Category Archives: resource

Tips from Matt Carter’s Book, Designing Science Presentations

Later this month I’m giving a workshop to some graduate students who will be giving brief “TED”-like talks (10 minutes) in October. In reviewing and freshening up some of my workshop content, I’m working my way through Matt Carter’s Designing Science Presentations: A Visual Guide to Figures, Papers, Slides, Posters and More.

Here’s a brief rundown of some new things I’ve learned:

  • Carter considers a format category of “written presentation.” This includes articles, papers, etc. Interesting way to look at it.
  • “Sometimes a scientific word needs to be in all-uppercase letters. If the word is long, it can often visually overpower a sentence. In these circumstances, try reducing the font size of the uppercase word by 1-2pts to make the sentence appear more balanced” (p.61). Much easier to implement than trying to use small capitals.
  • In bullet lists, when you must use them, “use numbers when you want to show a sequence and a symbol when the sequence is arbitrary” (p.65).
  • The difference between using “e.g.” and “i.e.” (p. 81). Finally. I get it now.

Pair this book with Michael Alley’s The Craft of Scientific Presentation and you have an unbeatable foundation for presentation success. More ideas and tips to come.






Updated Presentation Basics Worksheet!

Sometimes, I think we go wrong with our presentations because we don’t take just a few minutes to jot down the basic details and think through what our “goals” for the audience might be.

If you know your key points at the start of your preparation process, then you can use those to help you stay focused from script writing to slide design to the Q&A at the end of your talk.

Take a look at the Presentation Basics worksheet. You can type in your information on the form itself, or print a copy to write on. Feel free to share it if you find it useful, and I’d like to hear your feedback on it.

Peace and Good Presentations!


Off to Conference! Texas Library Association 2011, Austin, TX

Headed off to the Texas Library Association (TLA) 2011 Annual Conference in Austin, TX, on Monday! Looking forward to lots of great speakers, workshops, and of course, presentations!

Follow me on Twitter during the conference and see what’s going on at the conference by searching for the hashtag (#txla11)!

Everyone travel safely to Austin, and we’ll see you there!



New article published in Texas Library Journal

Hi all,

I’m very, very happy to announce  a new article, “Three Simple Rules to Great Presentations,” published in the newest issue of Texas Library Journal 86(3): 87-89.  Will let you know when the PDF is online. Now ONLINE at!

Peace out,


Fun New Way To Learn More About PowerPoint

Microsoft’s Office Labs have created a new add-in for Office 2007 and Office 2010 that is a game called Ribbon Hero. Here’s the description from the site:

“Ribbon Hero is a game for Word, PowerPoint, and Excel 2007 and 2010, designed to help you boost your Office skills and knowledge. Play games (aka “challenges”), score points, and compete with your friends while improving your productivity with Office. “

I downloaded it a few days ago, and a) found it addictive, and b) learned some new things about PowerPoint that I did not know before!

You earn points for everyday things like copying and pasting, but you can also do “challenges” that will help you learn more features and help you be more productive with Office.

I highly recommend giving it a try!

Peace out,


Connect via LinkedIn!

I’ve been a reluctant social networking site user. I only recently got an account on Facebook, and still can’t see the day-to-day usefulness of it (or Twitter, for that matter). But LinkedIn is the answer – the professional social networking site to connect you to colleagues and others in your line of work around the globe.

I’m looking to connect with current and former colleagues as well as people out there doing the same thing I’m doing – namely trying to improve the state of presentations in every business, school, college and club meeting everywhere!

You can find me and my profile at:

Peace out,


Freshen up your colors

Photo (c) sundstrom, ID849660,

You can keep your presentations fresh by updating the colors you use on a regular basis. While the use of color should always support the message of your presentation, there’s no requirement that you have to use the same set of colors year in and year out.

Blue can still mean “business” and green can still evoke images of growth and success, just in slightly more up-to-date shades and tints. To find those new colors, visit Pantone’s website for their seasonal color forecasts.

Pantone is a company that standardizes color specifications for a wide variety of industries and applications from printing to fashion. Several times a year they release color forecast reports for upcoming seasons. The latest one I’ve looked at is the Fashion Color Report for Fall 2009.

Ten to twelve new colors are described in these short reports, and each color’s Pantone number and CMYK equivalents are provided. Unfortunately, PowerPoint only deals with RGB and HSL color schemes, so a bit of conversion is required. I found a simple one on the web created by Peter Forret and converted the CMYK values to RGB values that PowerPoint can understand.

Here is the table of CMYK to RGB values for the color trends listed in the Fall 2009 report. Note that the colors in the PDF will vary depending on the monitor/projector used. If you don’t like a particular color, try adjusting it within PowerPoint, or use an online tool such as Adobe’s kuler to help you select another shade (kuler can handle CMYK values and can convert them to RGB for you).

I’ve created a sample presentation using some of the new colors. Take a look and feel free to adapt for your own needs.