According to Dee, the number one most common mistake is lack of preparation. According to a survey taken by a company that specializes in presentation skills coaching, 86% of executives say that presentation skills affect their career and income, yet only 25% spend more than 2 hours of prep for "high-stakes" presentations. Malcolm Gladwell, author of Blink, Tipping Point, Outliers, and an excellent article on drug development in the New Yorker ("The Treatment: Why is it so Difficult to Develop Drugs for Cancer?"), is known for delivering a seemingly effortless presentation, ending at exactly the right time, without ever looking at his watch (see his Ted Talk on Spaghetti Sauce). When Financial Times writer Gideon Rachman asked how he does it, Gladwell responded, "I know it may not look like this. But it’s all scripted. I write down every word and then I learn it off by heart. I do that with all my talks and I’ve got lots of them." I've had lots of folks tell me the best way to give a talk is to throw up a few main points and wing it through an hour, but perhaps rote memorization is a more attractive alternative. But in our line of work where we show lots of data, tables, figures, and statistics, it's already easy enough to bore your audience, and delivering a memorized speech might make this worse. I tend to prefer something in between complete improv and autopilot. What are your favorite tips for presenting scientific, quantitative, or statistical data and results?
You Suck at Powerpoint (Slideshare, via @lifehacker)
Financial Times - Secrets of Malcolm Gladwell
Malcolm Gladwell - The Treatment: Why is it so Difficult to Develop Drugs for Cancer?