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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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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TEDMED: Top 10 Do’s and Don’ts

TED MED 2012TEDMED 2012 was simulcast to 2000 locations across the country last week, including UCSF. I was able to view a number of sessions, and paid close attention the presenters and their delivery. I was curious to see how these industry leaders would present their innovative ideas to a large audience. Would they use PowerPoint? Would they use the traditional lecture method? Would they use props, humor, or metaphors? Would the audience be given the opportunity to participate?

For the most part, the presentations were examples of good practice, but there were also a few examples of bad practice. I have identified 10 notable Do’s and Don’ts, and present these to you in the list below. We can learn a great deal from observing other presenters, especially during a showcase event like TEDMED. I encourage you to share your own thoughts in the comments section at the end of this post!

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TEDMED @ UCSF

Can’t make it to D.C. next week for TEDMED? Don’t worry, because we’ve got you covered! The event is going to be streamed live, at multiple locations across our UCSF campuses, April 10th – 13th. I highly recommend taking advantage of this opportunity. TEDMED attracts dynamic, cutting-edge thinkers from around the globe.

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TED.com: A Doctor’s Touch

TED.com is a great resource for inspiration. TED (technology, entertainment and design) is a non-profit organization that facilitates a series of global conferences during which the world’s leading minds present their ideas. On TED.com, you can watch hundreds of presentations from the conferences for free. There are number of health and health care presentations to explore.

This one in particular caught my eye: TED.com – A Doctor’s Touch. I challenge you to explore these presentation videos, and then compare/contrast their delivery and design style with “typical PowerPoint” presentations that you are accustomed to. Please provide your thoughts in the comments area below!