I’m giving a talk at London Skeptics in the Pub tomorrow about the image problem that scientists face, and am unaccountably nervous. The main reason is not because public speaking frightens me – quite the contrary – but because I’ll be speaking without a slide presentation.

As a scientist, I’ve had 15 years’ experience rattling off a highly technical 50 minute talk with extremely little preparation if I have a PowerPoint presentation to guide me through it. But last year, giving a ten-minute after-dinner speech at a New Scientist awards ceremony, I was severely challenged. I had a page of notes, but the lighting was really dim on the podium and I ended up having to wing it.

So now I’m committed to nearly an hour of slide-free speech, and my talk has all sorts of quotes and facts that I need to keep straight. After careful deliberation, I’ve decided to go with index cards!

If you want to come along on the night to cheer me on, there are still a few tickets left, and you have until 3 PM tomorrow to book – all the details are here:

http://network.nature.com/people/UE19877E8/blog/2009/10/13/in-which-i-get-skeptical