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Kate HowellsMay 30, 2019

Getting an Opportunity to Give Your Presentation

If you’d like to give a presentation on behalf of The Planetary Society in your community, you have two general options:

  1. Participate in an existing event
  2. Organize something yourself

Here we’ll walk you through some general guidelines for each option.

Participate in an existing event

Organize something yourself

If any of the events mentioned above don’t exist yet in your community, consider starting one! Talk to a local pub, bar, or brewery about hosting an informal talk. Create a group on Meetup or Facebook for space/science enthusiasts. Or just organize a get-together with friends who might be interested in learning about a space topic.

A volunteer at an Asteroid Day event in Leuven, Belgium showed a classic video of Carl Sagan on the Johnny Carson show, talking about solar sailing.

Giving a Great Presentation

When you’ve determined where and when you’ll give your presentation, the next thing to do is practice, practice, practice!

Make sure that you familiarize yourself with the content of the presentation really well so that you don’t have to read your notes while you present. You don’t have to memorize the exact words, but you should know the main points to cover for each slide. If there are aspects of a slide’s content that you don’t fully understand, do some additional online research until you are confident that you’ve got it. Once you know the content well enough, you’ll be able to speak about it in a natural way, in your own words, emphasizing what you think are the most interesting points. If it’s your style to do so, you might also add your own commentary or humor to the presentation, personalizing it and making it more engaging to your audience.

If you don't do much public speaking, record yourself giving the talk on your phone, and then watch your talk. Listen to it without watching it to catch verbal habits you may have. Watch it without sound to see if you have distracting physical habits. Watch out for talking too fast. Allow yourself to finish one sentence before going on to the next. Enunciate!

Answer questions if you can, but don’t be afraid to admit that you don’t have all the answers. It's never a bad thing to say "I don't know," and you can always follow that up with "here is how I would find out the answer." You can also direct people to to learn more about the topic. This is also a great way to encourage people to go out and learn more about a topic themselves.

Read more: Planetary Society Projects, Public Outreach, Planetary Society People, Planetary Society, Lecture

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Kate Howells

Communications Strategy & Canadian Space Policy Adviser for The Planetary Society
Read more articles by Kate Howells

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