A note of caution…

Now I know what Comrade Physioprof was going on about. Writing out your whole seminar, memorizing every word, and then over-practicing it… so you sound like a book on tape…. is NOT a good idea.

That is all.


9 thoughts on “A note of caution…

  1. It doesn’t hurt to write out the talk – then you have a sense of what’s missing. I think keeping notes with you helps if you aren’t practiced in giving seminars.

  2. I’ve sat through a few of those over-rehearsed talks. They are annoying as hell. Plus when someone interrupts with a question, it completely screws up the recording… er, I mean talk. Practice is good, but you can have too much of a good thing.

  3. Girlpostdoc
    It doesn’t hurt to write out the talk – then you have a sense of what’s missing.

    Arranging your slides should achieve this, bearing in mind that you shouldn’t be talking about much other than that directly relating to what’s on the screen behind you.

    The urge to write it down is common among the less experienced (myself included), but it is ultimately a counterproductive exercise. First, it takes a lot of time, particularly if you happen to be an editing freak. Second, it carries the likelihood that the talk will sound as scripted as it is (speech writing is an art that we are not all naturally gifted at).

    My 2 cents is that there’s nothing wrong with adopting a little script here and there in a talk (introductory comments, particularly tricky bits of methodological explanation), but it’s actually a lot easier and more natural to arrive at this script by repeatedly improvising to the slides vocally rather than going on book with it. The other quality here is that said ‘script’ remains flexible and easily adapted to interruptions, which is absolutely necessary if speaking to an American audience, and ultra-especially necessary if speaking to an American audience for a job talk.

  4. Over-practice (practice-practice-practice …. repeat) is actually what makes me confident about going “off script” when someone interjects with an unanticipated question…. It means that I’ve got some genuinely funny jokes and slangy questions I can use to return me back to the flow of my slides

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