Scientific Presentations
The Assertion-Evidence Approach

Michael Alley, Penn State

Memory Maps:
A Memory Tool for Presentations

As discussed in The Craft of Scientific Presentations, the best presenters in engineering and science do not read from scripts, carry around notecards, or read bulleted lists off slides. Rather, the best presenters fashion their sentences on the spot, but after much planning and practice. A challenge for presenters in such a talk, though, is to recall the sequence of ideas in the talk. To help with this recall, Lori Mirald, Dr. Joanna Garner, and I are developing a tool that we call a memory map.

As with the Method of Loci, a memory map arranges important images or mnemonics from a talk in a strategic fashion. Before the talk, the speaker practices with the map, glancing at it when she or he cannot recall the next idea. Shown on the left is a memory map for a speech of introduction (no slides projected for this talk). To view possible words spoken during this speech, download the file and view the second notes page below the map.

Shown on the right is a memory map for a short technical talk (only two slides projected for this talk). The memory map contains those two slides as well as key transition phrases. To create this map, I simply copied the two slides of the talk onto the map and then arranged the key details and transitions around those slides. As with the first memory map, I used this map as a memory aid when practicing the talk. To view possible words spoken during this talk, download the file on the right and view the notes pages.


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Content Editor: Michael Alley