John Cronin

SpR Emergency Medicine. Paeds EM Research Fellow@croninjj | + John Cronin | Contact

About John Cronin

SpR Emergency Medicine. Paeds EM Research Fellow@croninjj | + John Cronin | Contact

The 10 commandments of presenting

click for source

Moses used the earliest version of PowerPoint to present his (or in actual fact His) commandments. Despite not having the endless online resources (no WiFi on the mountaintop) to help him with his presentation and his skills, he managed to make his message clear and concise. If only all presentations were like this. He did however use bullet points….naughty Moses! The good people behind SMACC have just launched their plans for a Pecha Kucha SMACC-talk competition.

Reading about PK talks for the 1st time got me thinking about the Presentation Commandments that should be followed whether your presentation is of the PK variety or not.

Check out these for some more info before we get started.

A video on Pecha Kucha concept




Most of what follows are pretty intuitive but  please let me know what the 10thcommandment should be – in fact I’m sure there are many tips that I have left out so in the spirit of FOAM leave a comment below.

  1. The audience have come to see you not your slides
  2. Tell a story – we all like stories
  3. Don’t insult your audience by reading out slides that they can read themselves. Don’t stick a load of information on your slide and wing it by reading it out
  4. Face your audience
  5. If there is a podium, get out from behind it (just be sure your flies aren’t undone)
  6. Some people hate PowerPoint and that is understandable given its omnipresence at conferences/lectures/teaching sessions, and given the poor quality of so many PowerPoint presentations. I don’t advise to ditch PowerPoint completely but think carefully about what you do and do not put on your slides
  7.  But don’t ALWAYS use PowerPoint. If you have a Mac, try Keynote.
    • or Prezi
    • or Powtoon
    • or go old school and use a flipboard and black marker
    • or try to give a talk sometime without any of these props
    • Using these different modalities will challenge you as a speaker and make you think about how you convey your message
  8. Even the most experienced speaker needs to practice and rehearse beforehand. In fact the most experienced speakers will always practice and rehearse beforehand
  9. Respect your audience
    • be aware of who they are and what their background(s) is(are)
    • if you don’t know for sure take a few minutes at the start to find out
    • explain why the subject matter or what you are about to tell them is important (for them)
    • think about what message you want them to go away with and make sure you give it to them clearly

How would you react?

[Ed. Time for another new author on the site. John Cronin is an EM trainee in Ireland and currently a paeds EM research fellow in Dublin. Find out some more here]

One of the issues in our specialty is that sometimes we are on the receiving end of guff/disrespect/unpleasantness (call it what you will) from our colleagues up the house. On the whole I think this is relatively rare and hopefully doesn’t happen in the vast majority of referrals/communications.

I often wonder though, when I find myself in these situations, how others would have dealt with it. So here’s my chance to find out. Please let me know what you would have done (if anything) – all comments welcome. This is a case I saw a good while back

6 y.o. fall onto L elbow, attends your ED one evening:

Crying; swollen, bruised elbow; no open wounds; no distal NV compromise

You quickly supply appropriate analgesia, a backslab and send to X-ray

Gartland III Supracondylar Fracure

Gartland III Supracondylar Fracure – Click for source []

You call ortho and the (relatively junior) registrar attends promptly. You give the whole story. The ortho reg sees the patient and, after talking to his boss, consents them for OT. The ortho reg says that he does not want to take down the back slab as it will cause too much pain to the child, preferring to wait until the child is under anaesthetic in theatre (sounds reasonable). And he asks a second time:

Ortho reg: “Is there definitely no wound?”

You: “No, definitely not.”

Ortho Reg: “Good, cos if we go up there and there is one when we take down the back slab, my boss will have my head, and then I’ll come down here and have your head!”

Your reaction:

  1. This is a perfectly reasonable thing for him to say, don’t know why we’re even discussing it
  2. The ortho reg is probably under some stress – have some tea and buns ready for him when he’s finished in theatre, and invite him to give a teaching session to the ED physicians on the management of open fractures at his convenience
  3. Don’t say anything and discuss it with your boss the next day
  4. Tell him that that’s not a very nice thing to say, and that you don’t appreciate that kind of tone in the ED
  5. “Have his head” there and then
  6. Say nothing, decide that someone with that kind of attitude is not worth conversing with, let it fester and write a blogpost about it sometime later
  7. Something like this:

8. Something else entirely – let me know what?