I’ve been strongly reminded of this the past week or so as I start to grade semester-end proposals, plans, presentations, Prezis and Powerpoints. I thought I’d pass it along to the masses, and if for no other reason, for a gentle reminder to myself then next time I pull together a presentation:
1. When you’re doing a presentation or talk, get good, solid references for your bibliography. While you don’t have to end up using all of them, at least it shows you did your homework. And yes, while I usually hate the adage of “more is better,” because that isn’t always the case, I think here, more references really are better, because it shows you’ve done your homework.
2. When you are citing references in a slide, use a footnote, then use the citation on the bottom of the slide. It matters which form you use less (BlueBook if in the legal world, APA in the science world, etc.) it matters more that the reader can quickly get to the source of your quote/citation by eyeballing the slide. If you have a live link to the actual citation that you can include (even by tinyurl if you have to pare it down) include it. The more accessible you make the reference, the better. Nothing drives me crazier than multiple references on a multi-bulleted slide and I can’t tell which reference goes to which bullet. Make it EASY for the reader to link the cite to the reference.
3. Acronyms in professions are an abomination. If you dare to use acronyms, NEVER assume the audience knows what each acronym stands for….so….if you go there, spell it out the first time, and then use the acronym in parenthesis like this:
First time: “The Food and Drug Administration (FDA)”
Second and subsequent times: “FDA”
If I’ve learned anything from being multipational (or studying more than one profession), it’s that acronyms in one profession can mean something totally different in another. Make sure you’re clear about how you use your acronyms.
That’s it. If you can follow these 3 simple rules when citing your work, you’ll spare the reader and yourself a lot of grief by making it simple for the reader to follow your train of thought.