UMEM Educational Pearls

Category: Medical Education

Title: Giving a Lecture-Pearls and Pitfalls

Keywords: Lecture (PubMed Search)

Posted: 5/5/2009 by Rob Rogers, MD (Updated: 12/4/2023)
Click here to contact Rob Rogers, MD

Giving a Lecture-Pearls and Pitfalls

Giving a lecture is filled with many potential pearls and pitfalls. Here are just a few important points that are frequently discussed:

  • Stick to NO MORE than 3-4 take home points (people cannot remember more than that)
  • Really spend a lot of time on the opening and closing (know them cold). This is what people will remember.
  • Try to divide your talk into 5-10 minute chunks of material and DO NOT try to cover too much material....big mistake
  • Perhaps one of the most important aspects of giving a really good talk is practice. You should know your material well enough that you could give it if the power went out and the computer crashes. Practice is essential...and it should "out loud." This is often neglected and it shows when unprepared speakers get up in front of an audience.
  • Practice speaking without the use of verbal fillers ("ums"). This will improve as you practice more and more. Getting rid of these fillers may make the difference between a really good talk and an average talk. PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE speaking without using them!


For an entertaining discussion of the pearls and pitfalls if giving a presentation check out the May episode of EMRAP: Educators' Edition on iTunes (also on the website There is a great discussion by Greg Henry, Mel Herbert, and Amal Mattu. Check it out. It's free!



Amal Mattu, Joe Lex, Greg Henry