InaDWriMo and Presentation

For all practical purposes, I've reached my goals and am done with InaWriMo for this year. My gratitude to Dr. Brazen Hussy for organizing again this year! The friendly competition added just a little extra to my deadline driven motivations to write. Plus, I wouldn't have counted words without it and seeing my progress also provided a little boost of much needed confidence each day. 

Since sending the document to my committee, I have been putting together my talk. In my department, there is a public lecture followed by a private defense with the committee. I really enjoy giving talks, but this one is particularly challenging because it requires a lot of balance. 

The department is very broad so I need to make sure everyone understands it without compromising the complex theoretical underpinnings of the research. Also, I need to balance the details with the big picture. My number one complaint about defenses I've seen is that they do not effectively convey why I should care about their research or where it fits in the greater scheme of our field. Now I am seeing how difficult it can be to compromise another slide of data for this larger background. 

Then there is the PPT issue. I'm very picky about the aesthetics of presentations and am not 100% happy with any color scheme I've tried thus far. I really like the dark grey background with green and blue text and highlights that I've been using for about a year now....but it isn't new and fresh since I've used it for the past year. I even tried to make a color scheme that resembles to blog here! Unfortunately, it makes my figures look bland. 

So, great interwebs...I ask your advice. What is the number one recommendation for the content of a dissertation lecture and what is the best PPT color scheme you've ever used?


Academic said...

Avoid using the standard template backgrounds. You can be much better served by using the solid color background with color schemes but be prepared to check the colors on a projector so your text does not get lost.

Belle said...

Don't overwork it to the point you lose your passion. Go for the clear, clean ppt - and the 'so what' part of the presentation.

And best of luck!

ScienceGirl said...

Assuming you give an hour long talk, a good plan for what you will talk about and a way to tell people where you are as you go along is very helpful (I do my presentations in latex and it has a great way to do this - something along the progress bars for each part of the talk). I like clean and crisp color schemes.

Unbalanced Reaction said...

I use a very clean ppt design. I use the darkest of the school colors for accent lines and put the school logo in the corner. A line of the dark color goes across the top, under your slide titles, and a line goes along the bottom. (Sometimes I'll do a left edge of just the darkest color, too.) This gives you a nice separation between slide content and references. I think it's a fairly common way of doing slides.

Oh, and I always, always use white background and black text. Just be careful that you don't have any super dark figures: avoid inducing a seizure in an audience member at all costs! :-)

Good luck!

Geeka said...

I always had a lot of immunofluoresence in my presentations, so I tended to use a black background.

For my defense, I used a keynote background that looked like speaker fronts (like the perforated metal), with white text, except when I needed something bolded, in which I used a fluorescent pink.

Whatever you do, do not use the blue and yellow scheme. and no comic sans!

Luke said...

custom bullets, and avoid blue and white...it's striking for most, but if you have any color blind audience members, they won't be able to see anything. I learned that one in grad school

Sneks said...

If you do white with black text, I'll kill you!

I am sure whatever you choose will be great -- especially if you throw in a few pretty photos!

Karina said...

I also like black on white but with some kind of border. My favorite slide template I saw used an awesome wide photo as a border at the top.

Also, TAG!.

Ambivalent Academic said...

Since I incorporate a lot of fluorescent images I really have to use a black background so that my images are not overwhelmed by the brightness of the rest of the slide.

For a while I tried using a white background for non-image slides but found that the audience had to adjust their eyes again every time I transitioned back to black...so now I stick with black background, no fancy graphics (let the data shine) and bright lettering (NEVER red on a black background.

Albatross said...

Thanks for all the suggestions! I use white with black text to teach but for this one I ended up using a dark, dark grey backgroun with brighter green title font and structural line beneath title, and blue bullet text. Most slides were combos of text and pics or text and graphs.
A lot of my color scheme is what will not clash with pics of my study system!