Ten Simple Rules for Short and Swift Presentations

Now more than ever, effective science communication is essential for scientists to share their findings with each other as well as the general public. A new opportunity has emerged in the form of very short, swift presentations that help bridge the gap between lengthy, detailed scientific presentations and short sound bites. In a recent PLOS Computational Biology paper, NCEAS senior fellow Christopher Lortie presents ten simple rules for successful short and swift presentations.

“Short talks really focus a study or project down to the bare bones of why, what, and where. It is refreshing to have people share the highlights since we are so inundated with information. These rules ensure that the audience gets what they need and nothing more.”

             - Christopher Lortie, NCEAS Senior Fellow

The 10 simple rules include:

  1. Plan a clear story
  2. Provide only one major point per slide
  3. Limit use of text
  4. Use simple visuals
  5. Develop a consistent theme
  6. Repeat critical messages twice using different visuals
  7. Use the principle of parsimony in explanations
  8. Allocate more than one slide to effectively end the narrative
  9. Use the final slide for contact information and links to additional resources
  10. Use timed practice

Through this swift-tempoed presentation style, the speaker engenders enthusiasm, energy, and the expectation that a bird’s-eye view of a topic will be provided to the audience and enable them to get up to speed on the important issues. To learn how to perfect your own swift and short presentation, read Christopher’s ten simple rules available in paper format as well as a slide deck and video.


Ten simple rules for short and swift presentations
Lortie, C.
PLOS Computational Biology, March 2017, doi: 10.1371/journal.pcbi.1005373


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Posted on April 3, 2017