The 10 commandments of oral presentations
Have you ever fallen asleep during a lecture, or felt the presentation you were attending was a waste of your time? V Raveenthiran tells you how to get that oral presentation right
Giving an oral presentation at scientific meetings is an indispensable skill for medics.1 Medical students as well as doctors frequently need to read papers at conferences, and this physician-physician communication is essential for dissemination of knowledge and the advancement of science. It is surprising therefore that only a few members of the medical community are familiar with this art,2–5 and the techniques and principles1–24 of scientific verbal communication are not taught at medical schools or in medical textbooks; medical students are therefore left to learn oral presentation by trial and error rather than through formal teaching.
Oral presentations are helped by a variety of audiovisual equipment, such as conventional 35 mm slides,6 computer aided multimedia,7 PowerPoint presentations,8–10 and overhead projectors.11 The general principles described are applicable to oral presentations incorporating any form of audiovisual aid.
Unfortunately, many speakers fail to understand that the audience represents a group of people who