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Because I am very, very stressed - helen-louise — LiveJournal
Because I am very, very stressed
Does anyone know roughly how long a 10 minute talk should be in terms of word count?

I know that I'm not supposed to write the entire script of the talk and read it out, but it'll be much easier to learn if I write it out first at least in bullet points. But I can't work out how long that should be.

I also don't understand why giving a talk should be so much scarier than teaching a class. How come I have a kind of intrinsic knowledge of how long it will take to present material in that context, but not in this context?

The 6-slide limit really doesn't help.

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Current Mood: anxious anxious

9 comments or Leave a comment
annaoj From: annaoj Date: 11th February 2012 03:19 (UTC) (Link)
I know that with Acoustical Society talks, they say you should take at least a minute per slide (and suggest no more than 10 slides for a 12 minute talk/3 minutes questions talk, though almost no one actually does that). The talk I gave in November (my first talk-not-poster in 15 years of going to this conference!) was just over 12 minutes, and *checks* just over 2000 words, mostly scripted but a couple slide discussions weren't fully scripted. So maybe 1500-1700 words for 10 minutes? ish?
baratron From: baratron Date: 11th February 2012 03:48 (UTC) (Link)
Okay... that only means losing 86-88% of my document, then!

Yes, I'm trying to give a talk about my literature report, which was 12133 words including figure captions but excluding references.

I've identified a few sections that are too technical or too geeky in a particular subfield to be included, but I am totally floundering at how to remove the rest of it!

(It would have helped if there'd been a word limit for the literature report. Then everyone would be working with the same contraints).
johnckirk From: johnckirk Date: 11th February 2012 03:45 (UTC) (Link)
When I went to a speech therapist, he said that I should aim for a maximum of 100 words/minute in normal speech. Based on that, a 10 minute talk would be 1000 words.
baratron From: baratron Date: 11th February 2012 03:51 (UTC) (Link)
That means losing 92% of my original document! Argh!

...Though that implies that I'm trying to produce something like an Executive Summary rather than covering the material in any detail, which is interesting.
hiddenpaw From: hiddenpaw Date: 11th February 2012 09:28 (UTC) (Link)
Line up whatever small fuzzy creatures you think may be interested on the sofa in front of you and give your lecture. See how long it runs and hack accordingly.

This is also a great way to make sure something makes sense when people can't see the punctuation.

Interesting to note that the Bible really works better when read out loud than when just read. This is because when the King James version was translated the translators read out loud what they had done to each other. If you want a speech to sound good this is really the best way.
mjl From: mjl Date: 11th February 2012 10:26 (UTC) (Link)
I think I'm just reinforcing what others already said at this point, but...

I have some notes from a course I did a while ago, and it says roughly 100-150 words per minute. It also says it varies a lot, so you should present it to a friend/colleague and time it.

And yes, 6 slides and 10 minutes doesn't sound like they're expecting a presentation of the material as such. Rather than trying to cut down by 90%, I would think it might be easier to write half a dozen bullet points, put the report aside, and then write a paragraph or two about each bullet point, and read it aloud in order to edit from there...
alexmc From: alexmc Date: 11th February 2012 10:33 (UTC) (Link)
My feeling to this is that you should write it out in bullet form and read it - but only for practice and learning how to create a ten minute talk.

Practice makes things less stressful!
a_musing_amazon From: a_musing_amazon Date: 11th February 2012 12:28 (UTC) (Link)
Mostly agree with what others have to say. It can only be an overview of your research, so just 4 of so sectiosn (covering such areas as what's the problem, previous work/why new, methods, what you are seeking to discover/prove. You may want to use one/two slides for something more detailed/graphic e.g. a chemical diagram. If it was me I'd feel able to just wing it from there, but if you are less confident then do script it and if possible practice on someone first (Wuzzy?).
syllopsium From: syllopsium Date: 11th February 2012 15:22 (UTC) (Link)
There is no substitute for reading it out and seeing how it flows. Depending on the subject matter, your mode of speaking and the audience it differs. I imagine your target audience will be knowledgeable about the general area of your talk, and that it'd be quite technical.

Six slides sounds about right - there isn't enough time to digest and explain more than that in ten minutes, plus include an introduction and conclusion.
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