UVC: Megha Verma: Effective Presentations Communicate Evidence Better
The inaugural Understanding Vaccine Causation Conference, convened by World Council for Health Steering Committee Member, Shabnam Palesa Mohamed, took place on Feb. 5, 2022. The WCH Law and Activism Committee brought together legal practitioners, doctors, scientists, and jab victim data and advocacy groups to explore a key question: How are jab adverse events proved?
Megha Verma joined us for her presentation, Effective Presentations Communicate Evidence Better.
Shabnam Palesa Mohamed: We’re going to shift the mic over to Megha Verma now, and she’ll be talking to us about communicating causation effectively. Megha, I want to ask you to first introduce yourself, then perhaps give us your thoughts on why this conference is so important.
Megha Verma: Hello, Shabnam. Thank you. My name is Megha. I am a recent master’s student graduate. I studied neuroscience at the university of Western Ontario, and I work with the justice center and Michael Alexander to help advocate for constitutional rights, including the right to refuse vaccine. I think that this conference is very important because it’s brilliant minds from all over the world, sharing their creative strategies and their scientific and legal knowledge to help a very important cause. And I think collaboration is the only [00:01:00] way that we’re going to solve such a huge problem.
So today I’m going to be sharing key tips for effective communication. We all have brilliant ideas, but the most important thing, when you have a brilliant idea is to be able to share it with the people who matter, because if you can’t share the idea, then people can understand it and use it where it needs to be used.
So today I’m just going to be sharing some key tips that will help you do that. This is going to be participation heavy, so I’m going to need everyone to get ready to participate with their creative ideas. It’s very easy to explain concepts to someone in your own field, but it’s difficult to translate this outside your field.
I know that we have a mixture of scientists and lawyers in our audience. So scientists, I want you to take a minute to think about how you would define the word ATP to someone with no scientific background and lawyers, I want you to think about how you would define the word statute [00:02:00] to someone with no law background.
So I’ll give you 30 seconds to a minute and you’re allowed to cheat and Google if you want to. So let’s see what you guys come up with. You can type it in the chat.
Interesting, _packets of cellular energy, the body’s fuel. ATP equals cash_, that’s interesting. _The body’s energy currency. Universal energy currency. _
Yeah, so there’s a lot of metaphors here. A metaphor is, it’s a poetic term. That means we compare it to something that everybody already knows, like money.
_Give energy for ourselves._ I don’t have a lot of lawyers answering, only one. _Extracting energy from food._ Oh, this is a good one. _A special molecule with three phosphates adding the third one stores, lots of energy, so this can be used many places to power, other cellular processes._ _It’s the currency of cellular energy. _I like this definition from Mark because it introduces the actual word, the [00:03:00] jargon, which is adenosine triphosphate, but then it goes on to break up that jargon into what it actually means and signifies for the rest of the body.
_Statute, law passed by governments._ How’s that different from other laws passed by governments. Aren’t all laws passed by governments? _A law passed through legislature, as opposed to law passed by swords. _
_ATP is the molecule that transfers energy in the cells. It is similar to a cog in a machine. The energy from sugar is transferred to electrical energy._ I like this definition a lot because it actually describes what occurs at the cellular membrane when ATP transfers its energy to a cellular process. So good job Dirk Wessels. I hope I pronounced that right. _Statute is a rule or law which has been made by government or other organization and formally written down._
So we’re going to stop there. I got some great answers. So thank you for participating. And I hope [00:04:00] through this exercise, you’ve learned how difficult it can be to translate information that is just intuitive to you from your own field to people who might not be familiar with it. And this is where this presentation comes from, because this is a very crucial skill to have in order to translate your important ideas to people who are in different fields, who can put these ideas into action.
So, in the case of vaccine causation, scientists need to learn specifically how to translate their scientific ideas to lawyers who can then take these ideas to the courts and make a big difference where it needs to be made. So this is crucial for especially scientists to watch this presentation and write down the tips so that they can employ them when they’re disseminating their very important ideas.
So a well-prepared presentation is a form of respect to your listeners and to your own ideas. There’s no point in presenting your [00:05:00] ideas if they’re not communicated well. So today we’re going to go through
Megha Verma: a very brief presentation of the anatomy of a good slide. We’re going to learn how to introduce your results; figures, show only data you can talk about; what we write on the slide; features of a good title; and slide colors. And all of these things are crucial for scientific communication via PowerPoint because PowerPoints and Zoom presentations are how people from around the world communicate with each other today.
So let’s go through the anatomy of a good slide. Before you show your results figure, it’s important to tell the audience about the experiment. What was being measured? What’s being manipulated? And ask them to form some kind of expectation or prediction about what will happen. This will allow the audience to be engaged with the results and already have some kind of processing going on of the information before you even show them the results figure.
A lot of times we see that[00:06:00] scientists will put very important results altogether on one slide and the audience will have no way to engage with it meaningfully, and it just becomes like they didn’t even see it at all. They’re just listening to the person’s words. So this is a way to get the audience engaged with the results.
So here’s an example. In slide one, you may introduce the fact that governments justified lockdown policies that impinge on human rights with the claim that Covid-19 would otherwise cause unprecedented death. This is the premise or principle. If this were true, then the year 2020 should have a record high number of deaths compared to other years. We investigated whether this was true.
So this second sentence is an explanation of the experiment. So I’m measuring the number of deaths in each year and it includes a prediction. If this were true, then there would be a record high number of deaths. That way the audience already knows what they’re going to expect in the next slide when [00:07:00] we see the figure. And when it goes against their expectations, it’s going to have more emotional valence for them, not only informational, information acquisition.
Megha Verma: So slide two. Now, when I show this graph, it means a lot to you because the y-axis shows the percentage of total population that died and the X axis shows the year. The year 2020 is unremarkable compared to others. So now slide two has a lot more emotional valence for the audience.
It’s also important when you introduce a results figure to explain the X and Y axes for the audience so that they’re not trying to figure that out while you’re talking and they won’t miss any of the points that you’re saying.
Point number two, show only data you can talk about. Although time is limited, putting more information on the slide then you can talk about will confuse the listener. If data is in the context of a larger bar graph or table, highlight the data you will actually discuss and obscure the rest.
Because if you only talk [00:08:00] about one piece of data and all the rest is visible, the audience still has eyes. So they were still going to try and read those other bar graphs and other figures on the tables. And you don’t want them to be distracted from your words and the data that you actually want to point out. So only put data on the slide
Megha Verma: that you will actually talk about and address.
Megha Verma: Number three. What do we write on the slide? This is a very key question because this varies from presentation to presentation, but there’s one key principle that can define how all slides should be written.
The purpose of writing on a slide is to help a listener catch up if they zoned out. What information would help you catch up if you zoned out in a presentation? Look at your slide from that point of view. If my audience member was looking at the slide and they zoned out what key information would, would help them get back on track with my presentation?
So this could be definitions of jargon that must be used. A few brief sentences that [00:09:00] summarize the main points. But don’t include any acronyms unless they have been previously defined because the acronyms might be obvious to you, but they may not be obvious to your audience. Just like the acronym ATP and the word statute. If you’re presenting to someone who doesn’t have a law background, it should be defined on the page if it’s a crucial point that you’re making.
And you’ll notice how I do my slides. I don’t put more writing on the slide then I can actually address when I’m talking about it. It’s good to use animations for this purpose.
Number four. Each side should have a title. The title conveys some key idea to the audience that helps them categorize the information in the presentation. So if you have a title, then the audience knows how this information on this slide fits in with the context of the presentation as a whole.
So in the chat again, we’re going to participate. What title would you give this slide? So you can answer in the chat. _Paradox_. Okay. [00:10:00] _Vaccine efficacy. _We’re getting there. _Facts fail._ I like that. _Resurgence. Injection ineffective._ _Vaccine data_ is a little bit vague because anything can be vaccine data. _Do vaccines work?_ I like that. I like how Dr. Edling link put it as a question, because then the audience knows that the question is answered with the information in the slide. _Gibraltar vax rate versus case rate._ That’s also a reasonable title. _Vaccine prevents outbreaks?_ That’s another one. That’s a good question to ask, because this is an assumption that people make based on the propaganda.
_Covid-19 outbreak, despite a hundred percent vaccination rate._ That one might be a little bit wordy.
Megha Verma: _Evidence of leaky vaccines._ That’s good if you’re writing like an expose article. That’s a good title. _Safe and effective?_ I like that because that is repeating the same propaganda that everyone swallows without thinking about it. [00:11:00] Thank you for participating. So we’re going to move on. We’ve got some excellent people paying attention.
Megha Verma: The point number five for the anatomy of a good slide slides should choose colors well. Here is the color wheel for people who may not be artistically inclined. There are two key words that I want you to learn here. Adjacent colors and complimentary colors.
All colors for slide should come from the same area of the color wheel. These are called adjacent colors and harmonize well together. So my slides come from this kind of area. I don’t know if you can see my mouse like the teal dark blue area of colors. This helps them harmonize well together.
So you need to pick one spot on the color wheel to stay. Colors of fonts and special details on the slide should come from the opposite side of the color wheel. This makes them complimentary colors. So for example, I use brown and gold because look, when I’m in the blue area, the opposite side to blue and teal is reddish [00:12:00] brown, gold, like these kinds of colors.
This means that they’re good complimentary matches. Only one pair of complimentary colors may be used in a presentation. And the colors red and green should never be used together because many people in the world have red green colorblindness, and may make it difficult for them to read your presentation.
So now let’s do another activity. Which color rules are violated in this slide? So I want you to examine this slide and answer in the chat. _Red and green._ Okay. Yeah. That’s one color rule that’s violated. A lot of people are saying red and green. What other color rules are violated? _Too many color mixes?_ Yes.
Megha Verma: _Two tones of the same scale._ p_urple pink_._ too similar._ _Blue and red. Purple on pink._
I taught you guys. Two words just now about the color wheel. Okay. Yeah, we’ve got one: _complimentary color rule violated._ Good. And there’s the other rule was also violated. It violates all the rules. _The highlight over _[00:13:00] _the graph._ So thank you for participating. Oh, _adjacent rule_. Good job, Mark. Mark got it. And Carmen. The adjacent rule was also violated. So you guys learned some art today and it’s going to be very crucial for making the world a better place
Megha Verma: because your ideas will be communicated a lot more effectively if the lawyers who are reading your slides actually want to look at them.
So as you’ll notice in my presentation, it was a little bit meta. The way that I’m presenting also should teach you a little bit about effective communication. So I’ve included passive learning in my presentation and passive learning is what most people put in all of their presentations.
In passive learning the student is not only is not doing anything active to learn. So they’re listening to someone speak, reading something, or copying something down. You might be reminded of your lectures in university that you were falling asleep during.
Passive learning alone is not a very effective way to learn and all [00:14:00] presentations that you’re making are actually lessons that you’re teaching. So as a presenter, if you’re a good presenter, you should be behaving as a good teacher as well because the skillsets are highly overlapped.
Active learning is a strategy that all good teachers employ in their lessons. In active learning, the student is doing some activity to test or process their knowledge. So they’re predicting things, responding to questions, and they’re solving problems where they apply the lessons that you’ve taught them. And in my presentation today, I’ve done a lot of the active learning strategies as well as the passive ones and this has helped me to keep you guys a little bit engaged and to get to know you a little bit better. A balance of passive and active learning makes the presentation engaging and ensures the important messages are translated.
So I want to thank you for your attention today, and I hope that you’ve learned some key tips that you can use in your future presentations to make your ideas more [00:15:00] widespread. For more resources on this topic, you can watch the YouTube videos from someone named Nerdwriter1. I know this is very millennial talk, but he makes some excellent video essay presentations about art and history. And I think the way that he does it can teach you a lot about strategies that you can employ in your own presentations. You can visit canva.com to get slide decks that you can put your own information onto so that you don’t have to think about adjacent colors and complementary colors, it’s all already done for you. And this is also my email that you can reach me at if you have questions about anything that I’ve taught you here today. Thank you so much.
Shabnam Palesa Mohamed: Thank you, Megha Verma with a brilliant presentation, certainly enjoyed it. Some very positive comments in the chat as well that you are welcome to respond to. Certainly being able to communicate ideas and theories and the application there, both in law and science, are essential to where we are [00:16:00] in this Covid-19 chapter and beyond. We appreciate your contribution very much.