I think this may be my be first ever blog post on professional matters (please be gentle on me).
I may have not done a lot of conference presentations myself but after going to a lot of conferences and seminars you start to pick up on what constitutes a good presentation. What will keep you engaged as an audience member and what makes you fidget, lose interest or worse still, fall asleep.
At the recent conference I went to at mpow on digital healthcare I was amazed to still see presenters with text heavy slides, reading directly from their slides and trying to pack their entire research project into a 15 minute presentation. More experienced presenters had slides filled with images and key points of text but the presentations from inexperienced presenters, mainly university researchers, were so text laden I struggled to keep focussed. Their topics were interesting but I drowned in too much detail.
So it got me thinking. Are oral presentation skills something libraries need to teach researchers along with data management and scholarly publishing? I definitely think that the oral dissemination of research output via conferences and seminars is, or should be, as important to researchers as written outputs.
From a quick and dirty search of 10 university library websites in Australia*, I found that Monash University Library was the only one that mentions oral presentation skills in the services they offer to researchers.
Do other libraries offer this as a service and I just couldn’t find it mentioned in my quick and dirty search?
If not, do you think libraries should offer presentation skills as a service to researchers?
*Please note I have no affilation with any university and I only searched those that I could think of at the time. This is only meant as a fact finding mission on my part to see whether that this is something that is already happening and I just didn’t know about.