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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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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Presenting Data Better

Many attendees of The Better Presenter workshop are doctors or research scientists, and their presentations are very complex and often contain a lot of data. Half-way in to the workshop, after they have a good understanding of my approach to presenting, someone inevitably asks the question, “If I can’t use bullets points or tables and charts, how am I supposed to make my case? I can’t replace my data with images from iStock!”

First of all, I’m not suggesting that you remove all of the complexity from your slides and replace it with downloaded pictures of puppies and sunsets. What I am suggesting… Continue reading

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!

Steve Jobs on PowerPoint

Steve Jobs was widely recognized as one of the most dynamic and powerful speakers of his time. His presentation slides were simple yet bold, and were absent of steve jobs ipodextemporaneous data, text or images. His messages were clear and to the point, and he always had “one more thing” for the audience, keeping them on the edge of their seats until the very end. There are many reasons why he was so good, but this quote from the recent biography by Walter Isaacson provides a key insight, “People who know what they are talking about don’t need PowerPoint.

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