Presenting, presenting, presenting

Recent days have been spent engaging with PowerPoint. The good news (I think) is that I have finally found a way to use it: minimally. I’ve always enjoyed presenting, by talking to people at least, and early attempts at this (in hindsight) overly relied on PowerPoint. I’ve never been great at preparing at length in advance of a presentation, instead preferring to flow freely and not rely on a script. PowerPoint then was used as my script, or prompts at least, to keep a narrative somewhat on track. As I’ve gained confidence – and by that I mean increased the number of presentations on similar topics – I have increased the number of images to convey simplistic points, opting for anecdotes and stories that I think will allow an audience to relate to concepts more than figures and text. This isn’t new, of course, but it is relatively new to me.

Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve presented my own work via a number of media. Firstly, I presented “Monsters of the night” at the interdisciplinary BGU conference exploring Monsters. As any good psychologist should do, I aimed to convey that we all experience complete psychoticism at night, via hallucinations, delusions and then, in the vast majority of cases, having amnesia for the episodes. I also focused on discontinuities of consciousness (which is starting to become quite a favourite topic) and emotion regulation during sleep. It was great. Thanks to Dr. Sibylle Erle for coordinating the conference.

The following day I had the pleasure of delivering my first TEDx talk, which I will write about separately.

After that I (somewhat foolishly) ran the Lincoln 10K on the hottest day of the year. Still, I did it.

The following week was largely spent with PowerPoint also, although with one more research/lab based presentation, this time exploring Sleep and Learning, which was attended by a number of my colleagues (with thanks)! In my role as Chair of the University’s Research Ethics Committee I delivered a session on ethics and integrity, which is perceived in more varied ways beyond Psychology than I had realised. I then led a training session for our doctoral supervisors, and rounded off a couple of days ago with a session on research within our School (Social Sciences), complete with mainly images and minimal text. Quicker to prepare for me, not so helpful for non-attendees to make sense of just by looking at the slides.

I get quite a buzz from presenting, especially when the purpose of the presentation is to ignite enthusiasm about research (as was the case in all of the above examples). I need to learn to catch the momentum somehow. Much like trying to capture impact from our research endeavours.

I hope to take a PowerPoint break for a few weeks. I’m steering clear of conferences for the Summer (bar a trip to Cardiff in September), instead hoping to focus on writing activities. More reports to follow on those outputs soon.


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