal article before and you're told you have a very limited page space. You can only do it in four pages, that's it. You gotta figure out what the must to know is, isn't it? If you say you have 40 pages you can fill it in, but the 4 pages summarize the must know. Same thing when you're presenting. You also want, and when you're doing your presentation chunk your material. Chunk, like chunky tuna. Chunky pineapple. Put it in units that people can remember. What's your telephone number at work? Your telephone number at work?
So what's telephone number at work?
The section. Okay, what's your telephone number?
How many numbers are they giving me with one exception? How many numbers?
Three numbers. They give me a three digit number, a three digit number, and a four digit number. Aren't they? Why do they have dashed in a telephone number? Ever wondered why? In fact, sometime when you're rally board call the operator up and say I have a problem. They'll say what's wrong. Say I can't find the dash on the telephone pad anywhere. How do I dial the dash? Why do they have dashes in telephone number? To help you remember. Guy named George Miller who's just retiring from Princeton did this research for AT&T many years ago. He found it was hard for people to remember 7 numbers much less 10 numbers. But if you put a dash or space in them, or something, a decimal point, it's easy for people to remember. How many of you use cell phones sometimes? Who uses cell phones sometimes? How many of you use a cell phone when you're driving? All right? All many face the ultimate decision when you're driving with the cell phone.
You're listening to your messages here. Somebody says you need to call such and such. How many of you face the question, should you try to drive with your knee as you write the number down in your pad? I just saved your lives. The area code is almost incredibly easy. All you need to remember is 7 numbers. And if you try to remember a 3 digit number and a 4 digit number it's almost always easy to remember, isn't it? Well good speakers do the same thing; they chunk their materials. Now research tells us in most cultures people seem to remember in 3's. I'm not sure there's all sorts of actual reasons why. No need to have to get into it, but people tend to think in terms of 3's. One study was done a few years ago, looked at state of union messages in parliamentary speeches in Britain. And they looked at applause patterns. What they found was this, if a speaker said A and B there was seldom applause.
If they said A, B, C, And D, there was almost always applause that interrupted the fourth point. And oddly enough these researchers actually measured the amount of time it took from hands to go from lap to applauding. So they understood that what people do is they always think A, B, and C is the ending. So if you can, think in terms of 3's some of the research suggests. Other ways of doing organizing cues we can talk about later on. You also want to be redundant when you're giving a good presentation. What does redundancy mean? You want to say it in lots of different ways. Different people think differently. Visually by their nature are highly redundant. Examples are redundant. Case studies are redundant. Now we know redundancy is important. Now in U.K. redundancy mean laid off. Okay? But we're talking about different repetition saying it in different ways.
Two ground rules for redundancy to remember. Number one, whenever you're explaining a concept to somebody always give them at least two examples. Never give people one example, always give them two examples. Why? Otherwise they're likely to confuse your example with your concept. I'm teaching to a group of high school students the notion of the lever and the fulcrum. How many remember that in high school physics, lever and fulcrum? I show you somebody on a farm lifting a rock up using a lever and fulcrum. What does kids say? Oh, I know what a lever and fulcrum is, it's a piece of farming equipment. No. No. No. I then show you a teeter-totter or a seesaw on a playground I say that's also a lever and fulcrum. Now do you begin to understand? Smart people always give people at least two examples. Go back to high school math. How many remember word problems? Remember word problems? One train is going 50 miles this way, the other going 20 miles this way, one they're actually run into, actually pass each other?
How many remember this? How many of you like those kinds of problems? Sick, sick human beings. How many of you despise those problems with a passion? A few normal human beings here. Very good! Never understand, they never told you to do one though did they? They said do all the odd ones or all the even ones. Why did they do that? First, because the answers to the other were in the back of the book, but the other reason was this, if you just did one you might confuse the example with the concept. But when you give people a couple of examples they begin to understand what you're talking about. Second thing, beware of something researchers called seductive details. I got, U.C. Santa Barbara's discovered this. Seductive details is what he calls this. Let me give you an example of this. How many seen people go PowerPoint crazy before? You know the words come from the top, the middle, the bottom, the center, okay? There are weird sound affects like a bad second World War movie. Bang, eyeee, oh. All right? There's beautiful pictures of cattles in the background. He calls these seductive details, why?
They're really interesting, but they have absolutely nothing to do with the presentation. How many of you so bored in a presentation before, some words are coming from every direction. You take out a dollar, dollar, lay it down to the person next to you, say I'll be a dollar word comes from the top, you get to the bottom, let's see who wins this ball? You see they're distracting, aren't they? They're interesting, but they're irrelevant to the presentation. What's another example? High school teachers. How many had some high school teachers that were truly burned out human beings? I had a geometry teacher like this. Okay, she was supposed to teach geometry, but every so often she'd just, she'd just drop into stories of her family, her husband without a job, her daughter on drugs, or something, son going in the Marine Corp, auto accident. To this day I don't remember anything about geometry, but I remember her drama of her life.
You see it's really, they're really interesting, but they have nothing to do with the presentation. How many seen somebody do a case presentation and they very often get to some very interesting things that are irrelevant to the case? But you remember the weird things, and you forget the relevant things, don't you? Stay on topic in short. Perceived confidence leads to perceived competence. We talked about that briefly in the beginning. Let me show you what the research suggests makes you sound more confident. First you want to use intense language. You want to use intense language. Now I'm not talking about extremely intense, but if I like this room I say, I think this is a great room. I say it's an okay room. Does that tell you I'm confident in this? I want to say what? It's a great room. It's a wonderful room. It's a nice room. It's a pretty room. If I say it's an okay room, it's a big deal. If I don't like the room I say, yeah it's kind of ugly. I say, no it's disgusting.
You get my attention, don't you? What we know is intensity sounds confident. Now can you boomerang? Absolute you can boomerang. You can go so overboard that people think you're a joke. The reality is most of us aren't even close to going overboard. All right? So for example, the new, you're starting a new grant project and you say, this grant project has lots of potential. What could you say a little bit more intense? Not extremely intense, but what would be a little bit more intense? Has tremendous potential? Might be too intense, but that's a good one. What's another one? Special? Substantial potential. Okay? Substantial. [unclear] around here some substantial potential. All right? Has extra potential. We buy it more when we hear that, don't we? Then it's okay. You have somebody working here as a technician. You say his skills are adequate. You just damned him, haven't you? If you have a great technician what do you want to say? His skills are what?
Outstanding. You understand that. We understand you gotta use intensity. Now you can go overboard, but guess what? Most of us don't get close to it. Secondly, strong qualifiers. Read this thing in the green. The new plan is one I think we might explore. Some things that could make it possibly successful. You buying that plan? How do we make it stronger? What can I do to make it stronger?
I will drop the, look at the first sentence. What can we do on the first sentence? Yes mam?
The new plan is one we must explore. Get rid of, I think, and get rid of the word might. Right? What kind of plan is it? This innovative plan? Okay. Or this, this exciting new plan is one we must explore? You add a qualifier to get peoples attention. How about this? It has some things that could possibly make it somewhat successful? Blah. Now you say, wait a movement; I'm a scientist at heart. And scientists to talk this way. They actually do talk this way, and it's okay if you're talking to other scientists that talk this way. How may remember, nothing ever gets confirmed, we'll never know anything for sure. Remember this? You can do that with your buddies. All right? Because they will understand you actually are very intense by saying I have no idea what's gonna happen, but perhaps this might happen some day.
All right? But when you're not talking to your buddies you want to have more, more, more qualifiers, right? When you're talking to the public, all right, you want to. You're writing a, who's done graph reviews before? How many remember grant reviews can sometimes sound like this, and you don't buy it. Good grant writing often times has much stronger stuff in it sometimes. Even though everyone understands it's all conditional, you gotta sound like you believe it, don't you? Third thing: lexicon diversity. You learn this when you're in third grade. How many remember they told you when you wrote an essay you can never word the twice in the, it's the word twice the same paragraph? Same thing with good speakers. Good speakers know they're smart, because they have a lot of thesauruses in their heads. When you're an expert at something you can use a lot of different words to describe the same phenomenon. So what's another word for cancer? Tumor. What's another one? Malignancy. What's another one? Neoplasm.
What happens is when you're an expert you have that down. That's how I know you're an expert. If you, for example, what's another word for problem? Try this. What's another word for problem? We are facing a problem at M.D. Anderson. What's another word for problem? Difficulty. What's another one? Challenge. Dilemma. What's another one? Quandary. What? Trouble. Trouble, we're facing trouble. What's another one? Issue. What's another one? Crisis. Good I like that. All right? Don't do opportunity, that's just disgusting. All right? All right? But you know if we have a problem, we have a problem, we have a problem, we have a problem; that's boring. We have a problem. We have an issue. We have a challenge. We have a, do some trouble. People pay more attention, don't they? You gotta be able to use multiple words. Forth, vivid details.
Who served on a jury here before? Any of you serve on a jury before? All right. We got three witnesses come up. Witness number ones say the car drove past the stop sign. Witness two says the red car drove past the stop sign. Witness three says the red sports car drove past the stop sign. Who do you believe most, one, two, or three? Three. People believe people who have more details. Not a thousand details, but enough to say this person knows what they're talking about. Detail matter. Also, vivid details especially matter. Little mind exercise. Witness number one says the red car drove past the stop sign. How fast was that red car driving? Give me a number, estimate. The red car drove past the stop sign. How fast was it going? Okay. Now I say the red sports car sped past the stop sign. How fast was it going this time? A lot more. By the way both are admissible in trials, it's worth about 8 million dollars in liability.
Plaintiff always says as that red sports car sped past that stop sign. And defense always says, as that car went by that stop sign, because it shapes jury perceptions. The way they demonstrated this is a fascinating study. And women named Elizabeth Loftis who is now at U.C. Irvine did this. Originally she was at Washington when, Seattle. She created an accident for people. She literally got people in a community set up bleachers, brought these people, paid them to come watch a lecture supposedly it's gonna be outside. And while the person was lecturing she had two stunt drivers literally run into each other like this. All right? She went over there says, Oh God the streets are just going down hill in Seattle. All right? Then she went on with her discussion for the half hour. Okay? And then says you can leave now and fill out this questionnaire about this lecture. Three months later, six months later, nine months later, a year later she called up different people who were in the stands and asked them either as that car drove past the stop sign how fast was it going? Or as that red sports car sped past the stop sign how fast was it going? She found there was like a 20 some mile an hour difference in estimates, even though all of them actually seen the accident.
Language has consequence, doesn't it? And powerful people know how to use language to be consequential. Make declarations. In 1962, Martin Luther King gave a great speech in Washington D.C. His speech was titled, was titled, but everyone remembers what he said, I have a dream. I remember that speech, I have a dream. A brilliant speech. One that goes down in history. It's a great speech. He didn't get up and say, I have a strategic plan that will enhance the competitive opportunities for the next two quarters. He said, I have a dream. And he made a declaration. Confident people make a declaration. How many of you do clinical work here? Any of you clinical people here? Docs who are good clinicians make declarations, don't they? You'll be fine. Take this. Now they know there are side affects. They know their weird interactions. But you go to your doctor, for example, and he says, here I want you to take this.
By the way I want you to know out of 1 out of every 10,000 people get polka dots all over their body. One out of 200 million people will actually explode right now. You don't want you doctor to do that. You want to say take it you'll be fine in 3 days time. It's okay. Actually, oddly enough, a measure of competence and confidence is your willingness to make the declaration. How many doing, how many of you been doing your business long enough you look at something and say it'll work. It's fine. And that ability is a measure of expertise when you think about it. Isn't it? When you're insecure about your knowledge that's when you have a lot of these commas and pauses and punctuations. You never know what might happen, but this might happen if this happens. All right? When you know your research very well you can answer it with great confidence, which means you can make a declaration. Next characteristic, use powerful metaphors. I have an assignment for you. How many of you been in meetings before in your life and somebody uses the perfect metaphor. And people will go, yeah, you're right. Metaphors are one of the most powerful forms we have of good communication. And when we know good speakers do it they literally collect metaphors. Home, I'm a professor I gotta give you homework. Your homework for next year is every time you see a great metaphor write it down.
Every time you read a great metaphor write it down. Keep a set of index cards of metaphors. The next time you go into a meeting and you think you really want to be persuasive or impactful, study 2 or 3 of those metaphors that might be relevant and plan to use them in the meeting. How many see people use a metaphor and people go, Wow, Exactly. They get it. Metaphors are things speakers use. You go to a high fluting banquet of top people in any part of this world, all right. A speakers up there giving a great speech. He uses a wonderful metaphor. Half the audience will take their pens out, write the metaphor down, stick the envelope in their pocket, and that'll be the metaphor for the industry for the next two years. Why? We all think metaphorically, don't we? Steve Roach [phonetic] is Chief Economist at Morgan Stanley. Describing the kind of dot com problem over the last few years said, we've gone from boom to bust faster than anytime since the auto shock. When you screech to a halt like that it feels like getting thrown through a windshield, splat!
How many of you get the intensity of quickly the economy stopped a few years ago? How about this? In the experience of going through an in-depth audit by the IRS is an autopsy without the benefit of death. All right? I was at another university recently, actually a research center in New York, okay. Cancer research center, in fact. And one guy who was the administrator there was just doing a lousy job. And this guy said there's a simple rule in our business of administration; when you're in a hole, stop digging! How many recognize that communicates brilliantly the guys problem. All right? Much better than saying well he gets himself consistently in trouble. Great metaphors can be incredibly packed full. Sounding organized works as well. Interesting. If you sound organized people believe you have substance even when you don't. One of the more interesting discoveries. I've got three points I want you to remember now. Three points. Okay? A, B, and C. Let's go to A first. Under A there are gonna be 2 sub points, 1 and 2. Now we're moving to B, there are 3 sub points, 1, 2 and 3. And now we're moving to C, there's actually gonna be 4 sub points, 1, 2, 3, and 4. Please remember those three points, A, B, and C, and each of those sub points. Some of you started taking notes for just a second; it was really weird.
There was no content there whatsoever. But it sounded like I had substance, didn't it? It's a good trick good speakers know, always use highlighting points, A, B, C, 1, 2, 3, first, second, third. People pay more attention in those cases. Footnote though, never name the number of points before you do them. How many been in that situation? There are three points I want to make. Number one is, number two is. What the hell was number three, I don't remember. My favorite one though is when somebody's really bright they say I have 3 points I want to make, A, B, C, and Oh, by the way there's D as well. All right? What you should do is say I have a few points I want to make, first, second, third. Those are the three things I want you to remember. How many of you took lecture classes in college? Lecture classes were either the best or the worst classes and it all came down to organization. If the teacher was highly organized, if the notes flowed perfectly, you thought this was a great class. If the teacher seemed to ramble and not be organized and you couldn't figure out what to take down that was the worst class you took.
It wasn't the content, it was sounding organized that made the difference. All right? Another thing, nonverbally. What can you do nonverbally to sound more confident? A couple of things seem to be particularly important. One is gesturing. I want to free you today. All of you can start using more gestures; it's okay. It would actually make you sound more powerful. How many remember Al Gore? How many remember Al Gore? You remember Al Gore? Some of you remember Al Gore, okay? What was that joke when he got to the White House. Here's where the secrete service guy and Al Gore. Secret service guys animated. All right? By the time he ran for president in the year 2000, how many remember Al Gore became a reasonable one, not great, but a reasonable speaker. You know why? He had had three gestures here to learn, this one, this one, and this one. He was working on his forth one. All right? But what happens is when you use gestures you sound more powerful. Free yourself; it's okay to use gestures it makes you more powerful. Oddly enough people remember more of what you say that is accompanied by gestures. Now the thing is the gesture has to be real, you can't go like, like this. You gotta just let it go naturally. Second thing, use your voice to be powerful, vocal variety.
Pausing and punching seems to be absolutely key. Bill Clinton. How many remember Bill Clinton? Like him or not, how may of you admit Bill Clinton was a hell of a speaker? You know why, he's the master of the pause. He gets up and says, America I want you to know I'm not that horny. All right? He doesn't get up and say, America I want you to know I'm not that horny. He has pauses. George Bush meets Bill Clinton six weeks after George Bush is elected president. And George Bush says what's the secret of speaking? And Clinton says simply, master the pause. How many of you think George Bush does a better job of speaking now, some of the time at least, than he used to? He used to pause like in the middle of one syllable words. Okay? All right? Now at least he pause where the periods are. Right? Pausing makes you powerful. How many of you had to fake like you were concerned before in your life. How do you fake your concern? You pause more, don't you? It makes you seem more reflective.
Secondly, learn to punch your words as well. What is punching? It means like underlining, italicizing. James Earl Jones, Charlton Heston, how many think one of them is the voice of God? Okay, they are? How many think that's true? why? Because not only do they have a deep voice, but you know what, they also know who to punch their words. Their words are underlined. You can feel the italics when they talk. All right? It's a very powerful thing. Deep voices are better by the way. Who does not have a deep voice? Well if you want to get a deeper voice you can either have a surgical operation, which I don't recommend. Okay? Or you know what you can do? Just lower you neck about 5 degrees when you talk, you'll get about 10 degrees deeper at that moment. Now I'm not talking like, talk, don't talk like this. That would be really sick and weird. All right? But do me a favor, everybody put your eyes up here and look at the ceiling and start saying, here's the goal, when I say go you want to start saying the alphabet. A when you're up here, Z your chin should be touching your chin. Okay, everyone look up, start at the beginning. A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I, J, K, L, how many recognize when you constrict it you begin getting deeper, don't you? What does that mean? Who was? Let's take a case.
Who has a high voice and is short simultaneously? Any of you short here? Who's under five foot five in the room? You have a high voice or a low voice? I used to, it's high. Trust me. Here's something to remember. When you get up, anytime you're doing this, first make sure you know the podium size. Because you never want to be like this: "Hi there everyone!". What you want to do is actually lower the podium so it's literally below you in some ways. Then what you want to do is actually have to talk down to the podium slightly. It'll give you a deeper voice almost instantaneously. Not massively so, but somewhat. Using humor, trust me, you're not funny. Just get rid of it. All right? The way I demonstrate this where I teach this to larger groups and smaller groups is I show them a bunch of cartoons and say tell me what the lines are. And most people come up with really. In fact, what makes them humorous is how stupid the lines are they use. Now if you're gonna use humor let me tell you a couple of things. Don't use planned humor. Most speakers don't use jokes. What they do is something funny happens they enjoy it like everyone else. I don't have a stand up routine, you're not stand up comedians, you're professionals. But if something funny happens bring it up.
Never use humor to embarrass people. Don't laugh at them; laugh beside them and with them. All right. Be careful. Interculturally what is humorous in one culture is not humorous in another culture. All right? How many of you understand sometimes you just don't, who's not from the U.S. culture originally? How many recognize you watch something's on TV you don't understand why it's even funny. It makes no sense to you. All right? So if you're doing an international audience humor is especially difficult. Make sure the humor's also relevant. Don't just say, oh I heard a great joke recently. That gets in the way. Now how do you make sure the audience wants to listen to you? Three questions that the audience wants to know. Are you talking to me about something that's important to me? And do you know anything I need to know? That's why I want credibility. I want you to talk to me and be credible and help me out with something. How do you do that? Big one.
Always sell the benefit first. Somebody do me a favor; describe this cup right here? Describe this cup. Describe this cup. It's made out of what? Plastic. It's shaped as what? Cylinder. Has an opening on the top, closing on the bottom. Right? Holds maybe 8 ounces, huh? No one bought this cup for any of these reasons. Why did I buy this cup? Not even water. Why did I really buy? I'm thirsty. I'm thirsty. I wanted to quench my thirst in a tasty and portable fashion. That's why I bought it. I don't care what's plastic or glass. I don't care, for example, 8 ounces, or 10 ounces, or 9 ounces. I don't really care whether it's cylindrical or a square box. I don't care. I don't care if the openings on the top or kind of on the side a little bit. I don't care whether it's clear or opaque. It doesn't matter to me. All I want to do is have something I can quench my thirst with in a portable fashion. Quenching thirst in a portable fashion is the benefit. That's what I want. The features are it's plastic; it's clear, it's 8 ounces. Here's the mistake a like of people make. They get up to make a presentation and they say what I have here is a piece of plastic shaped cylindrically. It holds 8 ounces and it's clear. And what do people do? Who cares? What does a smart presenter do? How many of you are thirsty?
How many of you like to quench your thirst in a portable and tasty fashion in a kind of classy looking glass when you think about it? Now I'm interested, how do we do it? Well here's what I have for you. You always want to get the benefit sold first. And once people like the benefit then you tell them the features. The mistake many people make they drop into the features too soon. Now let's be clear about this. It depends upon one thing. It depends how involved people are in what you're talking about. How do you involve people want both benefits as well as features? Uninvolved people all they want is what? Benefits! You got to consciously assess this. You have a research idea you want to talk about. And you're invited to go see Mendelsohn for five minutes. You go too much in detail, he'll say that sounds really good, go back and do it and I'll see you in 20 years time. All right? If you say, Doctor Mendelsohn, this will get us 50 million dollars in grants probably. How many recognize now he says tell me more. Cause you told him the benefit first, and then he's interested in the features. You see this on TV, car ads on television. What happens in the car ads many times? What do you see? You see this car go on by hill and dale, through dusty desserts, through slushy mountaintops covered in snow. And the last seen the car is always perfectly clean.
Does that bother any of you? In fact, next time you buy a car go to the dealer and say I want one of those self cleaning cars you show on TV. Cause you don't care. Now when you decide to buy a car, now you're interested in the features, miles per gallon, repair rates, aren't you? So when people aren't involved, just the benefits. That means what? You're talking to a community group, don't go into features too much. You're talking to an academic group of researchers you probably want to go deep into feature, don't you? But only that academic group knows what you're talking about already. Next characteristic. You also want to understand that you want to be a storyteller. [unclear] discoveries. How many of you been around some very successful people in your life? You'll find that every successful person you run into is a storyteller. You almost never see somebody who's not a storyteller that's been really successful. Great teachers are storytellers; great physicians are storytellers, by the way. All right? Great scientists are storytellers. Why? Because we are our stories. How many of you have families? Damn, what are the rest of you pod people? I mean how many of you have families? What's a family? A family is nothing more, and certainly nothing less than a collection of stories.
Have you thought about this? Your inheritance to your children won't be money, you land, you're working in academic medicine. Okay? Give it up. All right? The real gift you're really gonna give your kids is a set of stories. That's the ultimate inheritance. Have you thought about that? How many of you remember family stories your parents told you even to this day? How many remember their great grandmother measured everything by pinches, never used a measuring spoon, but always got it right. How about that great uncle who lost the families fortune, and that's why you have to work today. See families know, a lot of you have that uncle around the world. All right? It connects us. You don't belong to an organization either until you know the stories. Who's relatively new at M. D. Anderson? Who's relatively recent here? They take you out to lunch one day, a group of people you're working with. They all sit around saying, do you remember that, you're going he, he, he, cause you have no idea what they're talking about. If you want to build a research team one thing we've discovered is you gotta build around a set of stories.
Until there're a bunch of stores you don't have any sense of team comradery. And those stories lasts for long periods of time. How many of you went to graduate school and medical school with a group of people. You get together once a year at a conference. How do you know you belong? You say, do you remember when that happened? That was so funny. That's how you're connected. Good speakers are also storytellers. People listen when you tell a story. Now a story doesn't have to go for long, but a story has to have impact. Structurally here's what a story looks like generally speaking. You create a setting, offer some characters, the characters face an obstacle, the obstacle has to be overcome, and there's a point to overcoming the obstacle. How many recognize cancer stories. That's what every one of them does in some way matter or form. How do you tell a story? Couple of things. First, make sure your story has a point. How many you know people and you cannot figure out what the hell the point of the story is? It seems good, but there's no point to it.
Secondly, it needs to be told quickly. How many know people tell stories, but they go on for to darn long. Thirdly, and most importantly, people need to sense you care about the story. How many recognize if you're going to be successful in your professions you need to be a good actor sometimes around stories. Cause you tell the same story over and over again, but you know what, every time people got to perceive you really mean it. Fourthly, it's gotta be inclusive. Vivid details also help. You don't have to make a story long to give it details, but people get it when you tell a story. It's got a basic value, identify basic values. By the way, how do I find a story? How many of you have any values? One person. Two of you. Okay. If you have any values that you deeply believe in there's a story behind it. You say, how do these guys always find the right story? Because they think of the values. Who deeply believes in honesty, for example. All right? Some of you, you know why you believe? I know why you believe in honesty? You once either A were a pathological liar in high school. That needs to be entertained. Right?
The other option is this. The option is you once saw dishonesty happen and you saw the consequences, and thus you have a story right there. What we know is people, by the way you don't think stories are important. How may remember a man named Fleming, amazing medical story, how many remember a guy named Fleming, 1930's? What was Fleming famous for? Penicillin. How many you remember your medical history about Fleming though? Interesting sidelight, ever remembers Fleming, why does everyone remember Fleming? What's the story about Fleming? He didn't clean his lab dishes. Bad lab management, right? He comes in Monday morning, notes the fungi and bacteria don't want to be next to each other so to speak. Right? And he says, I wonder why? How many of you heard that story? Major discovery in medicine. Right? You learn that over and over again. Observe little things that might have big impact. Go back to history for a moment. Do you know any history of Fleming? Then you know he stopped researching after about 3 years time. He published 4 or 5 articles up, but that's about it.
A guy named Flura actually spent the next 10 years studying it. Flura published close to 70 articles on the whole issue of antibiotics and penicillin. Flura wanted to know about antibiotics along with Fleming in 1943. Interesting, no one remember Flura ever remembers Fleming. Flura did all the real work on the thing. Fleming though had the story. The story wins out over the data in many cases. How many have seen that happen before? All right? By the way, a good story also, by the way, has to be personal. They have to be owned. One of my assignments is to collect stories. Now you say, wait a minute John; I can't do that. I can't tell stories. It's impossible to tell stories. I can't do it. What can you do instead? Collect interesting factoids instead. Good speakers do something if they can't tell stories. They have little interesting facts. Give you an example I turned to both a story and a fact simultaneously. I was doing some work with a company years ago, Goldman Sacks and investment firm. And the guy said I want some stuff on research teams and analyst business.
I'm wanting to be more of a time. I said, sure I could try to help out. He says, do you know, and he paused, say John we're already a team though to come to think of it. I said, of course you are. He says, you really don't understand what I mean though. And I said, what do you mean? He says, well, he looked at me and asked, do you know what the Sequoia Tree is. How many know what the Sequoia Tree is. What makes the Sequoia Tree interesting? Anyone know what makes it interesting? Is what? It's the tallest tree in the world. Some people think the Cuban Palm is taller, but it's clearly one of the tallest trees in the world. How many know it's the tall tree? Right? Sequoia Tree, Redwood. What else makes it interesting? I knew that. What else makes it interesting? It's the oldest tree in the world historically. No one actually knows it's real life span. I knew that. He said, no that's not what makes it interesting. Anyone know what makes it real interesting? For its size it has the shallowest root structure of any tree in the universe.
All right? Oak tree will be this tall, roots this deep. Sequoia tree will go beyond the ceiling; roots will be this deep. I said I didn't know that. I began to think for a moment and I said, well wait a moment then, if it's the shallowest root structure in the world and the tallest tree, how the hell does it stay up? He says, ah, that's what makes it interesting. How does it stay up? You know, anyone know how it stays up? Yeah, very good. They go out almost 2 miles those roots. All right? And in they all connect with other roots of other Sequoia Trees, and literally they all hold each other up. This cantilever in a way structure is an incredibly powerful structure for support, isn't it? And they said, you know that's what makes it stand - literally each tree holds up every other tree in the strand. You will never see one by itself. I said that's interesting. He says, yeah like Goldman. He says at Goldman we have bankers, traders, brokers, arbitrage guys, they all look different, but we know something, we all need each other.
Any one of us needs all the other people to support us; we're small. I said that's interesting. He says, now think John, what if any one tree gets sick in that strand, though. If all the roots are interconnected what happens? They all get sick, because they catch it from each other through the roots, don't they? He says, we're only as good as our weakest partner. Now he could have simply said, we're only as good as our weakest partner we depend upon each other, but how many of you that factoid the Sequoia Tree sticks in your mind a whole bunch better? If you can't collect stories collect interesting factoids. How many of you like somebody who can almost talk with a footnote every so often. They give you little facts you didn't know before, and you go that's interesting. Now you don't want to be like Cliff on Cheers, that's a little bit too much. All right? But you want to have a couple of facts that you can use. Start collecting those things. Now, one last thing before we talk about visual aids. We're finished up by talking about visual aids, but one last thing.
You guys do science. You need to use evidence to make your presentation. What do we know about evidence to be effective? A couple of rules. First it's got to be relevant. Data that's not relevant, if I can't see why it's relevant it's not gonna matter. If I say, for example, the maximum likely estimate was not; estimator was non-significant, does the model fit. How many of you know what the hell I'm talking about even? Any idea of what I'm talking about here? If you do regression with kind of a confirmatory kind of structure, okay, that's what I was talking about. But if you don't understand it it's not relevant is it? And it's got to be believable to have somebody to have impact. Most importantly, evidence has to be new to have impact. If people heard it before it has no impact. Question, what's the warning sign on cigarette packs say? Warning, cigarette smoking may be what?
Who said hazardous to your health? You're older than you look. That hasn't been on for almost 12 years. First thing Surgeon General Coop [phonetic] did when he got into office was look at the evidence on cigarette packs, and he discovered something. Everyone had that memorized; therefore it had no impact on anyone. Now they have 4 different warning signs on cigarette packs randomly assigned to try to get peoples attention. You see this in your community swimming pool. How many been in your community swimming pool. There's a no diving sign right there. How many see people stand right on the sign and dive right off? If you lived there all your life, you see the sign over and over again; you learn to ignore it. That's why ads on TV change so quickly. You like the ad on TV, you watch it one time, second time you want to tape it, third time you call your neighbors, it's on right now Channel 12, tenth time you go to the bathroom or kitchen.
You are always hunting for new evidence. If people have heard it before it has no impact on them. Constantly hunt for new evidence. That's why, how many of you do a pharmaceutical rep sometimes? They always gotta come with a new study. Cause if you heard the study before, I've read that all ready. No big deal. So they're constantly looking for what? New evidence to convince you of things. All right? The evidence should be vivid also. Vivid evidence has impact on people. Factoids that are vivid are really quite interesting. If we were 99.9% right, what's the consequence? What is having .1% error rate mean? It means the equivalent of what? Five planes would crash every day, 2 million documents will be lost by IRS, 81,040 rolls of 35mm film will be loaded this year, 20,000 check will be deducted form the wrong bank account in the next 60 minutes, 1,200 phone calls will be misdirected every minute, 12 babies will be given to the wrong parent every day, and 18,000 pieces of mail will be mishandled in the next hour.
How many of that vivid example has some impact, doesn't it? Now you see this .1% error rate is actually a serious error rate. Its evidence that people can understand as you're going along. Okay. Using visual aids. People always like talking about visual aids. Let's talk about what we know about visual aids. First of all the key thing is they're aids, they are not your presentation. They are aids; they are not your presentation. You should be able to do your presentation with not visual aids whatsoever. What do we want to do? The visual aids are very useful when you're giving data. Something that's visual is to require as a visual aid. So do me a favor somebody? Who's sitting next to somebody they know? You know somebody? Who's sitting next to you? Who do you know? All right, look at her and describe her face to me would you please?
She is wearing glasses.
It's oval. She's wearing glasses. You can't. How many think a picture would look a whole bunch better? If I want to describe her to show you a picture people get it, don't they? Some things cry out for visuals, some things don't. How many of you like maps on how to get places? A map is a visual. It' helps you understand. Try doing anatomy lessons without any diagrams. It would be very hard to do, wouldn't it? On the other one you get a diagram you begin to understand something. Try describing chemicals without any diagrams. It's hard to do. Visuals, sometimes, are essential for understanding. What do we know about visuals? First thing, a very important one. Every time you do a visual turn the visual from data into information. Let's suppose you do a study and you have a scatter plot of your data, and it's a correlation. Rather than saying what? A is related to B, okay; you might want to say, you know, more information about that. As people age, their instance of this increase. How many giving information makes people look at the slide differently?
Turn data into information when you're doing that. You can use progressive slides and guide people to the main point. Here's one. Challenges we face. We lost 3% of our market share last year, stock prices down 7%, custom complaints up by 14%, retention to key people is down by 5%. It's kind of boring. How about this? We're in serious trouble. Headlines. Information. Right? All right? We lots 3% of our market share, note the red. Okay? Our stock price is down by 7%. Okay? Customer complaints up by 14%. Retention of key people is down by 5%. That's the simple of it. Remember what I said about using pointers. See I'm using colors and animation to do the same thing. All right. When you're doing that here's a kind of nifty graft when you're presenting data. People put this together a few years ago. What kind of data you're presenting shapes the kind of slide you want to use visually. If you're showing components, a pie chart works wonderfully. If you're showing, for example, correlations a scatter graph works well. If you're showing frequencies a line works well, a column works well. Often time's people have a difficult time figuring out what to present their data as. You can use this as a methodology. Now, all right, I'm gonna give you, you skip over the rules, you can look at them.
A couple of things you want to do to make your visuals more effective. First, paginate everything. How many of you noticed all my slides have page numbers on them? How many of you used that as I skipped over slides already in your notes. It's easier. Right? You can say, oh he's moved to 62. Now you look for 62. It's easy to find. How many seen people who haven't paginated, they skip over 6 or 7 slides, and you have to kind of constantly be hunting to see what they're talking about. All right? Secondly, limit the colors you use. PowerPoint, buy the way, can give you like 1.7 million different colors. You don't need to try to get everyone of them on one slide. Because what happens, it gets in the way of comprehension of it, becomes a seductive detail. Use blank spaces. But how do you do this? One idea per slide. It's better to have more slides with less material, than a few slides with a whole bunch of thing chunked in there. All right? Also you include only the critical information, no sound affects what so ever. Turn off the sound effects on your computer. How many of you seen people do this? I was at a convention of, believe it or not, radiologists about 3 years ago. Okay?
And one person did not know this. And every time a word came up there was a bing, bing, the whole room was out of there within 5 minutes times, because they were being driven crazy. And the person didn't take the time to fix it. It was bing, bing, bing. And you know what, the people I know go to that conference regularly; the only story they remember about that conference is the bing. And this researcher is now known as bing. All right? His entire career has been shaped by the fact that he didn't turn the sound affects off. You don't need them. By the way, some people now use hyperlinks, they put WebPages on they can hyperlink to. That gets very confusing if you don't have a connection to the net. Other things make everything big. Make it giant. There used to be a simple rule called the six and six rule. This was a great rule years ago. You don't have to worry as much with fonts now. Six and six rule used to say no more than six words per line, no more than six lines.
It guaranteed visibility. How do you know you're slides readable? I'll tell you a simple way of doing it. Print your slides out on a regular eight and a half by eleven piece of paper, drop the slide on the floor, stand up tall and see if you can read it from standing up. If you can the words are big enough. If it's too small, it's too small. Also, highlight things; don't put things in caps. Big one where you guys do numerical stuff. Round off numbers. No one needs to the fifth decimal point. I guarantee it. Trust me. All right? No one's gonna analyze the data that much. Let's look at some bad slides. What's wrong, by the way you guys made these slides for me. They're all, most of them are bogus, a few are real. What's wrong with this slide right here? What's wrong with it? Tell me what's wrong with it. Yes mam.
The axis, the Y axis is way to long.
The Y axis too long. What's another problem?
Yeah, you don't want to, you know the colors change kind of randomly. You don't know what they mean. All right? How about this? What was wrong with this? I guarantee you don't need to report every data point on a slide. Trust me, you don't need to. God made appendices for that reasons. All right? How about this one? Other than being off cue, what's important here. You have no idea what's important. All right? How about this one? My favorite. Okay, you guys try to figure out what this means. It's every bit of data you don't need there. This is actually a real one. This was an Australian one done years ago, all right? It's actually a factor analysis of characteristics of patient satisfaction in cancer. And what the person was trying to do was show you the major factors of patient satisfaction. But how many of you have any idea of what this means by looking at that? All right? And by the way the colors really suck as well don't they? Okay. How about this one? Oh, that's disgusting. How many of you feel sick just looking at it?
All right? Think about doing this on a cruise ship presentation. All right? All right? How about this one? You can't even see the yellow in subways. Bad color. But bad diagrams too. What's the point of comparison here? You can highlight stuff easily, couldn't you. They're not highlighting it. How about this one? There's that weird shadowing affect. How many of you know people who know how to use shadows? How many of you see the aid, the numbers kind of have a shadow behind them. Don't do shadowing? All right? How about this one? The yellow is bad isn't it? How about this one? Another one of my favorites, go ahead, try reading that. Just enjoy yourself. If you can read this you don't need glasses. How about this one? If everything's important, nothing's important. Right? All right? How about this one? Anybody know what that means? By the way you could color it in with a circle. One great way of getting ideas for slides. Look at USA Today newspaper. Those little boxes. They show you how to do slides brilliantly sometimes. You might want to circle the thing you want to point out. This is M.D. Anderson; this is actual data from you guys.
Okay. At least 25% of your patients have tobacco related disease, at least 30% of your patients die from tobacco related diseases. Morbidity goes to mortality, by the way here. How many of you recognize this is a very important statement that gets lost, because the slide is so bad. It's a profoundly important statement, but you know what? All these value get disappearing, because the slide is so awful. All right? All right. What do you want to do with you're presenting with slides? Make sure you know what's there. The projector, how big it is, how noisy it is. Make sure there's table space for electrical cords. How many of you been in a situation you walked in a room, has a very small table for everything. You have to put your computer on. More table space the better. Screens. Make sure everyone can see the screen.
I like this room; everyone can see it. All right, another thing, where do you want your slides? Where do you want your screen if you're making a presentation? How many of you like it that it's over here and I'm over here? How many of you like this? How many think the screen should be in the center of the room instead? How many like the screen in the center of the room? How many think the screen should be over here on my right? What's the answer? What's best? Right, center or left? The answer is, first of all, never center. Why not center? You're there trapped on onside, aren't you? Okay, by the way, if the slides gonna be in the center of the room, I want you to wear a white jacket. At least that way maybe you can stand in front of the slide and people can still read it. All right? You're trapped on one side. Why not right? Why not over here? Well in western cultures at least, people tend to read this way.
They're gonna look at your screen first then you afterwards. You don't want that. You want them to look at you first and your screen afterwards. The other reasons more important though. Let's suppose you want to point at things on slides and it's a relatively small world, room rather. If it's on this side I end up pointing at the end of sentences. If it's on this side I end up pointing at the beginning of sentences. Now does it affect readability? Probably 1 or 2%, but every percentage helps, doesn't it? All right? Big deal. If you do things in color, understand every projector shows things up differently in color. Always come in and check you slides out to make sure the colors show up the same. Some presenters actually now travel projectors, because that's an enormously large one. You can find real small ones. But if you're gonna use lots of colors don't trust that what you see on your computer screen is the same thing that will be projected up here. And it can really have profound impact on understanding. Don't turn your back to your audience. Never turn your back to your audience.
When I coach people on this I'll put actually a target on their back and ask 10, 20, 30, 50 dollars written on there. And I get a bunch of these little balls and I say, I'm gonna throw balls at you every time you turn around, and I, you have to pay me what I hit. You say, but I gotta look at my slide. How can you look at your slide and not turn your back? Very simply, move further away from the screen. When I stand here I can actually look at my slide and look at you at the same time. If I stand right close to my screen then what do I have to do? Turn all the way around to look. So if you need to read, move a little bit further away to see what's happening. You don't need to read your slides allowed. Most people can read now days. Trust me, okay, they can. Pointers we talked about. No long pauses when you're doing a slide. How many see people do this. I'm gonna go back a few slides, okay? Ladies and gentleman this is the most important thing so far. Now we have this. This is critical as well. Now we have this.
By the way you should notice this. This is really interesting. No, you want to have no dead air time when you're presenting. No dead air time. No pauses at all when you're making transitions. You also don't want to do another thing, don't blame the equipment when something goes wrong, you chose to use it. Don't say, I don't know who fooled with my equipment. It's your computer. You brought the computer. If you don't bring your own computer you're at least trusting somebody else. How many seen people get mad at machinery before? Guess what? You can't do anything it really looks bad. Handouts. Are handouts good to hand out? Oddly enough people expect handouts now a days. They really do. Life is this way. The computer is supposed to be for the paperless office. They've actually added more paper. But generally speaking, people expect handouts in some form matter or form. Turn off screen savers. My favorite story I can tell you this week about screen savers. There is a chemist friend of mine; she is world famous in chemistry. I won't name her university okay? But what happens, she got married a number of years ago to this wonderful guy, another scientists at the same university.
For their honeymoon they went to a beach resort in the Caribbean where you do not have to wear clothes. All right? And they took a number of what you might call family pictures. All right? That became part of her screen saver collection at home on her home computer, right, her laptop at home. She's going to a conference in another part of the country. She could have gone downtown, but all of a sudden she was running late, so she said, no, no I'll just take my home computer and have my assistant email me the slides that I can use. All right? She is up there presenting away, she likes to tell the story, she's very honest about this story. And guess what? She leaves her slide on too long, and all of a sudden the whole room goes, Wow! All right? No screen savers! Turn that option off when you're presenting. How many seen people leave a screen saver on and all of a sudden it flips to the screen saver. You don't want that to happen. Always, one rule is the reading rule. The reading rule is interesting. Why you don't want too many things on one side is this, you have to leave the slide up two times as long as it would take a person to read it, cause that's what's going on, right?
You're reading the slide while I'm talking to you. I have to deal with the fact that my slides are competing with me. And if I leave it up real short, how many seen people go like this. This one. This one. This one. This one. And people don't know what they're listening to any more. Reading rules says it's gotta be up there twice as long as it takes people to read it. By the way a little footnote on PowerPoint. How many of you use multiple media sometimes? If you're gonna use an overhead projector as well, how many of you recognize if you hit the B on the computer what happens? The screen goes blank. Hit B it comes back again. If you want a white screen what do you do? Hit W, and you now have a white screen. So really these days, how many of you go to universities, for example, your presentations are gonna be on a black board? That's the best they have. They don't have a screen they can pull down.
Turning it to white means white? You can actually write or do things on the white board, and then you go back to your screen again that way. White W, and by the way if you need to switch slides very quickly, I'm on slide 80, what if I want to go to slide 6, what would I do? Hit 6, and normally, not in this case I guess, okay, it should go to 6. It doesn't in this case. I'm sorry. I learned something new about PowerPoint today. It normally does. All right, what else? Using flip charts. Skip them. Handling questions. Actually giving the time we have, I'm gonna stop here. I may see if any of you have any questions. The rest of the stuff we can perhaps go over some other time. One rule, my emails on the front. If you have any questions afterwards email me about any of this stuff. What questions do you have at this point about presentations? You're stunned.
I'm just gonna ask this, cause not everybody knows this. How long should you wait for questions?
How long should you wait for questions. Long enough that somebody asks one. If you wait long enough they'll ask. By the way I'll tell you something, we looked at people who are very successful researchers and academic admissions, we're doing this project now. One thing you should do if you're in an audience is always have a question prepared. People love it when they get asked questions. It makes you memorable to them in a positive. Not a question that puts them on the spot. But a nice question like that people say, he's a nice guy. And you can actually build your reputation by asking good questions. All right? But you ought wait long enough. For one thing, don't every say; are there any questions? Are there any questions is what kind of question, open or closed? It's a closed one. In fact, next time he says, are there any questions, lean back in your chair and go, Yeah. What good presenters do is they say, what are your questions, or who has the first question? And it generates a lot more questions. Small things like that make a difference. There was another question I saw. Someone with their hand up. Yes sir.
What about skipping slides?
That's always an issue. People feel cheated when you skip slides. I on the other hand tend to think I always want to have more material than I'm ever gonna get to. I just have that bias. I put more in. Most people though, if you're, it depends on the nature of your presentation. I assume your colleagues in many ways I can just talk to you. If this was a very formal one in front of 1,000 people I would only want to have the slides I was using. But I like to give people more information they can take home, so to speak. I think skipping slides is reasonable as long as you get your key points. I never skipped over anything major in this thing. I skipped over small ones as it went along. What's another thing? Other question? Yes mam?
If you have one hour of presentation, how long have you to ask you for questions?
I think if you have one hour, it's always better to do a 50-minute presentation. People always feel lucky if it's less time than was allocated. Never go over if you can help it. I stopped according to my watch exactly at five thirty. Yes mam?
For organizing point of view. If you have a collection of speakers, is it bad to speaker questions with a question?
No. The only speaking you want to have all the questions at the end. Now the trouble with conference panels is sometimes they're potpourri panels, they're random. That' more difficult. But if you have a panel that has a theme, generally speaking you want all the questions at the end. Cause you don't want to, how many of you seen people in the audience who ask question after question, you can't shut them up. And literally eat into other people's time. All right, when you hold all questions to the end it's better in many cases. Now if you're teaching on the other hand, you want questions when they occur to people. All right, if you're teaching something, if somebody doesn't understand something you want the answer right away, don't you? Otherwise they don't say anything more. So I teach statistics. Guess what if you don't understand variance you don't understand statistics. So I want to make sure people understood. So if somebody had a question I want to ask that question right away and be able to answer it right away. But on a conference panel I would say always hold your questions to the end of the entire session. Cause other wise, you know, it gets awkward for everyone time wise. Yes?
All over your questions is that acceptable?
Yeah, in the end when you say you open the floor to questions, you say what questions do you have? I said but that's a good way to close. What questions do you have and let people ask them. Yes mam?
What about delivering from the podium looking at your computer screen, rather than looking at the large screen?
I think looking at a large screen is oftentimes a little bit better than looking at your computer screen. Because what do you do? It traps you up there. In our society we like it when people move around; it keeps peoples attention. And by the way, it makes you more comfortable as a speaker too. It gets rid of all the energy you have. Being stuck at the podium is very difficult. Now John Mendelsohn has to do podium speeches sometimes at banquets. He can't move around. If you go to a major convention there's a key not address there, you've got to do this. If you win a Nobel Prize, guess what? You're gonna stand behind the podium a lot in your life. But most of us don't do those kind of presentations. We're doing much more informal, we're very informal presentation society now. Other cultures are more formal still. If you travel over seas, for example, you ought to dress more than you do in the United States. Appearance matters more in other countries than it does in this country.
By and large its SCS is inverse related to appearance concerns. The lower the SCS, the more you need to be concerned about appearance. It's a very interesting phenomenon. All right? So the poorer the country, the more you ought to dress up in suits. The richer the country, guess what? The more informal you can appear. It's, no one knows, I can do a number of explanation of why that is. But behind the podium is a much more formal environment. Some cultures are more formal. You want to be behind the podium in those cultures. Some cultures are more informal. U.S. is perhaps the most informal of cultures. All right? By the way, there are lots of cultural differences in this stuff too. Your background colors vary in culture. Although almost every culture seems to be okay with blue. All right? Bright red works in a few cultures. All right? Humor doesn't transmit across cultures. If you have a strong accent and you're speaking to an audience that doesn't speak your natural, your original language and you have a strong accent, more words on the slide the better.
Most people's ability to read your slides is better than their ability to understand what you're talking about. So when I go over seas, for example, A I talk a lot slower, but B, what else do I do? I have full sentences. I have lots of words up there. Because even if they can't understand me, most peoples reading ability is better, and they can read what I'm talking about. But the behind the podium works fine for some people, it does tend to trap a lot of people. If you're very comfortable behind here and can handle it informally that's great. So I can handle podium informally, I will hug the podium, I will talk like this. But many people get up here and they talk like this instead, and they using the podium to protect themselves from attack. What I tell you is you're gonna be, when you feel tense your audience feels tense. And so moving around reduces that tension sometimes. Other questions? Okay, how many of you got at least one idea you thought was useful or interesting today? Okay, good! Have a good life. I hope to see you again sometime. Stay attention to this. Have a good one.
©2008 The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center
1515 Holcombe Blvd, Houston, TX 77030
1-800-392-1611 (USA) / 1-713-792-6161