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Oral presentation skills

I have posted formats that I developed for a quantitative research proposal and article on my website and I have received many comments from students/professionals that these have been very helpful. I therefore also share with you a presentation I made for the two junior research scientists of Ifakara Health Institute (IHI) that I mentor, to enhance also their oral research dissemination skills.

During the session on oral presentation skills I started with a citation that said: “One of the most important aspects to be successful in your research, your job and your career is excellent oral and written communication.” So where do you start when you receive a letter from a conference that they are happy to inform you that your abstract has been accepted for an oral presentation?

I discussed the 4 P's: Planning, Preparation, Practice, Performance.

With respect to planning it is important that you know the "Who" (you are talking to), "Why" (you are talking to them), "How" (long have you got), "What" (story are you going to tell) and "Where" (are you presenting; setting).

In terms of preparation there are different steps to follow. You start with an outline (clear structure, opening/closing) and sketching of the slides. Then follows the actual preparation of the slides (title, rationale, methods, results, summary). Finally, the proof reading and the preparation of notes to accompany your presentation.

And after that it is: practice, practice, practice (like most things, the best way to learn is to do) until it is time for your actual presentation (performance). Tips for the performance are given, but I only want to highlight one here: Don’t go over the allocated time. Ever!

The preparation not only includes the presentation itself, but you can also anticipate likely questions and possibly prepare extra slides with the answers.

Please find my presentation here; you are welcome to use it as a learning tool for yourself, or modify it for your own teaching purposes.

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Random sampling versus randomisation

I recently examined a MPH thesis in which the student stated that “the intervention and control were assigned using a random sampling technique.” I have noted in the past that students mix-up random sampling and randomization. I therefore explain both concepts together in this article.

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2 Responses leave one →
    Hammad Akram

    Thank you for sharing this valuable article. The accompanied slides cover all important points for delivering an effective presentation. As a non-native English speaker one thing that really works well for me is to "speak slowly" while presenting. It can be very useful at international conferences while presenting in front of audiences with diverse geographical backgrounds. Speaking a little bit slower can also help in masking nervousness (if one experiencing) and avoiding mistakes or missing information.


      Thanks for this valuable comment.


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