TIMING. Many people have other classes or obligations after the seminars. Even if you are the only speaker, the presentation should take no more than 15 minutes; this is a good goal that will allow for late starts and interruptions. Fifteen minutes is enough time to give some background, make one or two strong points, and give a summary along with a projection of future plans. The talk, therefore, must be well organized and concise.

This time constraint is important; when there are two speakers in the hour, both should have enough time for their presentations, and there should be ample time for questions from the audience. It is also realistic, since most oral presentations at scientific meetings are limited to twenty minutes or less including time for questions. The Young Investigators Symposia at ACS meetings allow only 13 minutes for the presentations and 2 minutes for questions, and postdoc and student talks at the BE Retreats are strictly limited to 10 minutes.

One of the objectives of BATS is to help prepare you for giving talks at conferences, workshops, and job interviews: (see the C&EN article on this by clicking here).

If you are inexperienced, be sure to run through your presentation once or twice for a few friends, your research group, or the BE Writing Lab (jbgold@mit.edu).