Tell Your Story


Chapter 1: Introduction

Chapter 2: Understanding Media

Chapter 3: Messages

Chapter 4: The Interview

Chapter 5: Interviewing

Chapter 6: The Adversarial

Chapter 7: Public Presentations

Chapter 8: Online Media

Chapter 9: Taking Charge



Download text (.pdf, 2.9k)

Chapter 7

Martin Paulus

Translating research for a general public audience requires more than a careful delivery of information -- it means establishing rapport with listeners. Here, neuroscientist Martin Paulus of UC San Diego captivates the attention of a lay audience at one of OHSU’s Brain Awareness Week public lectures.

You may already have experience in getting up in front of a classroom or auditorium and giving a speech or lecture. If you have, you’re way ahead of the game because, according to surveys, more people fear speaking in front of a crowd than fear dying!

As Charles Osgood in his book, “Osgood on Speaking,” suggests, “Relax. Nobody’s going to get hurt…All you have to do is get over the mistaken belief that it’s difficult and dangerous.”

But as Osgood also points out, you’ve got to radiate confidence. And that means being forceful and doing the same kinds of things we talked about while doing an on-camera interview.

Think primary messages. What do you really want your audience to remember as they leave the room? It may well be just one or two points or subjects. So it’s important to concentrate on those and keep coming back to them.

It’s not the time to read your notes word for word or to settle into a monotone delivery. The more you can sound spontaneous, the better off you and your audience will be. Again, to quote Osgood, “Listening to somebody read a prepared text is about as exciting as attending a congressional hearing on interstate commerce.”

In other words, don’t read -- speak!

Other musts for public speaking:

If you’re speaking in a public forum, pick up a few tidbits about the group you’re speaking to, and include them in your remarks – possibly before you get into the meat of your speech. They will like you for it, and thereby listen intently to what you have to say.

PowerPoint: the double-edged sword

Now that PowerPoint has been around for 20-some years, it’s hard to imagine how presentations happened without it. No screen full of diagrams and bullet points in the background? You mean speakers once gave talks just by talking? Today, of course, PowerPoint is everywhere, and it’s been both a blessing and a curse for communication.

Done well, PowerPoint enlivens a presentation and helps the audience grasp key concepts. Done poorly, it can turn a presentation into a snoozefest or a bout of motion sickness. One US general even banned PowerPoint presentations during briefings -- not everything, he said, fits into bullet-points!

If you opt to use PowerPoint (which you no doubt will), think about these pointers:

Chapter 8: Online Media arrow