Whether you’ve given hundreds of presentations throughout your career or are preparing for your first conference lecture, there’s always room for improvement when it comes to professional speaking.
Practice, Practice, Practice
Preparation may seem like an obvious tip, but it’s one that’s often overlooked, either due to time constraints or overconfidence, said George M. Hall, PhD, DSc, professor of anesthesia at St. George’s University of London in the UK and author of How to Present at Meetings, 3rd edition (Wiley, 2012). (Disclaimer: Wiley is also the publisher of ENT Today.) “The problem with senior presenters such as myself is that as we get old we think we can skimp on the preparation and the rehearsal and then we give a poor presentation,” he said.
Sticking to a rule of thumb given to him by a surgery professor years ago, Dr. Hall suggested one hour of preparation for every minute of a presentation. “That’s hopefully a little bit too much if you’re particularly familiar with the topic, but if you’re starting from scratch, it’s probably about right.”