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PowerPoint Presentation at a faculty job interview

PostPosted: Sat Mar 18, 2006 11:42 am
by Wendy
I'll go for my first faculty job interview soon. I'll be asked to give a powerpoint presentation. Can anybody provide some advices on how to do a good presentation for a faculty job interview? Thanks in advance,

Wendy

PowerPoint Presentation at a faculty job interview

PostPosted: Sat Mar 18, 2006 12:03 pm
by MPB

I would say that the single most important thing is to make sure that you provide your audience with some background information about what you are doing and why you are doing it. Why is it important? Why should anyone care about it? So many times, I see presenters just launch into a lot of technical data without anything to anchor the presentation. Don't assume that everyone in the room is an expert on your topic. Briefly define technical terms, abbreviations, and acronyms. If you use any unusual methods, explain them.

Make sure that the transition from slide to slide is logical. Don't start to present something on topic A, change gears to topic B, and then jump back to A again. Get someone else to go through the presentation with you to check the organization. Your presentation should tell a story. Think of it as though you are storyboarding a movie.

Avoid animations and other eye candy unless you really need to animate something.



PowerPoint Presentation at a faculty job interview

PostPosted: Sat Mar 18, 2006 4:51 pm
by Wendy
MPB,

Thank you very much for your important advices which are definitely helpful for my coming talk. I will have moren than 10 faculty members to interview me. Do you have an idea how I can do best to impress them?

Wendy

PowerPoint Presentation at a faculty job interview

PostPosted: Sat Mar 18, 2006 5:35 pm
by Baoloa
You have to think of your audience first. Be kind to them. Help them to understand what it is you are doing. With ten people having an input they are not all going to be specialists in your area, so you should omit very technical slides. You could have them available to bring up if technical questions get asked, but generally avoid having them in the main part of your talk.

The best thing would be to rehearse your talk with a friend or associate who doesn't know your field very well and pay good attention to their feedback.

In the end, your talk is a bit like a commercial, you are selling yourself and your ideas, so it doesn't matter so much that you show how technically brilliant you are. It matters much more if your audience wants to "buy" you.

PowerPoint Presentation at a faculty job interview

PostPosted: Sat Mar 18, 2006 6:48 pm
by Wendy
Thank you Baoloa, very good advice. So important thing is my idea or vision about my research, not my technical capability. I must consider who is the audience and have a tailored talk with each of faculty members who will interview me.

PowerPoint Presentation at a faculty job interview

PostPosted: Sun Mar 19, 2006 8:25 am
by P.C.
Be sure towards the end to put in a section about where your research is and where you are going to take it in terms of developing outside funding, not necessarily spelled out that way but future directions.

PowerPoint Presentation at a faculty job interview

PostPosted: Sun Mar 19, 2006 1:36 pm
by Wendy
John, thanks for your advice. I thought the section 'future direction' should be very important, since the search committee will consider the section as what I am going to put in a grant application once hired. Do you think the future direction should be exactly the same as the research plan required by the committee before interview?

PowerPoint Presentation at a faculty job interview

PostPosted: Sun Mar 19, 2006 3:00 pm
by Alison
Content aside, make sure of the following (very obvious) things:

Each slide is clear, completely legible, and neatly laid out.

Make sure you know the slides inside out and backwards so you are not surprised by the slides. I was at a tt interview presentation recently where the candidate seemed constantly surprised by what the next slide contained and because of this,had already talked about most of it on the previous slides.

If you 'borrow' slides and figures from other people, make sure you fit them in seamlessly to your presentation style (again, based on recent experience, subtle clues like a slightly different background colour, or font give the game away).

Every group has their own 'internal language' and short forms for talking about work, be it abbreviations, shortened names etc. These must be explained or you must become accustomed to using the full names of techniques, etc. Often these shortened names are incorrect and may be spotted by vigilant faculty.

Its highly possible that you will be interupted by the faculty members for questions during the presentation. Come up with a good series of stock answers like: 'that's a very valid point, but I'm going to address it in a few slides time if it can wait until then'. In a similar vein, practice giving the presentation to a 'bad audience' who ask questions, talk amongst themselves, arrive late, leave early, leave their mobile phones on etc. The recent searh at my university saw the faculty behaving generally like a bunch of chimps at the talks (disinterested, rude etc) and this threw the candidates out a lot.

If there are going to be grad students at your presentation it is highly likely they are sitting with assessment sheets for your talk inwhich they will be ranking your potential as a mentor, supervisor and researcher.

One of the candidates in our recent search did not make it clear what parts of the research he presented were actually done by him - turned out on questioning that it was mainly grad students. This did not go down well. Giving credit where credit is due shows your fairness and ability to guide and mentor students in work. They always find out if you are being slightly less than honest in your talk.

Then the usual, make sure you stick to your time, that your presentation will work flawlessly on whatever laptop is used, and that you are comfortable and confident giving the talk.

I like the suggestion of making the slides tell a story, its the perfect analogy.

Good luck.

A






PowerPoint Presentation at a faculty job interview

PostPosted: Sun Mar 19, 2006 3:52 pm
by Dave Jensen
Alison,

I have a question for you regarding the academic selection process. If it is OK with you, I'd love to exchange a couple of emails. Thank you for all your help on this forum. Please private email me if you can, and I promise to be brief.

Thanks, Dave Jensen, Moderator

PowerPoint Presentation at a faculty job interview

PostPosted: Sun Mar 19, 2006 7:34 pm
by Wendy
Alison, thank you very much for your helpful technical tips on interview presentation. I agree that slides tell a story, either good one or bad one. I'll work hard on my slides. Have a nice weekend, Wendy.