From the reviews:
Praise for Michael Alley's THE CRAFT OF SCIENTIFIC PRESENTATIONS:
"Alley's [book has] elements of conversation that engage a reader in ways a list of rules would not. [It] can be profitably read from cover to cover, but [it] can also be opened to a specific section for reference ... The Craft of Scientific Presentations is informal in tone but serious in intent. Alley makes the reader think about the point of a presentation, about different kinds of presentations, about different techniques - from writing on a blackboard to using computer slide shows. He shows how to think about finding the right words, structure, and images. He is at his best discussing well-chosen examples from both great and lesser-known lecturers, and his counsel to anticipate what could go wrong is sage advice ... Spending time with [this book] will give you food for thought and the encouragement to practice, practice, practice!"
"The book does contain much good advice. This is summarised in useful tables and checklists that are easy to locate and refer to subsequently. Having just returned from a large international conference, I only wish that many of the speakers had studied Alley's book."
THE JOURNAL OF THE EUROPEAN ASSOCIATION OF SCIENCE EDITORS
"A book that one can read for pleasure and self-improvement, as well as utilize as a manual... A valuable addition to the libraries of scientific institutions and I have already recommended it to several of my research organization clients."
DANIEL J. INMAN, DIRECTOR
CENTER FOR INTELLIGENT MATERIAL SYSTEMS
"Alley has revamped the way our research center makes presentations—particularly the way we design our presentation slides."
CHRISTENE MOORE, COMMUNICATION INSTRUCTOR
UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS AT AUSTIN
"This book fills a void by illustrating key issues and difficulties in oral presentations with the experiences of others."
"Scientific presentation, whether for a gathering of colleagues or a general audience, benefit from techniques of stagecraft and rhetoric. … The Craft of Scientific Presentations is informal in tone but serious in intend. Alley makes the reader think about the point of a presentation, about different kinds of presentations, and about different techniques … . He is at his best discussing well-chosen examples from both great and lesser-known lecturers, and his counsel to anticipate what could go wrong is sage advice." (Chris Quigg, Physics Today, July, 2004)
"The author, an experienced teacher, adds numerous examples not only from his praxis, but found in many biographies, memorial books, and articles of well known scientists and speakers. … Due to the applied form the book presents amusing reading for everybody … . Forty-one illustrations accompany the text … . Beginners in presenting speeches will find the book a source of both useful and interesting information, experienced lecturers can learn many amazing stories from the history of science." (Z. Šesták, Photosynthetica, Vol. 41 (4), 2003)
"What makes an oral presentation effective? The Craft of Presentations considers presentations made to persuade an audience to adopt some course of action (such as funding a proposal) as well as presentations made to communicate information … . Its goal is to provide you with the insights and tools to let you learn from your own presentations until they become outstanding." (Meteorology and Atmospheric Physics, Vol. 84 (1-2), 2003)
"A failure to communicate the principal message of a scientific presentation can have literally catastrophic consequences. … the book does contain much good advice. This is summarised in useful tables and checklists that are easy to locate and refer to subsequently. Having just returned from a large international conference, I only wish that many of the speakers had studied Alley’s book." (Keith McEwen, Physics World, October, 2003)
"Rather than present a list of simple rules for giving scientific presentations, this book looks at the styles of successful presenters such as Boltzmann, Einstein, Feynman, Levi-Montalcini and Linus Pauling … . The bulk of the book considers in detail ten critical errors that undermine the performance of the speaker, from giving the wrong speech to not preparing enough to not paying attention and loosing composure." (Book News on the Internet, June, 2003)
A revolution is occurring in the way that scientists and engineers are making presentations. The revolution is small, but many of the scientists and engineers breaking away from PowerPoint's default structure of a topic-phrase headline supported by bulleted points are making names for themselves: Janine Benyus, Brian Cox, Jill Bolte Taylor. This book tries to present the essence of that revolution by showing you what distinguishes the excellent scientific talks on TED.com as well as excellent presentations at scientific conferences and in technical meetings. After reading this book, you will know when to blank the screen during a scientific talk and how to empower that part of the presentation. Also, for those occasions in which you do use slides, you will create scenes that are truly for the audience, rather than the sad practice of projecting slides that simply present the speaker's notes. If you want to give a mediocre presentation, do what everybody else does. If you want to communicate your science and engineering in an understandable, memorable, and persuasive way, consider this book.
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