Ministry of Health
Talking in front of an
audience is often a terrifying experience for many medical and nursing
personnel. In Newborn Services, there is an expectation that staff will at
some point present talks to an audience of peers or seniors. For
registrars, the usual forums are Grand Rounds, Journal Clubs, and Teaching
Sessions. For many registrars, it is the most detailed presentation they
have ever given.
Every individual has their own
style of presentation, but there are some important principles around
presentations which make things easier for the person giving it and the audience
receiving. Following some basic rules around preparation and presentation
style can make an “average” presentation stand out, whereas taking risks with
the topic or your presentation can make a talk with huge potential memorable for
all the wrong reasons.
Seek guidance and support
from senior colleagues
- This is critically
important. Speak with someone – your mentor, supervisor, or other
approachable specialist – well ahead of the date. This should be a
general discussion (e.g. “I am thinking about talking about ….”).
- Apart from telling you
if someone just presented that topic last week, they should be able
to give you some direction about what angle you should adopt, what
areas you should concentrate on, and where to look for information.
- When you are further
along, you should discuss it with them again to make sure you are on the
right track prior to the talk (it is very easy to get sidetracked and
lose the plot with too much detail or by concentrating on something
which is perhaps not relevant). You may use this opportunity to
show them your draft presentation so they can check your content.
You can never be too
- This does not mean putting
absolutely everything you have ever read about the topic into your
- It means that you should
know your presentation well - if you know what's in it, then it is
easier to emphasise things that you think are important, and to breeze
over things that only need a brief mention.
- It will also make it
easier for you when someone asks that question that you dreaded being
Don't be afraid to interpret
- You will need to do lots
of preparation. This will involve reading contradictory papers or
articles, and formulating your opinion on the value of the literature
- Don't be afraid to present
what you think (but talk to your supervisor or mentor about it before
you put your neck on the line).
Follow a logical structure
- See the links to the left
for suggested Grand Round and
- By all means deviate if it
suits the talk, but make sure you are not jumping all over the place as
you will lose your audience.
Leave time for discussion
- Don’t feel obliged to fill
the whole time slot - for a one hour session, you should aim to leave
15-20 minutes for discussion.
Look for local data
- Is there some local
information that we can provide you with that is relevant? David
Knight and Carl Kuschel can help with this.
Carl Kuschel and Malcolm Battin, August 2004