Talking the Talk

In preparation for my talk to the Pediatric Oncology care team at Mott (tomorrow!), I’ve been  trying to figure out what it means to actually give a talk. I’ve taught classes, led discussions, and given presentations before, but there’s something different about giving a ‘talk’. And while I gave a mock one a few weeks ago, I wanted to make sure I was entirely up to speed before presenting my English research to a room full of physicians and nurses.

Two resources in particular have been of great help to me, in addition to all the people with the patience to hear me rehearse.

1. How to Give an Academic Talk, v4.0, Paul Edwards

Edwards outlines the good and the bad in the art of academic talk. He considers things to think about in preparation for the before, during, and after.  He contrasts the better and the worse and discusses some of the decisions required in giving a talk. The conversational tone of this guide helps to transform tips into tangible examples.

My favorite thought: plan a final sentence. So, so important to end powerfully and let your words resonate.

2. How to Give a Killer Presentation, Chris Anderson

Anderson from TED proves that everyone has the potential to give a powerful TED talk. He illustrates the story of Richard Terere, a shy boy from Kenya who was able to tell his story smoothly and effectively with training. Anderson draws attention to the importance of simplicity, preparation, presence, tools, and overall cohesion. Interwoven through his guide are TED talks that reinforce his points.

My favorite thought: “A successful talk is a little miracle- people see the world differently afterward” (122)

I hope that my talk will leave Pediatric Oncologist physicians and nurses with an increased awareness of narrative in the medical sphere and an appreciation for what narrative can illuminate.


Filed under Chronicling Childhood Cancer: Illuminating the Illness Experience through Narrative

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