YOUR FIRST MARS SOCIETY PRESENTATION
Chair, Ohio Chapter
I suggest beginning any Mars talk with explaining why we should go. Dr. Zubrin places Mars Direct in the historical context of the western liberal tradition. He says that the rules have not yet been written on Mars and that humans require freedom to be makers of their civilization, not merely beneficiary inhabitants of a socio-political regime under inevitable decay. Zubrin's explanation of the symbolism behind the red, green and blue Martian flag is also worth telling before showing slides. Besides being easily reproducible, the vertical tri-color format is most representative of a republic (for a people). Not having a red circle depicting Mars de-emphasizes Mars exploration as only concerning scientific inquiry into the physical planet itself.
Since I have a liberal arts background, I made the decision to write out my presentation, corresponding to the slides. That way I was ensured that I would correctly explain such things as the methanation reaction for making the return fuel on Mars and the step wise launch process for the first ERV, first crew hab and second ERV (for the second mission). If you feel more than comfortable with the technicalities of the Mars Direct plan, speak from an outline. You will connect in a much more human way.
The way I made the script (that came with the slides) into my own talk was to read each paragraph, then go back with a pencil and underline key phrases that resonated with me. This exercise is also useful in creating an outline speech. I found that there is too much information for a standard 30-minute presentation. To appeal to the lay audience, I crossed out scientific detail that can otherwise be answered in the question and answer period. I also circled what I felt were significant passages in the script and either shortened them in my own words or added my own thoughts.
Speak from the heart. If you choose to write out the technicalities, you might as well intersperse the details with rhetorical phrases such as: "It is high time we re-join the Spirit of Viking...the Spirit of '76." (Note my use of bold and italics to emphasize certain words.) This phrase might seem grandiose for some, but it seemed appropriate for the political tone of my presentation. In a written speech, as long as you look up at the audience in between paragraphs, you will be connecting, even if you glaze over and don't look at any individual. Don't be afraid to make aside comments as you think of them. You can return to the content anytime and you will enliven the presentation and relax yourself!
Don't forget that the script was written before the December 1999 Mars Polar Lander setback. Some of the future launch dates need to be revised with whatever information is current from the Mars Society website. The Mars Society is just that, a community of volunteers willing to help you give the most accurate presentation possible. Also, always ask the audience to leave their email addresses and to sign the Mars petition at www.marssociety.org.