5 Questions with Dr. Daniel Lowenstein

In the previous post, we were introduced to Dr. Daniel Lowenstein and his “Last Lecture” presentation, which was both powerful and inspiring. Shortly after writing the post, Dr. Lowenstein contacted me, and we had an interesting discussion about his experience preparing for, and delivering that presentation.

I have always wanted to incorporate the voices of the instructors, students, and staff at UCSF, who work in the trenches and present or attend presentations on a daily basis. This post marks the beginning of a new series that will feature interviews of those people. I hope you enjoy the first episode of “5 Questions!”

5 Questions with Dr. Lowenstein

Bonus track: The Basement People

The full version of the original presentation has recently been uploaded to the UCSF Public Relations YouTube channel, so please head over there to watch the video, like it, and leave your comments!

last lecture youtube

If you have any ideas about who the next 5 Questions interviewee should be, please contact me or leave your ideas in the comments section below.

Top 5 Lessons Learned from The Last Lecture

Powerful. Inspirational. Emotionally moving.

Those are the words that best describe Dr. Daniel Lowenstein’s “The Last Lecture” presentation, delivered to a packed house in Cole Hall on April 25th. The Last Lecture is an annual lecture series hosted by a UCSF professional school government group (and inspired by the original last lecture), in which the presenter is hand-picked by students and asked to respond to the question, “If you had but one lecture to give, what would you say?” Dr. Daniel Lowenstein, epilepsy specialist and director of the UCSF Epilepsy Center, did not disappoint. In fact, I can say with confidence that he delivered one of the best presentations that I have attended.

Rather than attempt to paraphrase his words, or provide a Cliff Notes version that doesn’t do his presentation justice, I will instead encourage you to watch the video recording of his presentation. The video is an hour in length, and if you have any interest in becoming a better presenter yourself, it is a must-watch. After the jump, we’ll explore my top “top 5 lessons learned” from Dr. Lowenstein’s presentation.

last lecture youtube

Last Lecture – Top 5 Lessons Learned: Continue reading

Top 10 Moments from “Confessions of a Converted Lecturer”

I stumbled upon a real gem this week, thanks to the Presentation Zen master himself, Garr Reynolds. The gem is a recorded lecture given by Harvard physicist, Eric Mazur, titled “Confessions of a Converted Lecturer.” He describes the trials and tribulations that he went through while trying to be come the best lecturer, and teacher, that he could be. This is a man who truly cares about student learning. In my opinion, he absolutely crushes this one out of ball park and deep into McCovey Cove.

(Click here to cheat, and access the abridged version.)

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Creativity

John Cleese is my new hero. His genius extends well beyond the confines of Monty Python. I had heard about his lecture on creativity from multiple sources, and finally watched it. In my opinion, he really nails it. Watch the video, and then we’ll discuss its connection to presenting better after the jump!

“Creativity is not a talent, it’s a way of operating.”

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Seminar Bingo!

When was the last time you went to a seminar and didn’t sit through at least one boring presentation? I suspect it’s been a while. Slide after slide of charts, and scatter graphs, and bullet points, all delivered in a monotone voice by a talking suit, right after lunch… I’m getting exhausted just thinking about it. Well you’re in luck, because I’ve found the perfect solution to combat this boredom, and it’s called Seminar Bingo. Enjoy!

seminar bingoImage originally posted on PHDcomics.com, here: http://www.phdcomics.com/comics/archive.php?comicid=847

PowerPoint-Induced Trends in Higher Ed

eBay Time MachineIf you want to be a well respected blogger with a contingent of loyal followers, you need to be entertaining and relevant, and you also need to back up your posts with legitimate data and references. Taking my own advice, and not to be outdone by my peers, I decided to do some serious research for this post. I wanted to find proof that PowerPoint is the driving force behind a number of trends in higher education… trends that adversely affects a student’s ability to learn. So naturally, I bought a time machine on eBay, and traveled 50 years into the future to witness the results of these trends with my own eyes. What I saw was frightening, yet predictable. Here is an excerpt from my time travel journal:

March 6, 2063 ~ Textbooks are officially dead, and word on the street is that they were killed off systematically and without mercy by well-placed PowerPoint bullet points and stylish clip art. Student are building bonfires Ray Bradbury style. White board markers are outlawed in universities across the nation, and instructors are required to use government-issued PowerPoint templates and laser pointers when lecturing. I have been hiding out with a small contingent of outcasts who call themselves Citizens Against PowerPoint Abuse (CAPPA for short). They organize regular demonstrations against PowerPoint and advocate for a return to the good ‘ol days of group projects and learning games. In their eyes, the world is coming to end, and on the day of reckoning, it will look like this:

PowerPoint template slidesBut seriously folks [insert laugh track], it is 2013 and PowerPoint is already changing the way instructors teach and students learn. Some of these trends are good, but many are not. In this post, I’d like to highlight a few of the more prominent trends, and then pose a few ideas for reversing them… before it’s too late! Continue reading

Top 5 reasons to Prezi

Prezi’s are to presenters as 3D printers are to designers; no one really knows what they are or how they work, but everyone wants one! I get more questions about Prezi than any other presentation design tool. It is 100% unique, used by presenters all over the globe, and contrary to popular belief, quite easy to use.

Is Prezi worth all the hype? In my opinion, yes, it is, and here are the top 5 reasons why: Continue reading

Persuade with Stories (pt 2)

Oh, the Places You'll Go!In part 1 of this post, we learned about the power of storytelling, and why it is an important technique to include in our presentations. In part 2 we will consider some strategies for applying the technique of storytelling directly to your health sciences presentations.

Before we begin, however, let’s chat for minute… off the record, because I know what you’re thinking. Your presentations are very serious business, and no one will take you seriously if stop to tell a story in the middle of it all. Am I right?! Continue reading

TEDx is coming to UCSF!

TED conferences are held annually in locations all across the globe, bringing together some of the world’s most innovative thinkers. Their collective mission is to disseminate “ideas worth spreading.” Suffice to say, the conferences are a pretty big deal. (See previous posts for more info, here and here.)

I apologize for the late notice, but I have some exciting news to share. With the help of UCSF’s Global Health Sciences division, TEDx is coming to UCSF’s Mission Bay campus this Saturday, November 10th!

This event’s title is “7 Billion Well: Re-imagining Global Health,” and its focus is on the most pressing health issues in the world today.

TEDx events are smaller, regionally-accessible and independently organized off-shoots of the big conference. But don’t be fooled, the speakers are no less inspiring. TEDx San Francisco was the first of its kind, and is rolling along with over 4,000 members and 60 volunteers. And the best part about TEDx, is that normal people can actually afford tickets!

For details and tickets, visit the TEDx San Francisco home page: http://tedxsf.org/

If you want to meet innovative people with great ideas who want to make a difference, Mission Bay is the place to be on Saturday. We hope to see you there!

Persuade with Stories (pt 1)

Storyteller paintingEvery presenter wants their presentation to be a memorable experience for the audience. We want the audience to leave our presentation with new ideas, new perspectives, and new knowledge. If we can affect the audience in some way, allow them to relate to us, and move them emotionally, they are more likely to remember the information we present. What is the secret to accomplishing all of these things? Should we add more bullet points, more images, and more videos to our slide shows? Do we need to add more 3D slide transitions and bouncing text animations? Should we learn to tap dance or juggle? No, of course not. The secret is simple; we need to become better storytellers!

But what does it mean to be a storyteller, and how does this skill apply to a PowerPoint presentation? Let’s ask the experts!

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