When designing a PowerPoint presentation, one of the first choices one makes is the slide size. PowerPoint has switched to default 16:9 aspect ratio of the presentations a couple of years ago, which follows the trend of "wide-everything", including smartphones, computer monitors, TVs, and projectors & beamers. But with the craze to wide-everything, is 16:9 slide presentation aspect ratio the best choice for all circumstances? Here are my thoughts.
For the majority of the last decade, I've been working as a professional communicator. I make my living by thinking about and communicating my clients' complex ideas and by teaching others how to communicate. I've thought about communication a lot and would like to share some thoughts on what I believe constitutes effective communication.
Every important communication should be planned. You can try to wing it, however, your chance of success increases significantly if you plan. What should you plan for? I believe there are two important ingredients. The audience and the goal. As different audiences require different approaches you should clearly ...
What is a graphical abstract?
A graphical abstract (also called 'visual TOC' or 'TOC figure' or 'visual abstract') is a figure that succinctly visually conveys what your research is about. They have been a part of scientific publications for decades in some research fields (e.g. chemistry) but have only recently penetrated other research fields. As there is not a lot of literature on graphical abstracts, I'll share some of my findings from analyzing thousands of graphical abstracts from different journals.
If you are a scientist, a large part of your career success depends on whether your research will be published, cited, and your project/grant proposals funded. As you’ve most probably already realized, even the most groundbreaking results will be neglected and often missed by the community if they are not effectively communicated. However, to effectively communicate, we should first understand the audience and how they consume information. The aim of this post is therefore to present a perspective on how most scientists read research papers when they first encounter them (which will most probably happen online).
1. When we first open papers, ...
As you most probably know from your own experience, scientists are overwhelmed by their work. From the first day of the PhD studies, you have to constantly follow literature, do your research, and communicate through papers and conferences. Once your career advances, you will also have to apply for funding and patents, hire and manage people, teach and mentor students and so on. Therefore, when you are preparing any scientific communication, you should consider the readers: they are most probably busy, overworked and tired, just like you. The communication method you use has to help them understand the main message effortlessly.
When people who are ...