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Welkin

It seems counterintuitive, but the shorter the talk, the more you need to prepare (something I learned while a student in John Coffin's lab when, every May, we prepared our talks for the annual migration to the Cold Spring Harbor Retroviruses meeting). I have known people to argue that they don't want to plan exactly what they are going to say for a talk, because then it doesn't sound "natural". This is fine for a 30-60 minute seminar, when you have some time to "think" as you go, and your audience is prepared to sit still for up to an hour while you search for the right word. But this attitude can be fatal for a ten or fifteen minute talk - there's not a lot of "thinking" time, and just because you know your data doesn't mean you know how to explain it in a few seconds....or that you will remember anything other than your name when faced with a live audience and a timer that is quickly ticking down to zero.

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