On Presentations: Why and How Should We Present?

I wrote this article for the magazine to be published by our faculty and I am sharing it with some additions.

“Data is data, conclusions are conclusions but how you represent it is what matters” (1).

We exist as much as we express ourselves in every part of life. Whether we are telling a friend about our problem or presenting our latest work at a big science congress, it is very important to convey our message effectively to others. Have you ever had a lecture topic that you waited with great enthusiasm but just because the professor was insufficient at presenting and you immediately disliked that subject? This has happened many times for me. Presentation skills in the scientific and academic journey; is one of the most basic requirements, along with English skills, curiosity, and having a broad vision.

Although presentation skills and public speaking are seen as talent, that is not the case. There is no perfect presentation, but better is always possible. The key of the better is: “practice, practice, practice”.

I was looking for ways to improve myself starting from the first months I entered medical school. I thought that the most logical way to do this was to attend congresses and I started searching. I decided to attend a medical student congress to be held in Malatya. As a first-year student, I had no idea about these processes, and I thought that it is probably better to make an oral presentation even when I didn’t know what active and passive participation is. With the guidance of my professor (2) whom I learned a lot of things I learned what is active participation, what is an oral presentation and started to work.

Everything was ready, but as someone who had not attended a congress before, it was very tense for me to speak in front of the public. Two presentation competitions held at our faculty a few weeks before the congress came to my rescue.

I had practiced many times in front of my own friends, but when I did not have the opportunity to present in front of the teachers and a larger audience, I applied immediately when I saw the posters of these competitions. I successfully made my presentation in front of our professors and other students, and I was the winner in both. As you can imagine, I could go to the congress with great confidence, but before my presentation, I was worried again. I think I would not have completed my presentation at the congress in the same way if I had not practiced that much before.

Opportunities to improve our academic skills may not be available at every university. It is necessary to take every opportunity and such competitions are definitely important opportunities.

What can be done to improve your presentation skills except for practice? It will be useful to take the online courses (1, 3), read articles (4, 5, 6, 7), and examining the presentations in the congresses we attended. Along with these, the most important thing is that if the person determines his /her purposes and makes an effort towards it he/she will learn presenting as well as other skills.

References

  1. iBiology Share Your Research Online Course: https://courses.ibiology.org/courses/course-v1:iBiology+SYR+2020/info
  2. Assoc. Prof. Mehmet Taşpınar: https://scholar.google.com/citations?user=9N64RrEAAAAJ&hl
  3. The art of storytelling, Pixar: https://www.khanacademy.org/computing/pixar/storytelling
  4. Tips for giving a successful scientific presentation: http://crosstalk.cell.com/blog/tips-for-giving-a-successful-scientific-presentation
  5. Poster presentations are a great way to showcase your science: https://www.sciencemag.org/careers/2019/11/poster-presentations-are-great-way-showcase-your-science
  6. (Turkish)Etkili sunum yapma denilen mesele: https://www.mserdark.com/etkili-sunus-yapma-denilen-mesele/
  7. (Turkish) Güzel Makale Sunumu Nasıl Yapılır?: http://birgenetikcinindunyasi.com/guzel-makale-sunumu-nasil-yapilir/
  8. Picture: TED How to make a great presentation, Playlist: https://www.ted.com/playlists/574/how_to_make_a_great_presentation

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