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Nuts and Bolts of Professional Presentations

Wednesday, May 25, 2022
1:00 pm to 2:30 pm

Nuts and Bolts of Professional Presentations

Being able to clearly communicate your research is a key skill in almost any field. One common way we share the impact of our work is through professional presentations, like seminars that are part of a job interview or short talks that are part of symposia at meetings and conferences. Most of us create our presentations by opening PowerPoint, filling our slides with detailed text and explanation, and then dropping in figures, charts, or images. This results in presentations that are often complicated and filled with jargon that overwhelms your audience as opposed to impressing them. The best presentations are stories – narratives of what motivated the study or research, the approach taken, and the final outcome. Different types of talks require different types of stories, and the type of story you tell determines how you create and use your slides. In this workshop, we will discuss how to approach presentations as narratives that take your audience on a shared journey of discovery and cover basic concepts on how to create and use slides that clearly present information in a logical and easily digestible way.

You will learn: 

  • How to prepare different types of professional presentations, including conference presentations, academic job talks, chalk talks, and non-academic job talks.
  • The goals and outcomes of various types of professional presentations.
  • Basic principles of slide design and approaches to describing figures, images, and graphs to keep information concise, clear, and increase your audience’s understanding of the content.

Join us for the presentation from 1:00 to 2:15 pm; an optional Q&A session follows from 2:15 until 2:30 pm.

Garth Fowler, PhDGarth Fowler, PhD, is the former Associate Executive Director for the Center for Education in Psychology at the American Psychological Association, where he directed the APA’s efforts in producing resources and information to help psychology graduate students, postdoctoral trainees, and those who teach them improve their training and career success. Before coming to APA, Garth was a faculty member and Assistant Chair in the Northwestern University Department of Neurobiology. His first job after finishing his postdoc was the Outreach Program Manager for Science Careers, the online career resources for Science Magazine & AAAS. Garth has a BA in Psychology from the College of Wooster, a PhD in Behavioral Neuroscience from the University of Washington-Seattle, and was a postdoctoral fellow at the Salk Institute in San Diego, CA.

A Zoom link will be shared with confirmed registrants. This event is part of the Academic Job Search Series and the Careers Beyond Academia series sponsored by the Office of Postdoctoral Services and The Graduate School. Questions? Email Molly Starback, Director of Duke Postdoctoral Services, at

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Event Category

  • Professional Development
  • Core Competencies