::making a successful presentation::
Dr Mahibur Rahman
This article was first published in Februray 2005 and is reproduced with the kind permission of Hospital Doctor, who retain the copyright.
Giving presentations has become a routine part of any trainee's life, and these can make a significant impression on those around you. Here is some guidance guidance on how to do it well.
The difference between a poor presentation and a successful one lies mainly in the preparation. This takes time and work, but your efforts will be richly rewarded.
Fail to prepare, prepare to fail.
Before you can begin to put the elements of your presentation in place, there are a few bits of key information that you need to gather:
- What are you going to present? This sounds obvious, but the more information you can get on the scope of your presentation, the easier it is to prepare - "Managing malignant hypercalcaemia in a hospital setting" is very different from "Hypercalcaemia".
- Who is your audience? - the content of your presentation will vary considerably depending on whether the audience consists of students, academics, consultants, or a mixture of doctors and nurses. Students probably won't want to know about the latest trial chemotherapy regimes while a group of consultant oncologists is unlikely to benefit from a talk on the basics of taking a cancer history. Likewise, an informal presentation to a group of four or five colleagues needs a different approach to a formal Grand Round slot in front of a hundred people.
- How long is your presentation to be? 10 minutes or half an hour? What you can put over in each is very different.
- Where are you going to present? If at all possible, go and see the venue - and always find out exactly what facilities are available. Assuming that PowerPoint is available on a laptop and just turning up with a CD or disk can become more than embarrassing when all they have is an overhead projector.
When you've done all the background, it's time to look at the content. The best presentations are those that engage the audience, have a clear message and are well structured. There should be a clear beginning, middle and end.
next > the presentation