I went to an ACM meeting last Tuesday at NREL. The topic was “The Role of Computational Science in Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Research” by Dr. Steve Hammond. It was an interesting talk–NREL is doing some neat stuff with alternative energy sources (one thing that Dr. Hammond mentioned was an algae that produces hydrogen gas–a possible clean, renewable, easily scalable source of that element).
Now, I definitely don’t want to single out Dr. Hammond. He did a good job explaining the value of computing to energy research, as well as fielding questions that were out of his expertise from nitpicking engineers (are there any other kind?). However, his presentation just drove home to me how easy it is to let PowerPoint drive a presentation. And how doing that really detracts from the speaker’s points. I’m certainly not the first person to mention this. But I just wanted to point out this very very good article about speaking during a presentation, rather than just reading from slides.
Hey buddy, I can probably read those slides faster than you can say them, and it’s a lot less boring for me. Instead, explain the slides to me in a way that makes the talk more of a conversation. Don’t let the technology drive the presentation; it may be easier to read the slides, but it makes for a much poorer presentation.