Hypocrisy, incoherence, abuse of power, I’ve already got a job and can do whatever I please, practising what you preach is overrated, shame, disrespect, unprofessionalism…Every year, students at university are required more and more to deliver oral presentations and they’re given guidelines on time, clarity, display… which sound more like threats to be taken into account for grading than advice for them to learn.
Students think that someone who delivers at least an oral presentation—lecture—a day, can give advice based on professional experience. Duh! That’s what they’ve read or have been told, but few put it into practice. They can fool us on many things, but if there’s one thing students know better than anyone, that’s the quality of their oral presentations.
Allow me to give some examples of pieces of advice given and pearls of wisdom that ignore them [real sentences from researchers who go to conferences and enjoy luxurious feasts thanks to the European taxpayers].
Piece of advice: Rehearse the presentation and adapt to the time given.
Pearl: ‘This is the first time I do this speech and I don’t know how long it’ll take.’
Piece of advice: Stick to style, aesthetic and coherence criteria on your slides.
Pearl: ‘The presentation is in Catalan, but there’re also slides in Spanish or even English.’
Piece of advice: Make sure you know what you’re talking about.
Pearl: ‘This was called [insert specialised term], which I don’t know the meaning of, but it’s OK.’
Professors usually say ‘You’re not in high school any more, this is university’. Maybe it’s time for students to say ‘You’re not students any more, you’re getting paid for this’.