Spring.wmf (18300 bytes) Plant Physiology (Biology 327)  - Dr. Stephen G. Saupe;  College of St. Benedict/ St. John's University;  Biology Department; Collegeville, MN  56321; (320) 363 - 2782; (320) 363 - 3202, fax;    ssaupe@csbsju.edu

Oral Report Checklist

    According to Daniel Janzen, one of my biological heroes, the purpose of an oral presentation is to "send me off carrying [a few] minutes worth of punch lines that I can use to better understand other people's work, that I can use to improve my own research and that will inspire me to do things I would not have thought to do on my own".  I would add that in our course this experience will give you practice presenting an oral report, it will help to teach the others in the class about your research project, and it will "force" you to better understand the work you did.

The following is a checklist of tips for presenting an oral report:

q the talk has a descriptive title
q the introduction includes a sentence warm-up (because most people miss the first sentence or two)
q indicates why the work was done; the purpose is clearly stated
q indicates how the work was done; the description of the methods was appropriate
q indicates what was found; supporting data were presented
q method(s) to display data are appropriate
q describes what the work means; presents conclusions
q makes eye contact with your audience
q doesn't read the talk.
q uses appropriate prompters (slides/overheads/notecards)
q if used, note cards are brief, not full sentences
q speaks slowly
q avoids clich�s
q avoids redundant words (i.e., three different kinds)
q uses mostly short sentences, with scattered longer one
q avoids distracting movements with hands, body
q speaks loudly
q articulates words clearly
q puts keywords/concepts on visuals or writes on board
q avoids the use of unnecessarily complex words
q uses contemporary language for units and technical terms
q speaks to the audience, not the blackboard, projector, etc.

Visual Aids:

q avoids too much detail
q are as simple as possible
q are adequate to make point
q are legible in the back of the lecture hall
q answers questions satisfactorily
q has apparently practiced the talk
q talks to us, doesn't preach at us

References: There are many excellent references on giving papers at meetings. Two good ones are:

  • Booth, V. Communicating in Science. Cambridge University Press, NY. (Chapter Three).
  • Janzen, Daniel. Plea from a Symposium Goer. Bulletin of the British Ecological Society.
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Last updated:  01/07/2009     � Copyright  by SG Saupe