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NORTHWEST GEOLOGICAL SOCIETY'S (NWGS'S) GUIDE  FOR SPEAKERS

 

REQUIRED INFORMATION At least a month before your talk please submit a 100- to 300-word abstract (summary of your talk), your present or former job description, and contact information to the President of NWGS.  Use MSWord. This information will be published in NWGS's Newsletter two weeks before your talk. This information will not be significantly edited.

 

LEVEL OF PRESENTATION The NWGS is  a professional society, the members of  which  are diverse in their levels of  expertise and areas of interest. Thus, the NWGS seeks talks above the Geology 101-level but below that common in research seminars at the graduate level of many universities and corporations. Accordingly, talks (including the terminology used)  should be at a level  that would be comprehensible to Junior or Senior undergraduates. A talk at this level can be more difficult to prepare than a talk for one's peers.

 

LENGTH Most NWGS talks are after dinner when eyelids have been known to droop.  Additionally, most of the audience has to alert for work or school  the next day and/or may have to arrive home in time to accommodate significant others, children, or babysitters.  Accordingly, talks should be limited to 30 minutes.  As TV commercials attest, a talk of this length is more than adequate to convey a couple of important messages and the evidence for them.  A 30-minute talk can be more difficult to craft than a longer talk.  Questions during the talk will be discouraged.  The talk will be followed by a question and answer period that normally will last 15 minutes. Thereafter, questioners and  the speaker can continue their conversations informally (until the hall or a nearby watering hole closes).

 

LOUSY POWERPOINT SLIDES Amazingly, the majority of professionals have lousy PowerPoint (or other) slides, even for their signature presentations: either the text or the image is illegible.  Reams have been written about graphic design, but a simple rule of thumb is 12:1.  Measure the maximum dimension of the proposed slide on the computer screen in inches and then step that far back in feet.  If everything is legible at that distance, the slide will project well.  Alternatively, preview your slide from the back of a room (not from your keyboard or a speaker's podium).  Images and text taken directly from the internet or a printed page commonly fail the 12:1 rule.  Two such texts or images on a single slide routinely fail the 12:1 rule.  Crafting effective PowerPoint slides requires effort and time.  Most drafts of a slide (especially if taken from the internet or a printed  page) require remedial work if they are to enhance, rather than detract from, the speaker's message.

 

For your reference, Cheney (2013)