TIPS FOR A KILLER TECHNICAL PRESENTATION
15th March, 2019
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The Coimbra Group, an association of European universities that promotes academic collaboration, has come up with a new idea to improve the presentation skills of the scientists and researchers of tomorrow. Here, Monia Dal Checco, account executive at technical PR agency Stone Junction, explains how to quickly grab the audience’s attention when talking about technical or scientific subjects.
The Coimbra Group’s idea is the Three Minute Thesis Competition, a contest that gives doctoral candidates three minutes to present their research to non-specialists. There are many useful tips and tricks that we can learn from this contest, to help us quickly catch the attention of a non-specialist audience. To get the best out of your presentations you need hook your listeners’ attention and keep them interested and engaged from the outset.
Trying to summarize the main ideas of your presentation in three min
utes can be an excellent exercise to learn how to present technical and scientific information in a short and snappy way.
The audience, the story, the results
First, you need to assess your audience. Imagine you’re talking to a friend who works in a different field, explaining your ideas in a concise and clear way. This means you should avoid jargon and references to concepts and people that your friend might not be familiar with.
Once you have a clear idea of who you’re talking to, craft your story. You can start with how you came up with the idea you’re about to present and why this particular topic fascinates you. This keeps the audience engaged because people will feel your enthusiasm for the subject, and as we all know, enthusiasm is contagious.
After you’ve grabbed the attention of your listener, you need to get to the point; explain what you’re doing, why it is important and innovative and what are the results you hope to achieve. This is a crucial stage where you might be tempted to delve into technical details. Resist the temptation; keep it simple and straightforward, using visual aids such as slides, charts and graphs to clarify the most complex passages. Keep in mind that metaphors and analogies can be great strategies to explain your argument to non-specialists.
Finally, conclude by summarizing the focal points of your presentation and making suggestions on the future developments of your work and the industry. Ask yourself what actions you want your audience to take after they leave the presentation and build up to this message.
We can learn a lot from the Three Minute Thesis competition. If you want to be ready to give a killer technical presentation, do your research, set the timer to three minutes, and start practising! And if you still need help, get in touch with me at firstname.lastname@example.org.