“Your Presentation Sucks”

One of the bigger aspects of critical care practice, especially for those of us in academics, is giving presentations. These may be very large, such as presenting at conferences and meetings, or small, delivering a quick talk to a group of learners. All of us have the experience of sitting through bad presentations. And we’ve all heard the phrase, “death by powerpoint.” As someone who started in web design and who considers themselves someone with an eye for good design and the importance of visual aesthetics, this is especially painful. But, for a long time, I just did my presentations the same way. I just thought that was how it had to be.

But, then I met Ross Fisher (we can say met when we’ve only met online, right?). Ross is a pediatric surgeon in the UK but he has become well known as “that presentation guy.” He has a great website, p cubed presentations, devoted to helping medical professionals to improve their presentations. And, to be clear, this is not just about better slide design. It’s about better presentation design. I’ve totally changed the way I give presentations based on a lot of Ross’ work and I think for the better.

Critical care professionals, no matter what your role or level of training, should look through the site and try to improve your presentations. We all want people to care about what we’re talking about, and these tips will help with that. The site covers lots of aspects of presentation design and delivery, but also covers different types of presentations. This is especially helpful in addressing the problem of, “well, sure, better presentations would be good, but I’m presenting a bunch of research data, so it won’t work.”

Here is a nice video of Ross discussing his strategies on presentation design and delivery at Queen’s University Pediatric Grand Rounds.

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