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Links I found interesting for 21-05-2014


( 8 comments — Leave a comment )
May. 21st, 2014 07:03 am (UTC)
Your first link isn't working?
May. 21st, 2014 09:25 am (UTC)
Worked fine for me.
May. 21st, 2014 09:35 am (UTC)
The first item, point 5: "font size of 80 points"

What? That's like saying your tyre pressure should be 32 psi, without considering whether it's for a Formula 1 racing car or a child's bike. It's way too big for a small meeting room with people gathered round a laptop screen, and so small as to be illegible in an arena where the main screen is 20' tall.

There's a serious point in there, but he's addressed it wrong. I'm wondering whether he's clueless regarding type sizes, and thinks "8o points" magically scales itself up and down to different sizes on different screens. Perhaps it's "80 points if Powerpoint prints it to an A4 sheet".)
May. 21st, 2014 10:02 am (UTC)
The Speaker's link reminds me of a few years back when I heard the Best Man's speech from hell. He started with 'I'd prepared a few lines, but I've just done them in the toilets with Father Patrick here.' Not, I'd suggest, the best thing to say at a wedding in rural Ireland. It went downhill from there...
Point is, know your audience, ignore this at your peril.
May. 21st, 2014 11:52 am (UTC)
I've got a couple of issues with some of the 10 Phrases thing. Checking that the mic is working appears to be essential at science conferences because they keep failing mid-talk. And if they all followed this "So please say, "I'll repeat that question first so everybody can hear it," and then answer it." suggestion, we'd be there all night.
May. 21st, 2014 02:55 pm (UTC)
Repeating the question is IMO one of the better points: if the speaker can't give a quick summary of the question they're about to answer, then I have little hope of a decent answer.

On the other hand, the formulaic phrase given may be problematic.

Given a scenario:
<mumbled question from the audience>

"We did, and we discounted it."
<mumbled question from the audience>

"I'll repeat that question first so everybody can hear it:

"'You say you found significance in the level of iso-thiotimoline found in the results, but did you consider possible contamination of the samples?'

"We did, and we discounted it."
<mumbled question from the audience>

"Did we consider possible contamination of the samples as a reason for the level of iso-thiotimoline?

"We did, and we discounted it."
I'd prefer the third. Given the rambling nature of some questions, you're probably quite right to be wary of the second. (Oh preserve us from the show-off questioner.) (Or the questioner who really wants one-on-one tutorial from the speaker.)

May. 21st, 2014 03:41 pm (UTC)
I also prefer 3, where possible, it's just not always possible, because of either the show-off or because of the nature of the question. One conference I went to did something I thought was really good, they instituted a scribble board for when diagrams were required, and because it was a flip-pad they diagrams remained so the beginners could go and ask the bigwigs detailed questions in the coffee/lunch/drinks breaks.
May. 21st, 2014 03:44 pm (UTC)
Yeah. Like so many of these things, it's advice that is so generalised as presented as to be of little value except as a starting point for discussion. But then that's rules of thumb (rule of thumbs ... rules of thumbs ... no) for you.
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